How long before workouts take effect

mxmx

Hall of Fame
I'm a relatively fit tennis player but can improve on my physique as well as improve my status on being quite injury prone.

My question to experts are: How long does physical excercise take to actually make a difference? For example sit-ups before they would benefit your serves or skipping rope for a match in the future.

Does these things take weeks/months or can small changes have an immediate effect in the range of a couple of days?

One of the reasons I don't like excercise outside of actual tennis, is that I tend to injure myself when I do. Or I don't seem to recover in time for tennis which makes me badly recover thereafter.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
One of the reasons I don't like excercise outside of actual tennis, is that I tend to injure myself when I do. Or I don't seem to recover in time for tennis which makes me badly recover thereafter.
My injury-avoidance routine is dynamic stretching prior to the activity [slow jog, sidesteps, high steps, butt kicks, elastic band for shoulder, etc] and static stretching after.

The idea is to build yourself up to where you're ready to start exercising and also bring yourself down after.

When you exercise and then injure yourself, are you going from 0 to 100% with no warmup or transition period?
 

dkmura

Rookie
The other posters have made good points. If off-court exercise is causing injury, OP is either using the wrong exercises or using poor form. As to how long it takes to see results, that's very much up to individual parameters (ie. age, weight, muscle mass, coordination, etc.). Gains are usually subtle and slow, and not something that happen overnight, but over weeks and months. As someone else said, results are cumulative.
 

RiverRat

Professional
In my experience stay away from sit-ups for serving. Sit-ups seem to shorten the abdominal muscles and have caused problems for me when serving as I flirt with muscle pull or tear. I prefer core exercises like planks and Russian twists.
 

Turbo-87

Legend
You left out key details, like your age and what you are actually doing for exercise.
If you are injuring yourself or not recovering in time, you are going about it the wrong way in terms of the choice of exercises, duration, etc. Without details, we can't help.
 
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socallefty

Legend
The placebo effect on your mind can take shape in days especially helped by endorphins. The actual effect on your body’s flexibility, strength, endurance etc. takes several weeks to a few months.
 

Harry_Wild

G.O.A.T.
I think you need a physical therapist to design and supervise your exercise routine until you can do it right. If you cannot afford a PT, then a personal trainer. Personal Trainer vary in knowledge and expertise while a physical therapist is now a Ph. D. and is real the best for your situation.
 

Rosstour

Legend
Sounds like you're doing the wrong type of exercise if it's causing injury. Exercise accumulates over time, try to make it a regular part of your lifestyle.
Some people are just injury prone. It's not always user error.

I don't get injured unless I'm doing something extremely stupid. Ligament tears and such are totally foreign to me and I recognize that I'm lucky. My Dad is the same way. Has been playing tennis for 60 years and never had an injury that prevented him from playing.

Not everyone hits that lottery.
 

yossarian

Professional
I think you need a physical therapist to design and supervise your exercise routine until you can do it right. If you cannot afford a PT, then a personal trainer. Personal Trainer vary in knowledge and expertise while a physical therapist is now a Ph. D. and is real the best for your situation.
this is incorrect on many counts
 

PKorda

Semi-Pro
Some people are just injury prone. It's not always user error.

I don't get injured unless I'm doing something extremely stupid. Ligament tears and such are totally foreign to me and I recognize that I'm lucky. My Dad is the same way. Has been playing tennis for 60 years and never had an injury that prevented him from playing.

Not everyone hits that lottery.
He didn't say he got injured from time to time, he said he 'tended to get injured'. This doesn't happen unless you have no clue how to work out.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
My injury-avoidance routine is dynamic stretching prior to the activity [slow jog, sidesteps, high steps, butt kicks, elastic band for shoulder, etc] and static stretching after.

The idea is to build yourself up to where you're ready to start exercising and also bring yourself down after.

When you exercise and then injure yourself, are you going from 0 to 100% with no warmup or transition period?
Thank you for all the replies :) I will respond to some that stood out.

@S&V I have been very careful with this. I have gone as far as to take a warm bath to loosen my muscles before I do stretching. Perhaps I overdid it, not sure that I did thiugh...but I was intentionally careful and still got injured.
(I played a match later and the stretching was supposed to prep me. I guess the stretching combined with the match overextended the muscles).

Stretching is still very dangerous for me and I limit it to prevent injury. For example, the ligament begind my knee has no problems whatsoever unless when I stretch my hamstrings. I have to always keep that knee bent slightly so that I do not injure that ligament.

In recent years I found the best way for me to get loose is getting my heartrate up and body warm instead of stretching.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
The other posters have made good points. If off-court exercise is causing injury, OP is either using the wrong exercises or using poor form. As to how long it takes to see results, that's very much up to individual parameters (ie. age, weight, muscle mass, coordination, etc.). Gains are usually subtle and slow, and not something that happen overnight, but over weeks and months. As someone else said, results are cumulative.
Why does cardio fitness (heart is a muscle) seem to advance so much faster than muscle fitness?
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
In my experience stay away from sit-ups for serving. Sit-ups seem to shorten the abdominal muscles and have caused problems for me when serving as I flirt with muscle pull or tear. I prefer core exercises like planks and Russian twists.
Ironically, I did situps once cause I was afraid to do other exercises which may result in injury. I thought situps should be okay as it is not my back nor my wrist nor my knees...I ended up injuring my groin lol.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
You left out key details, like your age and what you are actually doing for exercise.
If you are injuring yourself or not recovering in time, you are going about it the wrong way in terms of the choice of exercises, duration, etc. Without details, we can't help.
I don't want to give away my age online...but I'm not in school/college and I'm not retired. Thats very broad I know hehe.

It's taking me longer to recover from quite intensive tennis on the weekend. So I cannot do excercise on Mondays.

I can play tennis till i drop...so I'm very tennis fit and do not get injured on the court that easily. (Except for the shoulder that gives issues after lock down). Any excercise that is NOT tennis, can potentially injure me.

The list of things that gave me injury or discomfort in the past include:

- skipping rope (feet/knees)
- walking (hip/knees/lower back discomfort)
- pushups (tennis wrist)
- situps (groin)
- stretching (hamstrings, back or knees)
- driving (knee)
- sleeping (shoulder/hips/feet/lower back discomfort) - have to get a softer bed?

Tennis almost comforts all of the above. I sound old and broken and a couch potato. On the court I'm definitely not old.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
Some people are just injury prone. It's not always user error.

I don't get injured unless I'm doing something extremely stupid. Ligament tears and such are totally foreign to me and I recognize that I'm lucky. My Dad is the same way. Has been playing tennis for 60 years and never had an injury that prevented him from playing.

Not everyone hits that lottery.
I fully agree.

There are techniques that I have learnt through the years so it's not my technique per say. It could be my body or the timing of excercise I do. perhaps I'm not doing enough and then wanna overextend myself when I do.

I probably need to stretch the time better and condition myself gradually. I think generally I'm already conditioned for tennis so some tennis injuries go away when I'm tennis fit. I'm not fit enough for some strength or stretching stuff.
 

RiverRat

Professional
- sleeping (shoulder/hips/feet/lower back discomfort) - have to get a softer bed?
I'm 56, currently sidelined with TE, resting it and it's getting worse. I believe the culprit is sleep. I am an anxious person and I'm manifesting it in my body. I often wake-up in contorted and crippled positions. I'm not sure what the solution is.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
I'm 56, currently sidelined with TE, resting it and it's getting worse. I believe the culprit is sleep. I am an anxious person and I'm manifesting it in my body. I often wake-up in contorted and crippled positions. I'm not sure what the solution is.
Sorry to hear that :-(

My guess is that circulation could play a role...but I'm guessing. Suppose it could be many things.

As for the TE. Do you use the same arm a lot by being on a computer? Small movements of repetitive injury (rsi) can probably "refer" to other areas in the arm.

I'm shopping for ways to soften my mattress. Not sure if memory foam holds its shape too much and cause "dents" when one sleeps...or whether it will adapt fast enough with movement.
 

PKorda

Semi-Pro
I don't want to give away my age online...but I'm not in school/college and I'm not retired. Thats very broad I know hehe.

It's taking me longer to recover from quite intensive tennis on the weekend. So I cannot do excercise on Mondays.

I can play tennis till i drop...so I'm very tennis fit and do not get injured on the court that easily. (Except for the shoulder that gives issues after lock down). Any excercise that is NOT tennis, can potentially injure me.

The list of things that gave me injury or discomfort in the past include:

- skipping rope (feet/knees)
- walking (hip/knees/lower back discomfort)
- pushups (tennis wrist)
- situps (groin)
- stretching (hamstrings, back or knees)
- driving (knee)
- sleeping (shoulder/hips/feet/lower back discomfort) - have to get a softer bed?

Tennis almost comforts all of the above. I sound old and broken and a couch potato. On the court I'm definitely not old.
This is the part that I'm having a hard time understanding. You're able to play tennis until you drop but walking causes injury, seems a bit odd.
 

RiverRat

Professional
Sorry to hear that :-(

My guess is that circulation could play a role...but I'm guessing. Suppose it could be many things.
Definitely circulation is part of it. My contorted positions put body parts asleep, so they're not getting proper circulation.
 

WildVolley

Legend
2-4 weeks for neural changes. 6-12 for actual hypertrophy
These may work as rules of thumb, but I don't think they're actually true in a physical sense.

With the proper stress from exercise followed by nutrition and rest, I think the hypertrophy process starts working right away. You might not see noticeable hypertrophy for weeks or months, but that doesn't mean your immune system and body hasn't been working on hypertrophy after your workout has finished. In other words, it isn't like you have to work out for two weeks before your body recognizes that muscles have been stressed and damaged. There are a number of factors that determine how soon your body is actually able to clear damage and build up muscle tissues. For example, if you are a young man or on anabolic steroids, this process normally happens faster than if you are over 40 and not juicing. Increases in tendon/ligament strength and bone density are, as I understand it, slower to develop than muscles.

If you go totally psycho, train to failure, and overdo it for your fitness level, you can cause damage that may take a week or longer to heal and show gains. If you injure yourself severely enough, you could set yourself back for months or potentially years.

The bro-science view (I associate it with crossfit and low-IQ high school coaches) that you need to train to failure in order to increase strength and hypertrophy is nonsense. Plenty of empirical evidence for progressive overload in building muscle and strength exists.

If someone is injuring himself working out, he needs to assess what he's doing and make changes.
 
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time_fly

Hall of Fame
In my experience as an athlete, if you are starting from zero and begin an exercise program — whether in general or for some specific type of conditioning that you haven’t been doing — you usually see results within a few weeks and they grow quickly for the next month or two. Then you will plateau and additional gains will take a lot more time and effort.
 

RogueFLIP

Professional
These may work as rules of thumb, but I don't think they're actually true in a physical sense.

With the proper stress from exercise followed by nutrition and rest, I think the hypertrophy process starts working right away. You might not see noticeable hypertrophy for weeks or months, but that doesn't mean your immune system and body hasn't been working on hypertrophy after your workout has finished. In other words, it isn't like you have to work out for two weeks before your body recognizes that muscles have been stressed and damaged. There are a number of factors that determine how soon your body is actually able to clear damage and build up muscle tissues.
If you do a workout (specifically a resistant workout) once, then yes immediately "your body recognizes that muscles have been stressed and damaged". Will the body start the repair process right away? Yes. Will it start the hypertrophy process right away? The simple answer is No. The more complex answer is it does depend - and I'm sure the Hitman can answer it with more detail than I care to regarding hormones, myofibrils, blah blah yawn....

But basically you need to provide the body with the consistent overload before the body commits the resources to build up the muscle in order to adapt to the workout. So that's why any gains you may see in the first few weeks are mostly neurological, bc it's the easiest way for the body to adapt. Repair the damage from the workout and let's make some new some neuronal pathways to see if that can handle what I'm trying to do to myself.

So if you keep at it, after a few weeks (this time frame is where the biggest variance will occur), that's when the body is like well, this fool keeps breaking me down and my neuro system isn't hacking it, so instead of building back the house with straw, I'd better use wood (3 little pigs analogy).

Utterly oversimplified.

So for the OP's specific question - regarding sit ups helping the serve, that really doesn't matter - bc you can have the strongest core, but if you don't have optimal timing of the kinetic chain, it won't mean spit. There's 12 year old kids who serve better than I can bc of technique at my club, and I know I'm stronger, faster and prettier than they are. It's going to take more than just sit ups.

Skipping rope for match conditioning? Yeah that'll take some time for you to feel that for a match. If you feel in more condition for your match the day after jumping rope that's just placebo and or neurological.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
This is the part that I'm having a hard time understanding. You're able to play tennis until you drop but walking causes injury, seems a bit odd.
No. On my list I state it as discomfort. But seriously I get more out of breath by walking a incline than the same amount of time spent on tennis. Some niggles start showing their existence when I walk.

On the court perhaps I don't feel it due to focus. Dunno...
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
Definitely circulation is part of it. My contorted positions put body parts asleep, so they're not getting proper circulation.
Perhaps you should try going the same route as me. To get more comfortable bedding. I'm looking into gel and memory foam mattress covers (and pillows?). Perhaps it will make you sleep in better posture and help the circulation improve. Also perhaps look into cyenne for the winters. These are steps I'm looking into asap for myself.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
These may work as rules of thumb, but I don't think they're actually true in a physical sense.

With the proper stress from exercise followed by nutrition and rest, I think the hypertrophy process starts working right away. You might not see noticeable hypertrophy for weeks or months, but that doesn't mean your immune system and body hasn't been working on hypertrophy after your workout has finished. In other words, it isn't like you have to work out for two weeks before your body recognizes that muscles have been stressed and damaged. There are a number of factors that determine how soon your body is actually able to clear damage and build up muscle tissues. For example, if you are a young man or on anabolic steroids, this process normally happens faster than if you are over 40 and not juicing. Increases in tendon/ligament strength and bone density are, as I understand it, slower to develop than muscles.

If you go totally psycho, train to failure, and overdo it for your fitness level, you can cause damage that may take a week or longer to heal and show gains. If you injure yourself severely enough, you could set yourself back for months or potentially years.

The bro-science view (I associate it with crossfit and low-IQ high school coaches) that you need to train to failure in order to increase strength and hypertrophy is nonsense. Plenty of empirical evidence for progressive overload in building muscle and strength exists.

If someone is injuring himself working out, he needs to assess what he's doing and make changes.
What do you mean by juicing?
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
If you do a workout (specifically a resistant workout) once, then yes immediately "your body recognizes that muscles have been stressed and damaged". Will the body start the repair process right away? Yes. Will it start the hypertrophy process right away? The simple answer is No. The more complex answer is it does depend - and I'm sure the Hitman can answer it with more detail than I care to regarding hormones, myofibrils, blah blah yawn....

But basically you need to provide the body with the consistent overload before the body commits the resources to build up the muscle in order to adapt to the workout. So that's why any gains you may see in the first few weeks are mostly neurological, bc it's the easiest way for the body to adapt. Repair the damage from the workout and let's make some new some neuronal pathways to see if that can handle what I'm trying to do to myself.

So if you keep at it, after a few weeks (this time frame is where the biggest variance will occur), that's when the body is like well, this fool keeps breaking me down and my neuro system isn't hacking it, so instead of building back the house with straw, I'd better use wood (3 little pigs analogy).

Utterly oversimplified.

So for the OP's specific question - regarding sit ups helping the serve, that really doesn't matter - bc you can have the strongest core, but if you don't have optimal timing of the kinetic chain, it won't mean spit. There's 12 year old kids who serve better than I can bc of technique at my club, and I know I'm stronger, faster and prettier than they are. It's going to take more than just sit ups.

Skipping rope for match conditioning? Yeah that'll take some time for you to feel that for a match. If you feel in more condition for your match the day after jumping rope that's just placebo and or neurological.
My serve technique is not bad and I used to have a reasonably big serve for my stature until my shoulder issue. The reason I wanted to focus on situps is to help protect my shoulder by making my core work more.

To be honest, if I serve like Murray's 2nd or WTA, I'm getting away with playing tennis with this shoulder and no pain. I'm tossing the ball higher and timing better which seems to help. I'm also using more wrist and forearm (not ideal technique) at low pace so they don't get injured also. Also bending my legs more.

For now it seems like I'm stuck with the low end wta serve. I'm learning to adapt. My big serve may never come back.
 

WildVolley

Legend
What do you mean by juicing?
That is just slang for using anabolic steroids, which will shorten your recovery time.

I'll join the chorus in warning against situps. Instead, do some searches for core exercises for tennis players. I'd suggest planks and medicine ball workouts over situps.
 

onehandbh

Legend
That is just slang for using anabolic steroids, which will shorten your recovery time.

I'll join the chorus in warning against situps. Instead, do some searches for core exercises for tennis players. I'd suggest planks and medicine ball workouts over situps.
I would also recommend yoga for core strength and balance. I am admittedly very lazy about doing ab exercises, so I started doing yoga once a week. A lot of the arm balances and inversions like head and handstands require a lot of core.
 

JamesS20

New User
These may work as rules of thumb, but I don't think they're actually true in a physical sense.

With the proper stress from exercise followed by nutrition and rest, I think the hypertrophy process starts working right away. You might not see noticeable hypertrophy for weeks or months, but that doesn't mean your immune system and body hasn't been working on hypertrophy after your workout has finished. In other words, it isn't like you have to work out for two weeks before your body recognizes that muscles have been stressed and damaged. There are a number of factors that determine how soon your body is actually able to clear damage and build up muscle tissues.
Ignoring General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) by Selye. Also not detailing whether any aerobic pathways were triggered is ignoring the fact that AMPK blocks mTOR activation for building muscle. You might have a hormonal effect of increased testosterone for a tad bit but it won't dramatically increase basal testosterone levels after resistance training. They call it the neuromuscular system for that particular reason - neural adaptations first, then muscular. Easier explanation: why do young boys and girls who haven't hit puberty yet and are physically active and perform safe resistance training, show increases in strength without demonstrating hypertrophy? Neural adaptation - hormones haven't played a part for increasing cross sectional area.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
This is the part that I'm having a hard time understanding. You're able to play tennis until you drop but walking causes injury, seems a bit odd.
Just an update...This weekend I had some errands to run before an important tennis match. I could not find a specific store and got winded just by walking. The wearing of mask made it worse. It got so bad I started feeling little niggles eg. my knee etc. Before the match I felt tired and out of breath. I tried to convince myself that the walking was part of my warmup. I had about an hour to rest.

Close to my match it felt like I had low blood sugar and perhaps a little out of breath even. Could be nerves. I gulped down a white bread salami roll and some coffee.

So on the court I felt quite energized. I ended up beating my opponent who is younger than me.
 

Harry_Wild

G.O.A.T.
this is incorrect on many counts
https://sportydoctor.com/sports-physical-therapy/

What Is Sports Physical Therapy?
While a general physical therapist is more than capable of handling any musculoskeletal injury, a sports physical therapist has extensive training and experience in working with acute sports injuries and rehabilitation for injured athletes. From highschool athletes to collegiate and professional level sports teams, a sports physical therapist often works with a very active population, designing programs that safely progress these athletes to return to playing and working at their highest level possible.
 

yossarian

Professional
https://sportydoctor.com/sports-physical-therapy/

What Is Sports Physical Therapy?
While a general physical therapist is more than capable of handling any musculoskeletal injury, a sports physical therapist has extensive training and experience in working with acute sports injuries and rehabilitation for injured athletes. From highschool athletes to collegiate and professional level sports teams, a sports physical therapist often works with a very active population, designing programs that safely progress these athletes to return to playing and working at their highest level possible.
PTs are not PhDs. The degree is a DPT. Some get there PhD, but it is rare. They also specialize in rehabbing injuries.
 
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