Ideal body composition for a female tennis player?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by aminadream, Jul 26, 2018.

  1. aminadream

    aminadream Rookie

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    One thing I know, I need more muscle. And I'm working on it.

    But what I don't know is what goal to be working towards. Is there an ideal lean mass percentage female tennis players should be striving for?

    Seems like the women on the pro circuit are all over the board in that regard.
     
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  2. Dark_Angel85

    Dark_Angel85 Semi-Pro

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    Legs - more muscle
    Above waist - lean
     
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  3. aminadream

    aminadream Rookie

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    Thank you, for though I was hoping for something more quantifiable...

    Anyone have percentage ranges?
     
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  4. Dark_Angel85

    Dark_Angel85 Semi-Pro

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    Well, ideal body%fat for athletes in general are quite well documented in the internet. Not sure about tennis specific.

    I think the goal is to have as little %fat as you can realistically achieve? I did read somewhere before that women generally have a little more than men. Supreme men athletes can go to <10% but women generally hover around 10-20% at that same level.

    So I guess, for us mere mortals, I'd say for men +-20% and for women +-30%? Anything above that average will be great~
     
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  5. aminadream

    aminadream Rookie

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    Thank you. I think I’m asking the question too vaguely though.

    If I have about 16% body fat and weigh 120 lbs at 5’8”, how many pounds of muscle should I put on to be in optimal tennis shape?

    In other words, how many more pounds of muscle do I need if I’ve already hit my fat target?
     
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  6. Booger

    Booger Hall of Fame

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    I'm going to need to see full body pics huehuehue. It does depend a lot on your genetics. Serena is obviously fine carrying around 200lbs whereas Sharapova has a much thinner build.

    I'm assuming you are naturally thin, so I doubt your ideal tennis physique is too far off. Maybe bulk 15 pounds, cut, and then see how you feel.
     
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  7. aminadream

    aminadream Rookie

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    Definitely built more like Sharapova than Williams. It’s those Eastern European genes I guess.

    What do you mean by “cut?”
     
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  8. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Hall of Fame

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    Serena can't be that heavy. :eek:
     
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  9. aminadream

    aminadream Rookie

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    From what I saw on the interwebs, she’s closer to 150.
     
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  10. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Hall of Fame

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    Very muscular. My guess is 165-170.

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. richardc-s

    richardc-s Semi-Pro

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    How tall are you and what do you think your current body fat % is? Once you know that you can work out how much lean body mass you currently have have, compare it to a tennis player of your choice and then figure out how much muscle mass you would need to add to match them.

    For example I am 5ft11, 245lbs and around 18% body fat. That gives me about 200lbs of lean body mass. Nadal is 187lbs, 6ft2 and about 10% body fat, so he has around 168lbs of lean body mass. As Nadal is 3% taller than me I can add 3% to my stats to get a like for like comparison, so my comparable lean mass is 206lbs and body fat is 47lbs.

    So if I wanted to be built like Nadal I would have to loose 38lbs of muscle and 28lbs of fat. I would then have an identical fat/muscle/weight ratio to him, all be it 3 inches shorter :rolleyes:
     
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  12. aminadream

    aminadream Rookie

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    Are you saying there’s data out there about pro women players’ body fat percentage? All I’ve been able to find is BMIs which are kinda useless IMO.

    My metrics are in a reply above btw.
     
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  13. richardc-s

    richardc-s Semi-Pro

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    No I've not seen any particular body fat data but you can get a fairly good estimate just by looking.

    Lets take Wozniacki for example...

    She's 5ft10, 127lbs (according to Google) and I would say around 16% body fat.

    That gives her around 20lbs of fat and 107lbs of lean mass.

    As you are 5ft8, 120lbs and 16% body fat then that gives you around 19lbs of fat and 101lbs of muscle.

    Wozniacki is 4% taller than you so you can add 4% to your stats to get comparable figures. This means at her height you would have 20lbs of fat and 105lbs of lean mass. So in theory you are just 2lbs of muscle away from matching Wozniacki's fat/muscle/weight percentages.

    That's assuming all the stats about yourself and Wozniacki are correct in the first place! Body fat is notoriously hard to gauge without a proper test.
     
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  14. movdqa

    movdqa G.O.A.T.

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    Styles vary all over the place and what you can control might have different "best numbers" depending on your style.
     
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  15. Bluefan75

    Bluefan75 Professional

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    Here's the thing. To put on more muscle, you'll put on fat to start as well. To put on muscle, you need to eat, and if you eat, some of that will store as fat. You will change your diet for the muscle building portion. Once you've reached where you want, you can cut, and a lot of that extra fat will melt away. But this won't be a magical I've put on 5 pounds of muscle thing.

    At some point you will have too much muscle to play the type of game you want to play. That's when you stop trying to gain. If you keep playing, nature will take care of bringing you back from too far, but you're still further ahead from where you are now.

    ETA: the other question is, how old are you and what are your goals? If tennis is not going to be your livelihood, you have to take into account your life. Getting to peak performance can sometimes have some health effects on women(men too, but different ones) that really aren't worth it if you're just a rec player. If you're still a teenager, have a very good talk with your doctor and parents.
     
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  16. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    That's correct. But I'll add, there are 3 groups of people who can gain muscle while losing fat:

    1) The morbidly obese
    2) Beginners who just started weight training
    3) Juicers!

    That's why when you hear advice from bodybuilders you need to take that with a grain of salt. They are in the #3.
     
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  17. aminadream

    aminadream Rookie

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    I'm 36 and came back to the sport 4 years ago after taking a 10 year break. I'm basically taking into account that I still have this one window of "youth" and seeing what I can still accomplish. I'm playing open tournaments and doing better than I thought I'd be at this point in my life.

    I'm not planning on making a living at this and still have a work/personal life outside of tennis, but I'm starting to travel for tournaments and getting my head in the game.

    My biggest weakness is lack of strength. The gals I'm playing are very sturdy to say the least. That's why I'm here.
     
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  18. Bluefan75

    Bluefan75 Professional

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    Look up starting strength. Get your squat up to a decent level, at least 1.5x BW, and do the other lifts as well. Get yourself stronger before worrying about meeting this or that metric.
     
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  19. r2473

    r2473 G.O.A.T.

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    Somebody call a doctor. This woman has no bones. No organs. No skin. She's only fat and muscle.
    If this describes you, then you have nothing to worry about.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2018
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  20. Mac33

    Mac33 Professional

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    I am 53 year old male,five foot eight with a very low body fat of around ten percent.

    I weigh around 155 pounds.

    Now my lower body looks around half the size of Serena's! I'm not joking on that!

    She has to be minimum at least 180 pounds
     
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  21. aminadream

    aminadream Rookie

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    Well the two examples of women at 15% look entirely different, so I'm not so sure how accurate this is. One is completely ripped, while the other looks like an H&M model — just skinny. But if I use these as a very rough guide, I'd say I safely fall within the 15-20% range.

    Off the top of my head, I feel like gaining 10 lbs of muscle is a reasonable goal over the next 6-12 months. I wonder though, will 10 extra pounds make a meaningful difference in my game? I'm thinking probably, yes.
     
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  22. richardc-s

    richardc-s Semi-Pro

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    Good point, I should have said lean body mass, not just muscle.

    The reason the 2 women at 15% look so different is because one has plenty of muscle and the other one doesn't. They both still have 15% body fat. The one with muscle will weigh a lot more than the one who has no muscle.

    There are plenty of guys walking around at 10-12% body fat who look awful because they are all skin and bone. However someone who works out, has muscle and is at that body fat % will look great.
     
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  23. Notirouswithag

    Notirouswithag Semi-Pro

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    Everybody's body is different so i wouldnt rely too much on the pictures because as demonstrated...same number bodyfat percentage= multiple outcomes which people rely on too much

    I'd say shoot for 5-8 pounds of muscle to start within the next 6-12 months. Make sure its something sustainable in the shorter/longer run mentally and physically be easier. In your case are you planning to play tournaments year round or certain seasons?

    Also while strength gains may seem like a positive for your tennis game dont forget that it's balance- dont skimp on the plyometrics for agility and power and stretches/exercises for body rotation as well and injury prevention also
     
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  24. aminadream

    aminadream Rookie

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    Thanks, yes, that's a big part of what I'm doing. Actually, I'd say I'm doing more of that than lifting per, se. For example, instead of doing squats with heavy weights, I'm holding a 15 lb kettle bell, getting down into a squat, and then jumping. Same with core strength — more medicine ball stuff than weights work. At least for now.
     
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  25. Notirouswithag

    Notirouswithag Semi-Pro

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    bingo- also grab some medium-heavy medicine/dead balls and work on open stance/closed stance power throws, best of both worlds
     
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  26. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Hall of Fame

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    If you mean juice fasting, I thought the body goes into starvation mode during fast and holds on to fat.
     
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  27. richardc-s

    richardc-s Semi-Pro

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    He doesn't mean juice fasting! He means steroid users.
     
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  28. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    richardc-s is right. "Juicer" is a slang term for steroid users. I would also broaden it to include growth hormone, insulin, and other banned substances which are often even more potentially harmful than steroids.
     
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  29. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    Why do you need more muscle? Do you not hit the ball hard enough? Not run fast enough? Don't feel stable enough?

    It's not easy to just pop on 10lbs of muscle, especially for a woman.

    And high level women players come in all shapes and sizes.

    I'm not telling you not to work out but I am telling you you don't need to be the paradigm of fitness to win.

    J
     
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  30. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Hall of Fame

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    If that skin and bone 15% woman wants to look like the muscular 15% woman, she will have to gain weight, temporarily increasing her body fat to maybe 20-25%, and then after achieving the higher weight gradually come back down to 15%?
     
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  31. Harry_Wild

    Harry_Wild Legend

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    No that is complete wrong! Slim down first, then build muscle! You will eat more like 3-5K calories but it all protein with little fat in it like boiled chicken breast, orange roughy, broccoli. That way, you will be able to show off muscles! Otherwise, you will still have close to the same fat %!
     
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  32. Bluefan75

    Bluefan75 Professional

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    I thought you wanted some muscle. To do that you need to get strong. What you are doing above feels like something, but really won't do that. If you want muscle, get under the barbell. The rest is silly BS. If you don't want to do that, that's fine, but don't ask how you can put on muscle.
     
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  33. Bluefan75

    Bluefan75 Professional

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    Ok then.
     
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  34. aminadream

    aminadream Rookie

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    The amount of contradictory information in this thread is staggering. Thanks y'all. I think I'll just go consult with a pro.
     
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  35. movdqa

    movdqa G.O.A.T.

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    You could go on Twitter and ask some of the WTA players themselves. They won't necessarily answer but no harm trying.
     
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  36. Mac33

    Mac33 Professional

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    I watched a very talented Junior girl player who was tall and especially thin,guessing around the 110 to 120.

    She would struggle against the very best Juniors girls as she would get the run around due to lack of velocity on her shot.

    Lately the scores have been a lot,lot closer.

    She appears to be hitting the ball a lot harder than before.

    She still looks the same weight so not sure if it's improved technique or just getting stronger with age.
     
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  37. Harry_Wild

    Harry_Wild Legend

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    Based on the women’s photo charts in the video above; I would aim for 15-20% range! The 20% is for a more muscular lady. You would look terrific plus your not a touring pro so looks for a lady seems to be equal in importance in many people’s minds in the past until the PC movement that says physical looks can be anything you want it to be even a BMI of 50% or more is just terrific now! I personally think, for myself; that a BMI of 20% is perfect for females and 15% for males! Just one person opinion!:) I apologize if I happen to offend anyone and/or everyone here in advance, however!:(


    Guys Body Fat Percentage
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2018
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  38. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hall of Fame

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    Henin was only ~125 lbs, but packed a punch bigger than most rec male players!

    [​IMG]
     
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  39. Harry_Wild

    Harry_Wild Legend

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    Justine was also one of the greatest competitor in tennis, male or female! Justine has it all in terms of shots, from top spin, lobs, return of serve, volley to flat fast pace groundstroke, to 125 mph serves! A real dynamo to say the least! Every opponent that face Justine knew they were up against super fighter and it would be very, very tough match ahead of them to the last matchpoint!
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2018
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  40. moonballs

    moonballs Hall of Fame

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    If you gain those muscle weight by mostly doing squats and deadlifts, plus some single legged version of these, I am sure it will help your tennis level a lot.
     
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  41. tennisbike

    tennisbike Rookie

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    Glad you recognized that what you get here in the forum is just opinions. So use your head to filter and find anything useful.

    Here is my opinion: Background, male, played tennis since little. 5'8' 140lb in high school off season. 145lb during season. Now mid 50's, back to playing seriously and my weight has dropped from 155 back to around 145lbs. Currently coaching high school tennis.

    I would say focus on the training and playing. As you get better and play more.. and get stronger all around, the body will gain more muscle naturally. Just have fun and play more. Don't worry about your weight, unless it is keeping you from progressing.

    Good luck!
     
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  42. Dartagnan64

    Dartagnan64 Legend

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    You only need strength in the forearms, core and legs. Everything needs to be loose and limber. For a woman, I think weight matters less than for a guy as many athletic women can play well with a higher percentage of body fat. Especially if you play an attacking form of tennis.

    My wife is in the 30-40% fat percentage but she is "strong like bull". She just bullies ladies around the court with power. She can't run with them but she can fire winners from anywhere. She's on the courts 3-4 hours a day.

    My advice is to focus on your legs and core first. Try to get some strength into the shoulders and forearms. And then work on fat percentage once you find your playing style. Defenders need to be light and fast. All court attackers need power and quick reflexes.
     
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  43. Stretchy Man

    Stretchy Man Professional

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    I'd be happy with a body like Coco Vandeweghe. That's what I'd aim for. :D
     
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  44. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus Talk Tennis Guru

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    I know, but if you are not a pro, you need to have fat as well. otherwise you won't feel so soft anymore for your man or boyfriend. Girls should be soft
     
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  45. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    Btw I don't think you need to be big to be good. Many American tennis players are "big" but then again many Americans are big. The European girls however are mostly lean and athletic. They have some muscles too but they are mostly lean and fit with no huge muscles standing out.

    I think the ideal body to succeed would be a body like an Olympic heptathlete like her
    https://goo.gl/images/BHnDrP

    Some muscles are needed but you don't need to be huge, even on the male tour many pros are not big, they are me an and strong but don't have huge butts, backs and arms. Graf wasn't big either, same is true for henin and sharapova.

    You don't need to have a body like Serena to win.
     
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  46. Mongolmike

    Mongolmike Hall of Fame

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    Maybe it's just me, but what does adding muscle have to do with swinging a racquet faster? The OP sounds very fit. But "just" adding muscle IMO is not going to add mph to her serve or rpm's to her FH.

    It sounds like it is a technique issue. Absolutely talk to a pro. A tennis pro. Preferably a competent female tennis teaching pro. Ask her how to hit harder and I'd be surprised if she advocated "bulky up".

    Planting your foot, engaging your core, spacing from the ball, proper takeback and follow thru all have nothing to do with adding muscle. At 5'8 you've got the longer limbs (for the average female) that already gives you leverage. Use that properly and you should be able to add power.

    But seriously, talk to a good teaching pro. And a female teaching pro can much better relate to your issue/concern I would think.
     
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  47. movdqa

    movdqa G.O.A.T.

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    Let's look at the men. You have Nadal who's very muscular. Djokovic and Federer - skinny but muscular where it counts. Murray - all around very muscular. They are all really fast, very fit and strong enough or sometimes more than enough.
     
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  48. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    IMO serena's build earlier in her career is ideal blend of strength to weight ratio... she was still very fast, mobile.
    these days i think she's just a powerhouse... limits her mobility and ability to stay in a many long points (ala halep, henin, cibulkova)... but that's not her style anyway... first strike, dictate early.. and her strength (particularly core and leg), makes that first strike ball, really big.
     
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  49. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    hehe, but IMO i think being the paradigm of fitness is the easiest way to improve :)
     
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  50. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    Btw the most important is technique not strength. At the highest level strength helps to get the last 10-15 mph on your serve but there are 100 pound kids who can blast away most rec players.
     
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