lifting weights bad?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by WinningIsLife, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. WinningIsLife

    WinningIsLife New User

    Jul 31, 2009
    I'm just wondering for a full time tennis player, female , 17 years old. Is lifting weights and doing squats,lunges,pullups and just general stuff like that good for improving tennis or not?

    I was just wondering as Its something ive started and I'm fast around the court don't want to get slow or anything.
  2. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

    Sep 2, 2008
    On my iPhone
    Yes. I do 3 sets of 10 and not 5 by 5s. So more endurance lifting, then mass strength lifting.

    This seems to really help my tennis.
  3. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

    Feb 18, 2004
    I say doing flexibility exercises is good but weight lifting is bad. Building too much muscle will restrict your movement and limit flexibility, not to mention making you heavier since muscle weighs more so it may slow you down around the court. Muscle toning and stretching is fine but I would avoid bulking up.
  4. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo G.O.A.T.

    Aug 30, 2005
    Lifting weights is fine, strength must come from somewhere and we're not all Spartans.

    Focus on high reps. 15 and up.

    Also focus on your entire range of motion while you're lifting weights. Of course, don't hyperextend your joints with 50lbs on the other end.
  5. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

    Feb 13, 2009
    Those who worry about "bulking up" have no idea of how hard and how long it takes to build muscle.

    It takes months of lifting weights to see almost any change in muscle size. It takes years of hard work to really "bulk up".

    And if you stop lifting, the strength and "bulk" disappear all too quickly.

    As you lift heavy to gain strength, the initial strength gains are due to neuromuscular adaptations that include more recruitment of existing muscle tissue. Thus a tennis player can lift for a couple of months, see some significant increase in strength, then shift their focus to include plyometric or power increases, all without seeing a significant increase in the size of their muscles. (Much to the chagrin of guys who want desperately to have "instant muscle" appear - just ain't gonna happen.)

    So to the OP go ahead and exercise, and don't worry about "bulking up".

    [In fact if you want to focus on hypertophy, you have to go out of your way to design a program to do that (although you of course could stumble into this by mistake):

    "Hypertrophy training employs moderate to heavy loads and moderate to high volume. It is generally accepted that higher volume is required to sufficiently overload the muscles to bring about substantial increases in fibre size (4,5). However, as mentioned earlier the athlete's overall training program must be taken into account - so a smaller number of exercises is used compared to traditional bodybuilding. Each session should consist of no more than 6 - 9 exercises focusing on the prime movers (1) for 3-6 sets per exercise (2,3,6,7,8).
    Loads should be in the 67% - 85% one repetition maximum (1RM) range so that failure in each set occurs between 6 - 12 repetitions (2,3,6). Sets must be performed to failure. The cumulative effect of exhaustion stimulates chemical reactions and protein metabolism so that optimal muscle growth can occur (1). Loads heavier than 85% 1RM, allowing less than 6 repetitions to be performed, develops maximal strength and not necessarily increased muscle mass."
    - ]

    So don't do that!

    Instead, try the following regime:

    "Periodization of Tennis Strength Training

    If you haven't heard the term before, "periodization" sounds complex. But it's a very simple principle that separates strength training for sport from the countless bodybuilding and general fitness routines out there.

    Periodization is simply a way to break a larger training regime into smaller chunks or periods. Each period might be a mini training program in and of itself lasting 6 weeks or more.

    Each has its own objective and one period follows naturally on from the other.

    Unlike many sports, tennis demands several different types of strength... in particular muscular endurance and explosive power. And before these can be developed to optimal levels, the athlete needs to first develop good foundational and maximum strength.

    If you try and train for every type of strength at once you'll end up with very little of anything - except fatigue!

    So the best method is to focus on one type of strength in each separate phase. That way, you can easily maintain your gains during the competitive season.

    There are no hard and fast rules to breaking a training program up into periods or phases.

    The determining factor is when YOUR tournaments occur and when your season starts and ends.

    Here are the 4 phases for this tennis strength training program example:

    •Off-Season - 6-8 weeks

    •Early Pre-Season - 6 weeks

    •Late Pre-Season - 6 weeks

    •In-Season - 3-4months

    Each phase is covered in detail below."

    If this sounds like what you are after, check out the above site.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2011
  6. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Legend

    Aug 12, 2004
    Lifting weights is not bad.

    But lifting weights without a good program and doing your exercises with poor form is bad. It can lead to injuries and a reduction in sports performance.

    There are many good programs of course..but here is one that I think is reasonably approachable. It uses a template system so that you can pick and choose exercises depending on your strength and weaknesses. If you have trouble doing some exercises with good form you can choose better ones.

    It's also suited for athletes - and not for bodybuilders. Most athletes and the wannabee athletes here might want enjoy looking stronger but we want to first and foremost be more athletic.*******s-part3.html

    I'd add that if you notice when you boil all that down you are doing around 4 - 5 different (usually multi-join) exercises - and not doing more then 20 sets total.

    For even pretty serious weightlifters I like this approach. I spend alot of my time working out nowadays doing warmup (often jumping rope), mobility exercises (often dynamic stretches), some foam rolling, aerobic work (should be running sprints but I often ride a bike), and doing static stretches after your workout..

    If you just go in and do a ton of sets without any plan or purpose you won't get a very good benefit IMHO. That is how you end up feeling 'musclebound'.

    I suggest you also watch youtube videos or find someone strong and athletic (for their height and weight) do show you the finer points of some of the more difficult exercises.

    You have to exercise caution with most of the barbell exercises like deadlifts, squats and bench press. Done poorly they can be dangerous - especially at load. And athletes do need the heavy load.
  7. maverick66

    maverick66 Hall of Fame

    Jun 27, 2006
    i suggest you talk to a qualified trainer. If you are a full time player then you need a qualified sports trainer. Not just the guy down at the gym who has a cert but someone who knows how to train athletes.

    Do to how you put your question I am kinda hesitant to recommend books or videos. You are completely new to the gym work and thats ok everyone was at some point but it will save you alot of time and pain if you get on a proper program from a good trainer.
  8. kikiviva

    kikiviva Rookie

    Dec 13, 2008
    You should definitely lift weights. Lots of women and firls thinks that they will get big, but they won't!!

    They dont have right genes to produce so much muscle like a man.

    Even you do hypertrophy, you wont get big muscle.

    Those who says, weight lifting is bad for tennis, they dont know anything at all.

    All tennis player should focus on strength and endurance. Not the size.

    If you have any questions
  9. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

    Apr 20, 2010
    Light weights and hi reps is great to build and maintain the proper level of muscle for tennis. I see several pros on Tennis Channel using light weights and medicine balls. Using dumbells between 5-15 lbs with a variety of biceps, triceps, shoulder, chest, and back lifts is great. Calf raises, lunges and squats with weigths in hands are also great.

    I have been using light weights and playing tennis for roughly 35 years. Helps with power, muscle stamina and prevention of injury.

    YOU WILL NOT BULK UP EXCESSIVELY unless you try specificially for bulk with heavy weights.

    I have seen video of Federer and Navratolova using light weights as part of their routines.

    Agassi actually was doing heavy lifting in his prime. I read a report that he benched 275 with is a lot of weight. Don't do that.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2011
  10. wao

    wao Professional

    Feb 19, 2004
    Scottsdale, Az
    It is good and recommended for tennis players. I was just watching on tennis channel a segment with Gil Reyes putting Fernando Verdasco through the paces. There where lighter weights for upper body, shoulders,chest arms and heaver for the lower body and a ton of core and stabelization. I lift 3 times a week.
  11. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Legend

    Feb 17, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Conditioning for tennis

    I very much like the book

    Complete Conditioning for Tennis (2007)

    E. Paul Roetert & Todd Ellenbecker

    The book discusses strength training that is targeted for tennis. For example, it discusses in detail how to apply stretches and light resistance exercises to the shoulders especially for the service motion follow-through. It also discusses speed and periodization (creating strength with resistance training for some weeks and then modifying training to increase speed).

    Tennis Channel has the "Fit to Hit" show. It touches briefly on many exercise subjects with discussions by experts including Todd Ellenbecker, who is employed by the USTA as a fitness expert.

    Band Training. Related to leg posture issues I am now taking physical therapy that includes exercises with bands. I now appreciate the value in these bands. They worked some hip & glute muscles very hard that I had missed entirely by doing leg presses at the gym. These hip & glute 'core' muscles orient the leg and need the strength, endurance and, especially, the training to function with the right alignment.

    Posture is a very important issue in the long run. Here in an example of a stretch that has recently helped with one of my posture issues. If you stretch quads improperly - bent over at the hips just a little - you don't stretch one of the 4 quad muscles, the rectus femorus, because it goes over(attaches above) the hip joint.

    (I can even stand up straighter after a few weeks of stretching!)
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2011
  12. Badgerdoctor

    Badgerdoctor New User

    Jul 25, 2009
    San Diego, CA
    "bad" and "good" are relative terms. The question to ask is not "is weightlifting bad" but "is weightlifting good or bad relative to what I'm trying to accomplish."

    If your goal is to increase strength, and if getting strong is a priority, then weightlitfting is "good" because it's the best means to that end.

    If you have other priorities, such as improving footwork and court coverage, then weightlifting is "bad" because being stronger won't really make you quicker or more agile.

    Any time you're wondering whether something is good or bad, be it in tennis or in life in general, figure out what you want to accomplish and work backwards from there
  13. maggmaster

    maggmaster Hall of Fame

    Dec 9, 2010
    Actually both maximal multi joint lifting and jump training have been positively correlated with increased speed.
  14. Itagaki

    Itagaki Semi-Pro

    Sep 16, 2009
    quoted for emphasis

    speed is not necessarily dictated how fast you can move your feet, but also how much force you exert against the ground (strength)
  15. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Legend

    Feb 17, 2011
    Baltimore, MD

    Not a higher level athlete to say the least, my speed improved considerably after doing leg exercises and increasing upper leg muscle mass (10+%?). This probably occurred mostly by correcting leg weaknesses. I did not do any deliberate conversion of strength to speed.

    Specificity. The general principal is specificity. The muscle attempts to adopt to the job that it is given. If you do resistance training with heavy weights at slow speeds - very slow angular motions - that will increase strength but not necessarily speed so you may not get faster. Periodization attempts to increase the muscle strength & mass first and then convert the new stronger muscle to speed. Then repeat the cycle. Serious & scientific periodization can work better than just trying harder while playing tennis.

    Stretch-Shortening Cycle & Periodization - Another aspect of speed is the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC). SSC is essential for athletic speed but in strength training with weights you are usually told to go slow and control the weights. The stretch-shortening cycle is iust another training specificity issue. There are books on periodization that often involve plyometrics and explosive medicine ball training for converting strength to power. These exercises train the SSC.

    (BTW, Does anyone know where I can find a 1 KG bounceable medicine ball, hand size, 4-5" dia., to speed-train my wrist?)
  16. goober

    goober Legend

    Jun 9, 2004
    Don't worry about a 17 year old girl bulking up. It doesn't happen by accident. For her to put on enough muscle mass for her to be considered anywhere close to bulky, she would have to be in a serious weight training program. For a female teenager who is mostly interested in tennis, this simply is unlike to happen unless she suddenly decided to become a weightlifter or bodybuilder. If she started lifting 3 times a week, with the weights that she is likely to be able to handle, she will be fine.
  17. Itagaki

    Itagaki Semi-Pro

    Sep 16, 2009
    I disagree about the SSC not being used in lifting weights. The stretch reflex is what is used to "bounce" out of the bottom of a squat for instance.

    As for the ball, maybe a rubber shot put training ball?
  18. gregor.b

    gregor.b Professional

    Aug 9, 2009
    Strength work is important,but not necessarily more so than speed or fitness.If you are doing enough fitness work,the muscle weight gain will be negligible.All these things need to be trained in balance.
  19. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Legend

    Aug 12, 2004
    FWIW in both powerlifting and olympic lifiting you are trained to use explosive reps - as its all about getting the weight to the position to score the points. And it pays to go fast.

    So I would strongly disagree about being trained to go slow and in control. That's on the way out. In fact even bodybuilders are starting to utilize explosive movements. And some have been doing so for years - like Ronnie Coleman..(granted he was a powerlifter at first).
  20. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

    Feb 18, 2004
    How bout a 13 yo? Can bench 100# now, nearly 6 ft tall.
  21. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Legend

    Feb 17, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Speed & Weight

    Most strength training references recommend slower reps for the average person for safety reasons. Uncontrolled momentum with weights might injure joints. Not everybody would agree but that is what most strength training references currently say.

    Olympic lifts and power lifts are rare at the Bally's that I go to. In several years I have never seen a power lift done there, but then I'm mostly upstairs and not in the weight room. They are probably very good exercises for a trained athlete. Upstairs with the machines, 95%+ of the people are doing slow reps. There are a few people doing some explosive exercises.

    Speed vs Mass. There is a reference that I have seen that relates maximum speed to 1RM (1 Rep Maximum weight limit).

    Reference: Science and Practice of Strength Training, V. Zatsiorsky & W. Kraemer. Click on chapter 1 it discusses the basic relationship between Speed & Mass. See the shotput vs javelin example at bottom of page 31.

    The heavier the weight (or mass for shot puts, etc) the slower the speed of movement. For moderate strength training weights (30% 1 RM), the 'explosive’ work that some of you are describing is still referring to relatively heavy weights and very slow speeds. Leg thrusts on the serve always use body weight so the speed of motion is always very slow – therefore explosive squats with moderate weights in training are not that different from body weight in serving. Both motions are very slow. On the other hand, a lot of upper body speed training using medicine ball speed training might employ weights <10% of 1 RM with much faster speeds.

    Reference: Complete Conditioning for Tennis in the earlier reply for recommended training exercises for tennis.

    I don't know this subject well enough but I believe that the stretch-shortening cycle for leg speed is trained mostly with body weight and jumping exercises and the speed is very slow. For arms and trunk SSC is trained using light weight/mass, medicine balls, etc. or bands to get high speeds.

    Terms?. Also, I believe that the stretch shortening cycle and its training involves both the very short range proprioception response that I guess is referred to as ‘Stretch Reflex’ (?) and also the long range stretching called ‘pre-stretch’. Both are important and should be trained I think. You can search Stretch Reflex, Stretch Shortening Cycle, proprioception response, plyometrics to see what each involves.

    See the last sentence in the paragraph on “Stretch Shorten Cycle for Sport”

    FYI - That being said take a look at Tom Platz. Tom Platz was a top bodybuilder from the seventies to the nineties who was widely acknowledged to have the most developed legs. He was also said to be flexible enough in the legs to get his butt near or on his heels but I’m not sure of that fact. The Platz video is in the middle of the webpage. See if his knees bounce low on his squats!
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011

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