Light and Lean vs. Big and Strong


Hmmmm, it's odd that the title rules out the possibility of being light and strong, lean and big, or lean and strong.

IMO, it's all about your strength-weight ratio. Nothing else really matters--if you're 6'0 without any flexibility issues and have a 5 minute mile along with a 36" vertical and an extraordinary shuttle time, the number on the scale is irrelevant, whether it is 150lbs or 225lbs.


I took up Olympic style weight training a few year ago, and it has helped my tennis game. That said, it has helped my basketball game much more, but heavy squatting has made me a noticeably quicker player and doing various overhead presses has made my shoulder stronger (I can more easily hit high balls with my 1hbh).

I do not advise getting big but my goals were body weight based and have not made me big.
3x5 squat at 1.5x body weight
1x5 deadlift at 2x body weight
3x5 overhead press at .75x body weight
3x5 bench at 1x body weight.
3x5 row at .75x body weight

I've now almost achieved all of these after many stops and starts in training (OH press is insanely difficult for me). I was so out of shape when I began (23%bf by caliper) that any training would have improved. I don't know my current body fat but I've gone from 205lbs to 180lbs at 5'11" and since I'm nowhere near seeing abs I'd bet I'm at least 15% body fat still. I have come nowhere close to looking "big" and my flexibility is as good as ever so developing a basic base in compound lifts is certainly not a bad thing.

T Woody

Thanks for the info zebano. Having lifting goals based on BW% sounds like a solid plan for tennis. I'm in total agreement about the standing press. It's a very underrated lift and probably the last thing I would pull out of a strength program for tennis. As of now, I'm sticking with a pretty bare bones program of squats, press, chins, and heavy ab work twice a week. I'll probably deadlift every other week too. Alongside tennis practice and conditioning, it seems to be working well so far.