Off-court training

Chyeaah

Professional
Is there any power training I can do off-court, any specific exercises? Any weight exercises? I want to get stronger and hit harder heavier balls.
 
The place for power training has to be understood in an overall strategy of strength training for tennis. The Sports Fitness Advisor Tennis Traing and Conditioning site does a great job of explaining this (see below). You can go to this free site for very specific regimens in each phase of strength training, including the one on power training you specifically asked for. (But be careful what you ask for - you may get it.)
http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/tennis-strength-training.html


"The Elite Approach to Tennis Strength Training

A well-designed tennis strength training program can work wonders for your game...

Long gone are the days when coaches believed all forms of strength training were detrimental to sports demanding finely-tuned skills.

While the wrong type of weight training CAN be a hindrance to your game
, follow simple guidelines and the benefits can be immense...

Spend a little time understanding how to train optimally for the demands of your sport and you will reap the rewards on the court!



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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.

It's crucial to understand the bigger picture and how it all fits together.


Phase 1 - Foundational Tennis Strength Training

The objective of this 6 week phase is to build a solid base on which you build more intense, more tennis-specific fitness later.

Like all competitive sports, tennis places uneven demands on the body. You swing with one arm and one side of the body. Certain muscle groups are overworked while others are neglected.

Infamous over-use injuries like tennis elbow and damage to the rotator cuff muscles are less likely to occur in a balanced physique.

So our goal during this first phase is to prepare the ligaments, tendons and connective tissue for more strenuous activity to follow.

Here are the parameters for phase 1 of the tennis strength training routine:

•Duration: 6-8 weeks

•No. sessions: 2x week

•No. exercises: 10-12

•Resistance: 40-50% 1 Rep Max

•Repetitions: 12-15

•Rest between exercises: 90 secs

•Rest between circuits: 2-3 mins

•Speed of lifts: Smooth and controlled



Phase 2 - Maximum Tennis Strength Training

Now that you have a solid and well-rounded base of strength, you can move on to more intense sessions.


The objective of this 6 week phase is to build high levels of maximum strength. What exactly is maximum strength?

It's simply the amount of force you can apply in one single, voluntary contraction.

A player who can leg press 500lbs for 1 repetition has greater maximal strength than a player who can press only 450lbs.

Why is maximum strength important to tennis players?

On it's own it isn't. But power, which can be a defining factor in the game, is a product of speed AND strength.

The more maximum strength you have the greater your potential for power.

As you'll see in a moment, the next phase converts the gains made into strength into explosive power by adding an element of speed into the routine.

The same holds true for strength endurance...

The greater your strength is initially, the more of it you can potentially apply over a prolonged period.

This principle of building maximal strength first is used the world over by elite athletes and coaches and not just for tennis of course.

Here are the parameters for phase 2 of the tennis strength training routine:

•Duration: 6 weeks

•No. sessions: 2-3x week

•No. exercises: 6-8

•Resistance: 80-90% 1 rep max

•Repetitions: 4-8

•No. sets: 3-4

•Speed of movements: Smooth/controlled

routine and exercises for this phase of the tennis weight training program


Phase 3 - Convert to Power & Strength Endurance


On its own maximal strength is not much use for the tennis player. Unless you can apply a high proportion of that strength quickly (explosive power) and over a prolonged period (muscular endurance), you won't see a great deal of improvement on the court.

It's during this phase that more and more tennis-specific exercises are incorporated... exercises that mirror the movement patterns of the game as closely as possible.

To develop explosive power, it's crucial that exercises are performed explosively. As a result, the resistances must be reduced. Lifting heavy weights near one rep max, won't allow the neural adaptations to take place that occur with quick, dynamic movement.

There are several different modes of power training - one of the most effective and widely used is plyometric training. Plyometrics helps to increase the speed of contraction, which in turn helps generate more powerful contractions. The result is harder shots and greater speed and acceleration around the court.

For the lower body, plyometrics is very similar to jump training. For the upper body power, medicine balls are one of the most effective training tools a tennis player can use.

Before you undertake a plyometric program, it's important you have an excellent base of strength. Do NOT jump straight to this phase of the tennis strength training plan.

Here are the parameters for using plyometrics:


•Duration: 4-8 weeks

•No. sessions: 1-2x week

•No. exercises: 2-3

•Resistance: bodyweight

•Repetitions: 10-12

•Rest between exercises: 3-4 minutes

•Speed of movements: Explosive



As well as power, tennis also demands excellent strength endurance. During a long rally, or even a tough game, the ability to apply the same force over and over is a measure of your muscular endurance.

So in this phase of the tennis strength training program it's important to develop both explosive power AND strength endurance. This requires 3-4 sessions per week for 4-6 weeks and should be timed so that the end of the phase occurs just as the competitive season begins.

To maintain power and strength ednurance through the competitive season requires fewer sessions each week.

One of the most effective ways to develop strength endurance is through circuit training.

Here are the parameters for circuit training:

•Duration: 4-8 weeks

•No. sessions: 1-2x week

•No. exercises: 10-12

•Resistance: bodyweight or 40-50% 1 rep max

•Repetitions: 10-20

•No. circuits: 2-3

•Rest between exercises: 30-60 secs

•Rest between circuits: 2-3 mins

•Speed of movements: Quick


Special Considerations in Tennis Strength Training


In sports like tennis and golf, overuse injuries of the wrist, elbow and rotator cuff muscles are all too common.

Most weight training exercises predominantly target the larger muscles groups. So while they get stronger and stronger, the smaller, more isolated muscles get neglected...

That doesn't normally cause a problem until you expose your body to thousands of repetitive movements that incorporate the larger AND the smaller muscle groups - like a forehand drive for example.

So while you hit harder and harder shots (as the strength in your large muscles groups increases), those finer muscles are placed under a disproportionate amount of stress.

The best way to compensate for this is to target and isolate those smaller muscle groups before they become over-worked.

By adding a few choice exercises for the forearm and rotator cuff muscles to your tennis strength training program, you can significantly reduce the occurrence of stress injuries in these areas.

You can start these exercises at any time or phase during the entire program. You can perform them at the end of a session or for 10-15 minutes on separate days.

Click here for some specific forearm, wrist and rotator cuff exercises

So there you have it...

The basis of a professional-standard, tennis strength program that can work wonders for your game. It may take a little more planning initially then a general weight lifting routine, but it takes no more time to perform."
 
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Posture Guy

Professional
Charlie....just wanted to say how much I enjoy your posts. You always have solid information to share with others. Good stuff.
 
Charlie....just wanted to say how much I enjoy your posts. You always have solid information to share with others. Good stuff.
I'm sure I also drive many crazy with the long posts. But my worry for this poster, like many others, is that a quick, direct reply can get them doing something that can make matters worse, not better.

I do enjoy your sensible, balanced approaches to try and help so many here.
 
Charlie- your posts are great, and I am wondering to what extent I could incorporate pre-tennis upper body training with the rotator cuff rehab stage I am at now? My physio has me doing resistance band work but nothing overhead yet. Is that incompatible with gym activites aimed at increasing upper body strength? I have a feeling the answer is yes...
 

Posture Guy

Professional
Thank you for those kind words, charlie. It's nice to be able to help folks.

And re long posts like yours, sometimes the subject doesn't lend itself to brevity. Not everything can be condensed to a tweet. Keep on doing what you do, brother. i, and many others here, are the better for it.
 

Chyeaah

Professional
Love you charliefederer. I never knew you trained in stages, for power first then endurance. I thought that doing weights would improve both. Thanks for helping correct my flaws bro =D.
 
Charlie- your posts are great, and I am wondering to what extent I could incorporate pre-tennis upper body training with the rotator cuff rehab stage I am at now? My physio has me doing resistance band work but nothing overhead yet. Is that incompatible with gym activites aimed at increasing upper body strength? I have a feeling the answer is yes...
Check with your physio first, but it may be appropriate to start doing very low weight dumbell bench presses as a way to add in some upper extremity strength. You'll have to consult with your physio when it would be appropriate to be starting planks and pushups that not only strengthen the upper extremities, but the connections of the upper extremities to the core (through the shoulder girdle/scapular muscles), and the the core itself. It does sound like you are still a ways away from overhead strength training with lat and triceps pull downs.
 
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spun_out

Semi-Pro
Charliefedererer always provides great insights on the subject, but I have to say that I do not like the sportsfitnessadvisor site when it comes to exercise selection. I just don't understand how the exercise they chose is tennis specific not to mention the fact that they suggest so many exercises.

Do we really need bicep curls or tricep extensions if we are doing chinups (well, the site suggests lat pulldowns) and pushups? Sure, doing curls and extensions with a band on off-days would be great to increase blood flow but do you need to do them in your primary weight training session using increasing loads? Also, do you really need to do over the shoulder presses when everybody is complaining of shoulder pain? And isn't it true that many trainers view barbell upright row as one of the worst exercises when it comes to causing shoulder impingement?

So the exercise selection of the site leads me to believe that they really haven't thought about the tennis player in real terms. Rather, they simply said, tennis player uses the shoulder so let's put in an exercise for the shoulder. The tennis player also hops around a lot, so let's put in some calf exercises, etc.
 

Posture Guy

Professional
yeah, I think that's a valid criticism of that site.

At some point when I can get around to it, I'm going to put together a few basic routines up on our website and then I'll post links to them here. Bear in mind, nothing takes the place of finding a good, qualified instructor who designs a protocol specifically for you, then teaches you how to do it correctly. But I figured I'd put up a few basic things focusing on issues like general postural and functional balance, functional strength training, and our version of core work.

I agree that if you think out the program properly, it doesn't take a huge number of exercises to work the entire body in a very effective way.
 
Love you charliefederer. I never knew you trained in stages, for power first then endurance. I thought that doing weights would improve both. Thanks for helping correct my flaws bro =D.
You probably realize this already, but the time spent in any of the phases of strength training need to be altered for your individual needs.

For instance you may already be doing strength training and already have a reasonable foundation, so you are ready to move into a period of maximum strength training before moving on to power/endurance training.

If you have a tennis season with a team that involves daily play starting soon, the period of maximal strength training can be somewhat shortened. Or if you have more time, you can lengthen it. (Those not playing daily can be more flexible in the duration of their strength training periods.)

Many play year round, or near year round, but still find a way to incorporate the concept of periodization into their calender, often maintaining some "maximum strength" sessions to keep their strength from regressing too far.


Finally, most would agree that free weight training in the maximum strength phases are superior to machine based training, but does take specific instruction to learn correct technique. http://recreation.rice.edu/fitness/rice_fitness_center/free_machine.html
Sports Fitness Advisor seems to emphasize this for its football strength training, but this doesn't seem to turn up in it's tennis training section.

G'day mate!
 
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Limpinhitter

G.O.A.T.
Is there any power training I can do off-court, any specific exercises? Any weight exercises? I want to get stronger and hit harder heavier balls.
It doesn't take much strength to hit the ball very hard. I've seen 95lb 14 year old girls tear the cover off of the ball. It takes timing, coordination and practice.
 
Charliefedererer always provides great insights on the subject, but I have to say that I do not like the sportsfitnessadvisor site when it comes to exercise selection. I just don't understand how the exercise they chose is tennis specific not to mention the fact that they suggest so many exercises.

Do we really need bicep curls or tricep extensions if we are doing chinups (well, the site suggests lat pulldowns) and pushups? Sure, doing curls and extensions with a band on off-days would be great to increase blood flow but do you need to do them in your primary weight training session using increasing loads? Also, do you really need to do over the shoulder presses when everybody is complaining of shoulder pain? And isn't it true that many trainers view barbell upright row as one of the worst exercises when it comes to causing shoulder impingement?

So the exercise selection of the site leads me to believe that they really haven't thought about the tennis player in real terms. Rather, they simply said, tennis player uses the shoulder so let's put in an exercise for the shoulder. The tennis player also hops around a lot, so let's put in some calf exercises, etc.
What I like about Sports Fitness Advisor - Tennis Training session is that it gives a lot of information about why tennis players need to train for speed, changes in direction, strength and injury prevention through specific training.

I see a lot of posts that go like this - "Give me a workout" or "Give me a workout for explosive power". There is no way to give all the reasoning for different types of workouts in one post. Sports Fitness Advisor overall gives reasonable information to start working out for tennis - and not just strength training.

I like that it at least can start a dialogue - for instance your pointing out that upright rows are not a good exercise for tennis players because of impingement issues.
At least they don't recommend a barbell press - the dumbell press is less likely to impinge.
Many asking for a beginning workout can't do chinups or pullups - hence the inclusion of the Lat pull downs.

Although I didn't include it in this thread, in all "recommend me a workout" threads I mention that Sports Fitness Advisor is a good place to begin. But all that want to more seriously want to increase strength work would to well to get Mark Rippetoes's Starting Strength book and video - with a warning against doing a barbell press. And that a tennis player should also be doing more HIIT, agility training and the Thrower's Ten Exercise program to help prevent shoulder, forearm and wrist injuries.
I think if you look back at the recent "Give me a workout" threads this is all in there. There is probably only so much you can put in one post.


Edit: Your question did cause me to (for the first time ever) send an e-mail to Phil at Sports Fitness Advisor and pose your question about including the upright barbell rows and shoulder presses to him.
 
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OTMPut

Hall of Fame
Pre-season, in-season, post-season and etc makes sense for people with a tennis season.

What about weekend hacks like me who play only weekends all year?
 

Posture Guy

Professional
Your pre-season is Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, in-season is Saturday and Sunday, Post season is Monday and Tuesday.

Get crackin'.

;-)
 
Pre-season, in-season, post-season and etc makes sense for people with a tennis season.

What about weekend hacks like me who play only weekends all year?
Posture Guy gave you the basics in his response.

You need to be flexible and "listen to your body".

A lot will depend on the level of exertion of your play on the weekend.

After a tough three setter on Sunday, with a long day just before on Saturday, you may want to just do some on court stretching and then "hit the showers".

But if your weekend was just hitting on Saturday and a 6-0, 6-1 win Sunday, and you still have plenty left in the tank, no reason you can't do what I did last Sunday - head to the nice soft artificial turf football field next door for a series of 100 yard sprints, then to the gym to get in a squat/deadlift/bench press/accessory exercise/thrower's ten workout.

Now this Sunday was very unusual - a really short day on the court.

Sometimes, I really need Monday and Tuesday as "off" days to recover.

Usually I need only Monday as an "off" day, and can use Tuesday and Thursday for lifting.

Most of the year I either hit or play on Wednesdays. Very often I do some agility drills and sprinting after. Not always.

This time of year I rarely play on Wednesday. I try to work specifically on strength with Monday, Wednesday, Friday lifting/exercise. If I am going to play Saturday, then on Friday I'll do just the 5 sets of squats and bench presses, some thrower's ten, and very light on the accessory exercises.


I have a stationary bike, cross country machine and rower at home for indoor exercise. I would prefer to do HIIT as running, but the non-jarring bike and cross country motion is easier on my joints if I have been on the courts a lot.

I have multiple barbell sets and elastic tubing at home. My wife and I often take a break from our "homework" do a set of exercises.

There are times of travel or vacation that mean no tennis on the weekend occasionally. That's an invitation to push the workout the day before and the day after returning.



So some of the above strategies may be applicable to you - certainly not all.

But you might be surprised how much you can get in if you put your mind to it.
 

spun_out

Semi-Pro
What I like about Sports Fitness Advisor - Tennis Training session is that it gives a lot of information about why tennis players need to train for speed, changes in direction, strength and injury prevention through specific training.

I see a lot of posts that go like this - "Give me a workout" or "Give me a workout for explosive power". There is no way to give all the reasoning for different types of workouts in one post. Sports Fitness Advisor overall gives reasonable information to start working out for tennis - and not just strength training.

I like that it at least can start a dialogue - for instance your pointing out that upright rows are not a good exercise for tennis players because of impingement issues.
At least they don't recommend a barbell press - the dumbell press is less likely to impinge.
Many asking for a beginning workout can't do chinups or pullups - hence the inclusion of the Lat pull downs.

Although I didn't include it in this thread, in all "recommend me a workout" threads I mention that Sports Fitness Advisor is a good place to begin. But all that want to more seriously want to increase strength work would to well to get Mark Rippetoes's Starting Strength book and video - with a warning against doing a barbell press. And that a tennis player should also be doing more HIIT, agility training and the Thrower's Ten Exercise program to help prevent shoulder, forearm and wrist injuries.
I think if you look back at the recent "Give me a workout" threads this is all in there. There is probably only so much you can put in one post.


Edit: Your question did cause me to (for the first time ever) send an e-mail to Phil at Sports Fitness Advisor and pose your question about including the upright barbell rows and shoulder presses to him.
Thanks for your detailed response. What you say makes perfect sense. I guess what bugs me about the site is the discrepancy between the details with which they explain the needs of a tennis player as well as periodization and the lack of details regarding why they recommend the exercises that they do. Also, I think periodization issue is very complicated and not really necessary for a beginner who can't do chin-ups, for example. As long as they are exercising on a regular basis, the improvements should be there even if they are doing something simple like walking lunges and pushups.
 
yeah, I think that's a valid criticism of that site.

At some point when I can get around to it, I'm going to put together a few basic routines up on our website and then I'll post links to them here. Bear in mind, nothing takes the place of finding a good, qualified instructor who designs a protocol specifically for you, then teaches you how to do it correctly. But I figured I'd put up a few basic things focusing on issues like general postural and functional balance, functional strength training, and our version of core work.

I agree that if you think out the program properly, it doesn't take a huge number of exercises to work the entire body in a very effective way.
I'd love to see some recommendations on functional strength training and core work.

I love the overall philosophy and tremendous insight of Pete Eogoscue as reflected in his books Pain Free and The Egoscue Method of Health Through Motion.
But it seems much of the focus is on the really out of shape who have developed postural problems, and how to get them into reasonably good shape.
The parts on sports rehab seem to be largely directed at the initial rehab process of getting over bad tendencies and muscle imbalances.

I'd love to see your opinions on an exercise program to take things "to the next level" of fitness without running into muscle imbalances.
 

Posture Guy

Professional
Charlie....i can well understand how you would form that impression. But a lot of the clients I work with are very well conditioned athletes from the traditional training perspective. Maybe even collegiate or professional athletes, but they've developed serious postural issues along the way. In fact, from my perspective, the way most conventional "strength training" is done today, it actually is causing more problems than it is solving. I cringe when I see the way most athletes train, and it's rare for me to see a high level athlete on TV who is not a postural mess.

Rafa is a great example. The dude works his butt off but he's a postural train wreck. One of our therapists actually was invited to do an eval on him and I reviewed his postural photos. Wow. It's amazing he hasn't had more injuries than he's already had. There is no way he's breaking the record for majors without fixing this stuff, and he's not fixing this stuff. He just had the one eval, thought it was interesting, and did nothing with it.

Federer, on the other hand, has paid a lot of attention to this aspect of his body. He hasn't worked with us, but we have I guess what you'd call a sister organization in the Czech Republic, a physical therapy hospital/clinic founded by Dr Vladimir Janda. Janda did some groundbreaking work on body position and function and we at Egoscue are huge fans of his work, and he held our work in respect, as well. He was actually an Egoscue client before he passed. Federer, from what I've been told, has done a lot of work with that organization and it shows.

So I can see postural compromise in the weak, or in the really 'strong', in the young or old, the active or sedentary. But yes, there are absolutely ways to improve fitness and strength while not just not creating imbalances, but actively reducing them. Tough to do on your own because you think you're doing an exercise correctly and don't see how your body is cheating out of it and running to its compensations, so putting a generalized routine together for public consumption is a bit tricky. I need to pick exercises where the chance of the layman doing it reasonably accurately is high enough to give us a good probability of a positive outcome. There are some exercises I'd love to put on such a routine but the chance of the average person not butching it on their own is close to zero.

Will definitely put something together here, probably after I finish taxes. Ugh.
 
Thanks for responding.

I was quite sure that many athletes could benefit from Egoscue therapy, and that many examples of problems are mentioned by Pete Egoscue in his great books. I just hadn't seen the blend of exercises needed after the initial corrections to build a balanced, reasonable strength program. It is very kind of you to consider taking the time to do this.

Those are interesting observations on two of the all time greats, Federer and Nadal. I certainly hope Rafa holds up, because I am a great fan of his.
Perhaps it is a bit ironic that today the OP of this thread has started another thread expressing he wants a body like Nadal's.
"Getting Beast
How long would it take to get beast and arms that you can see. I don't mean like super ripped but kind of like nadal except quite abit smaller but still visible." - http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=412823

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/tennis/2010-05-20-rafael-nadal-knee-injuries_N.htm
 
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GuyClinch

Legend
Personally I think Charlie's workouts are too much for the amateur to digest. You would need a pro to put together a workout for you.

And I think starting strength, stronglifts and wendler 5/3/1 are ill suited to the needs of tennis players and far better suited for intro powerlifting. Granted I am not saying they won't help at all - just that they are not efficent enough for athletes.

So many people want a workout - and there are lots of good ones. The best one I have found is Westside for Skinny B-astards. Not sure which one is the best - but he has several variations on it.

http://www.defrancostraining.com/articles/38-articles/60-westside-for-skinny-*******s-part1.html

I have seen similiar workouts around - but this is a pretty proven system.
 

r2473

Talk Tennis Guru
That's all good and fine guys, but the OP is clearly asking how to "GET BEAST"

I think the best these workouts will do is help the OP "get fauna" (or maybe "get flora").
 
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