Tennis training and weight lifting

jdawgg

Semi-Pro
Weight lifting? I think that's recommended for the off-season. For me the off-season is after USTA mens season wraps up. I have a lot of literature on this and am looking to get into it a bit now since currently it's my off season. I don't currently know how often, but I'm going to read up on that soon.

I think you're also asking how often to train tennis? It depends... but for a 4.5 player like me it takes 3-4 sessions a week and 2-3 hour sessions to slowly grind my way to the 5.0 level.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Assume you want to get to 5.0 NTRP

How often and why?
You should try the Health & Fitness forum for this sort of thing.

Some strength development can be beneficial but not at the expense of a flexibility or speed. Developing power, rather than just brute strength, should provide greater rewards / benefit. This can be accomplished with rope skipping and various plyometric exercises. Weight lifting can be done in a plyometric manner. This has been discussed a number of times in the H&F forum
 

Daniel Andrade

Hall of Fame
Weight lifting? I think that's recommended for the off-season. For me the off-season is after USTA mens season wraps up. I have a lot of literature on this and am looking to get into it a bit now since currently it's my off season. I don't currently know how often, but I'm going to read up on that soon.
That sounds pretty interesting! Can I get a hand on that literature as well if possible?
 

chic

Professional
Assume you want to get to 5.0 NTRP

How often and why?
As others have said, a lifting forum will probably have better info here.

Maybe @Hitman will chime in? He's probably more qualified.

IMO if you're looking for shortest path a lot of the answer depends on your current baseline.

For example: I'm a natural power hitter. Was serving decently accurate 110+ mph serves as a mid tier 3.5. I've lifted a lot for swim and have high flexibility. Now that I'm focusing on improvement I'm mostly doing the big chain lifts (bench, deadlift, pull ups) and mixing in leg lifts such as lunges squats and step ups. I usually super set things so I can mix in some focused bicep/tricep etc but to get to 5.0 the main focus is weight loss and leg strength.

If I were a 4.0 tennis player who hadn't really lifted before and started as an adult: the focus would probably be more lunges, core, lower back, and a bunch of band work and bodyweight to keep joint health, build flexibility, and prevent injuries.

There's a large gamut here based on where you're at, how much time you can commit, and what your tennis and fitness schedule already looks like.
 

Daniel Andrade

Hall of Fame
There's a large gamut here based on where you're at, how much time you can commit, and what your tennis and fitness schedule already looks like.
I have been playing tennis for almost 10 years, however I have been inactive during the last 5. I have been weightlifting during the last 5 years, and I have lifted this year for like 6 months already. I just started to improve my V02 max. like for the last month by jogging.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
Most recreational tennis players would benefit most from losing weight. If you find lifting helps you lose weight, go for it.

If you are lifting for other reasons, you will probably not see a ton of benefit in your tennis.
 

Daniel Andrade

Hall of Fame
Most recreational tennis players would benefit most from losing weight. If you find lifting helps you lose weight, go for it.

If you are lifting for other reasons, you will probably not see a ton of benefit in your tennis.
I'm planning to lose 4kgs more and I think that's it
 

socallefty

Legend
Tennis players need strong lower bodies for speed/endurance, but also they need less bulk in total to put less stress on their joints and back. That why many of them have skinny-looking upper bodies and strong legs/thighs. The strong legs/thighs can be developed by practicing tennis for 3-5 hours a day combined with some sprint exercises and it doesn’t require a lot of weight lifting during the season to maintain that. It is not uncommon for guys who bulk up their upper body to get problems with their knees and hips.

Weight training for a tennis player is primarily to reduce the chance of injuries with the secondary objective to increase shoulder strength and core strength without building up bulk. Tennis is a very one-sided sport favoring your dominant side and some weight training is needed to balance out your strength on the non-dominant side to reduce injuries.

Apart from strength training for the purposes mentioned above, what you will see tennis players focusing a lot on is flexibility exercises including very involved dynamic and static stretching routines - these days, some add yoga too.

One thing that is clear is that to hit the ball hard or serve hard, what you need is good technique and not muscles. Once you watch scrawny, top-rated 12-year old juniors (who have never done any weightlifting) pounding 110mph serves and 70mph ground strokes, this becomes very evident.

To become a 5.0 as an adult, play a lot of tennis (minimum 2-3 hours) daily, get a lot of coaching to improve your technique, do sprint exercises, develop your shoulder strength and have an involved stretching routine (pre and post tennis) to develop flexibility. Do some weight training primarily to balance out your strength between your dominant and non-dominant sides. If you become too bulky with weightlifting and still play a lot of tennis, you might need to save up some money for the knee and hip surgeries you will need in the future.
 
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FiddlerDog

Professional
One thing that is clear is that to hit the ball hard or serve hard, what you need is good technique and not muscles. Once you watch scrawny, top-rated 12-year old juniors (who have never done any weightlifting) pounding 110mph serves and 70mph ground strokes, this becomes very evident.
Conversely, when you see the muscle bound lifter bro getting into tennis, and looking like he is handcuffed by his poor technique, basically hitting as hard as a grandmother
 

AlexSV

Rookie
One of the links above led to this 15412_player_development_college_conditioning_plan_(1).pdf Two or three days lifting for power, a couple of interval runs, a couple of longer runs (most people underestimate the benefit of LSD), and some sport specific explosive/movement training.

That's a pretty standard routine. But when adding tennis on top of it, even the low volume weeks are a lot for middle aged hacks like us.

Your strength routine should be no problem to figure out. If you're new to it then go with something like starting strength.
 

Boubi

Semi-Pro
Assume you want to get to 5.0 NTRP

How often and why?
Avoid legs curls they will ultimately slow you down (or dont use heavy weights)
Beware not to stress your shoulders too much
Work on lunges, pecs and abs
Pecs will allow you to cross more easily your forehand, lunges will improve your speed, and abs (core building) are fundamental for your balance (very important)
Frequency ? Play tennis every other day is more important
Play soccer if you can, for your stamina
 

Niwrad0

New User
I don’t know about other peoples experiences but I used to weigh 60 lbs heavier and very unathletic in general and did a lot of studying desk work etc.

one thing I noticed was I tend to struggle to not hit so hard, and if I tried to swing slower I’ll paradoxically have less control. I realized that unsurprisingly I have pretty weak arm strength, especially forearms. It was pointed out to me that I bend my elbow strongly on slow swings and straighten out completely on my regular swings. I can’t really hold the racquet out on slower swings but I can hit hard enough to not only return but send balls deep.

I’ve come to the conclusion, in conjunction with what Mendevevs body type appears to be, is that if you need to hit hard a lot of strength comes from the torso and abs. I picked up snowboarding during COVID and one skill that’s absolutely required to not face plant every time you stand is a strong core as it involves a lot of twisting and weight transfer. Plus I’ve found planks, crunches, sit-ups to be quite easy at the gym, doing like 25 crunches x 3 sets. I can barely do 10 push-ups or bicep curls so I think I literally just throw my arm with my torso to hit the ball
 

Daniel Andrade

Hall of Fame
I’ve come to the conclusion, in conjunction with what Mendevevs body type appears to be, is that if you need to hit hard a lot of strength comes from the torso and abs.
I've come to a similar conclusion. I think it involves a lot of torso rotation and not a lot of arm strength.
 
sry but lots of terrible advice in this thread from non-professionals likely 2 lead 2 injury

no long distance running: terrible 4 knees, promotes development of entirely the wrong muscle fibers 4 tennis

get ur "aerobic base" or whatever from actually playing matches

no crunches, sit-ups, russian twists, v sits etc. (hip flexor exercises masquerading as core)

ur destroying ur spinal discs and creating imbalances
 

faded_lines

Rookie
Just wanted to share my story. Before Covid, I was doing Crossfit about ~5 days a week. Contrary to popular belief, Crossfit can be very safe under good coaching and peers. I have never been healthier in my life. Lots of stretching, mobility exercises, resistance training (weight training), and occasional running during the workouts. I focused more on technique and form than the weights. This includes everything pulling/pushing motion (pull-ups, sled push, etc), explosive movements (power cleans, snatch, etc), endurance (long workouts and/or running). I have Ankylosing Spondylitis (inflammatory arthritis affecting the spine and large joints) and was in the worse shape of my life before Crossfit.

I started playing and practicing more tennis recently and felt my training helped me with explosive speed to cover the court and endurance to play long matches. Of course, I still had to work on my tennis game which I hired a coach for a little later. I still do Crossfit but only 2-3x a week now.
 
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