or some is the thud of the ball over a lush, mown lawn. For others, it is the brilliance of tennis whites or the elegance of an ace. Whatever your trigger, Wimbledon has an unmatched inspirational capacity: an afternoon watching the action on center court and you exhum your defeated old racquet and bounce back to the council-run courts in your local park. The action begins today and the excitement will peak as the singles final draws near.
However, if you can keep going, tennis is tough training: it improves agility, strength and flexibility. Plus, you can play outside, layering your urban tan and giving a good mid-August impression of someone who is vigorous, lively and active.
Either way, whether your tennis season is short or long, it is important that you complete matches with workouts that will improve your form and limit injury. You don’t want to beg for Sunday’s mixed doubles with a sticky tennis elbow or a wild shoulder. So how do you make sure you’re ready for the game, the set, and the match?
First and foremost, tennis engages the whole body, so think of yours as an interlocking system rather than bundles of fibers. âYou have to take a holistic approach,â agrees Ben Jones, master trainer at Technogym (technogym.com), “to train the whole body in a more functional way, rather than choosing individual muscles.”
By saying this, he isolates the kernel for examination. This area has an essential role in “absorbing force and transferring it from the lower body to the upper body”, which is the essence of a strong game of tennis. âA weak nucleus cannot do this comfortably,â he adds.
âCore strength is extremely important because of the amount of rotation the body will experience, especially in the thoracic spine during an entire match,â agrees Leo Savage, personal trainer at Third Space. âWhen fatigue sets in, your lower back can compensate for the lack of core strength needed to maintain a strong hitting technique. He recommends anti-rotation exercises like cutting wood on your knees during training. Savage also recommends using resistance bands. âWorking on single-leg jumps in the front and side directions will help with leg stability,â he says. He also suggests shuttles. “They are great for tennis players as they require changes of direction as well as acceleration and general physical fitness.”
What about group lessons? Keeping the theme, start with whatever animates the core. Core Collective’s Velocity class is a hyper circuit class that involves short bursts of movement, including boxing, rowing, sit-ups, and the pushing and moving of a weighted cart: it shrinks the core in. a sinewy core, which should add some punch to your forearm.
Third Space is running outdoor versions of many of its classes this summer – including the Ultra Shock Circuits class, which involves HIIT movements alternated with âmetabolic stimulation exercisesâ; you will feel the burn and the run will prepare you to run across the court. And Gym Class, which has studios in Holland Park and the City, has a Super Core circuit class that will improve agility once you can get up off the ground.
âYou want to train for what you want to improve,â Jones suggests. In other words, remember that you are training for a very specific game. âYou want to use similar movements and actions,â he adds. âGroup cycling is great training, but not a lasting benefit. He suggests using the Skillmill machine, a non-motorized treadmill you may have spied on near regular running machines in your gym: you control the speed, so you do intermittent sprints by slowing down and running. speeding up, rather than messing with the settings – just like you might on a field. âThere are cross benefits to the sport,â says Jones.
Should men and women approach training differently? John McEnroe would likely argue that they should, although at the recreational level Jones isn’t convinced. He says women are at higher risk for knee injuries, due to their hips’ differences, and should work on core strengthening and hip exercises like glute extensions, planks, and hip raises.
And don’t forget to incorporate a recovery time. If you’ve ever felt the burn, Nike is launching a yoga workout specially designed for tennis players on its NTC app. Movements promote sleek, elongated movements that will help improve your serve and backhands. There are three settings, mobility, endurance or strength – each of them will be very useful for the tennis season.