If, like me, you've been watching the Australian Open and are feeling motivated to exercise and improve your overall fitness just like the world’s best tennis players, read on!
How to train like a tennis pro
By Marc Sophoulis, world-renowned tennis coach and Blackmores partner
Exercise aids in strengthening the body’s muscles, joints, bones and cardiovascular system. It creates a healthy body and more importantly a healthy mind as exercise is also known to lower stress levels and increase energy throughout the day. Before beginning any exercise routine ensure you seek professional advice.
Firstly, tennis players always make sure to do a thorough warm up before training to ensure a lower risk of injury. However, just as crucial to their warm up is their recovery after each session, and this should also be mandatory to anyone doing all forms of exercise. People can also benefit from the following that tennis players incorporate into their regular training.
- Spend 30-60 minutes recovering after each training session.
- Eat recovery foods within the first 20 minutes of exercise.
- Train with intensity and don’t waste time during exercising. Train for shorter periods but with higher intensity and focus.
Before any exercise it is really important to warm up first. Try the following activities to get your heart pumping, body warm and to be ready to exercise.
- High knee marching (3 minutes)
- Jogging on the spot (3 minutes)
- Windmill arms forward (10x)
- Windmill arms backwards (10x)
- Lightly stretch any muscles you’re about to use
1. Tricep dips
Arms are one of the key muscles used in tennis, which is why they deserve a little extra attention. To strengthen your arms, start with some dips, which focus heavily on your triceps, whilst also improving strength in your chest and shoulders. This is a great activity to improve serve speed.
The move: Use either the edge of the sofa, sofa arm, or coffee table. Place your hands shoulder-width on your chosen surface and move your body so that it’s off the sofa. Either bend your knees or extend your legs in front of you. Straighten your arms, and then slowly bend your elbows to lower your body towards the floor until your arms are at a 90-degree angle.
Repeat: 15 – 20 reps
Core exercises train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work together. This leads to better balance and stability, whether on the playing field or in daily activities. In tennis, core stabilisation is essential to dynamic balance, which means being balanced whilst on the move and hitting the ball.
The move: This is what most people consider to be a standard plank. Lie face down with legs extended and elbows bent and directly under shoulders; clasp your hands together. Feet should be hip-width apart, and elbows should be shoulder-width apart.
Contract your abs, then tuck your toes to lift your body, while your forearms remain on the ground. You should be in a straight line from head to heels.
Hold the plank for 60 seconds or as long as you can.
Repeat: 3 times
3. Drop squats
Squats are a fundamental movement for any sport and this simple exercise can help improve your speed and agility on the court, whilst also helping you develop the power needed for those ground strokes.
The Move: Standing upright, place your feet together. Drop down into a squat position, while bending both knees, and return back up to the start position.
Repeat: 10 reps
4. Push ups
The push up is one of the most simple, yet effective, upper-body and core exercises. It activates multiple muscles, including the deltoids, pectoral muscles, triceps, core muscles and glutes. With one compound movement, individuals are able to exercise multiple muscle groups.
The Move: Begin in a plank position with your arms straight. Your shoulders should be over your wrists and your body should form a straight line from head to toe. Keep your core engaged and don’t let your hips sag. Next, slowly bend your elbows and lower your chest towards the floor. Then, press upwards back to plank position.
Repeat: Complete 8-10 push-ups (one round) 3 times
Burpees hit almost every muscle group while providing aerobic and endurance benefits. It even helps to strengthen the core.
The Move: Count 1: Drop into a squat position with your hands on the ground. Count 2: Kick your feet back, placing your body into a plank position, while keeping your arms extended. Count 3: Jump your feet back into the squat position. Count 4: Jump up from the squat position.
Repeat: Complete 8-10 burpees, 3 times
Finally it is important to do a light cool down and stretch to ensure the body recovers well.
ABOUT MARC SOPHOULIS
Renowned Tennis coach, Marc Sophoulis – Marc has contributed to the careers of tennis players Anastasia and Arina Rodionova, Monique Adamczak, Romanian Victor Hanescu, Indian Davis Cup player Karan Rastogi and Chinese Davis Cup player Di Wu. His track record has seen him recognised as one of a handful of certified Talent Development Coaches by Tennis Australia as well as winning the "Under 30 Victorian Coach of the Year" in 2011. That makes him a first port of call for junior stars from Tennis Australia’s ranks.
Marc has partnered with Blackmores, an official sponsor of the Australian Open.
Blackmores, as an official partner of the Australian Open, is empowering Australians to assess their personalised health and wellbeing with the Blackmores Wellbeing Check. Start your wellbeing journey today, visit www.wellbeingcheck.com.au