All good tennis players need to work on their strength, agility and endurance so they can bring explosiveness to their serves, speed to match their opponents and versatility in their returns.
Whether you’re a tennis newbie who’s been inspired by the amazing feats of the Wimbledon stars or a seasoned pro looking to improve your game over the summer, these exercises will help you improve your skills so you feel invincible on the court.
Strength training for tennis
Jumping exercises like pogo jumps are great for power and conditioning. They help strengthen the quads, hamstrings and calves for tennis players who need to move quickly across the court. Pogo jumps are also one of the most straightforward plyometrics exercises you can do, with some of the biggest returns.
How to pogo jump:
Jump as high as you can while pushing off from your ankles instead of your hips and knees (keep knee bending to a minimal). Bounce off the ground as quickly as possible with both feet together and stay on the balls of your feet, avoiding your heels touching the ground.
Try and master 25 jumps in a row, and repeat the set four times.
Players can use their own body weight to help improve their strength on the tennis court. If you’re new to chin-ups, you can use a resistance band to counter-balance your weight at the beginning of your training. In the weeks and months following, you should slowly work your way up to doing chin-ups without needing any assistance. Once you feel confident, you can introduce using a weighted belt as well.
How to do a chin-up:
To perform chin-ups properly, hold a pull-up bar with your hands hip-distance apart and your palms facing inwards. Then, taking as much time as you need, pull your body up with your arms and your lats until your chin is just above the bar, and slowly lengthen your arms back down. You should aim to bring your elbows into your sides
Aim for three sets of 10 pull-ups, and you’ll quickly notice your game strength improving.
Medicine ball throws
Good tennis players develop both their upper body and core strength to ensure they can drive more strength behind the racket and keep stable during play.
How to throw:
Hold a medicine ball firmly in each hand, and stand with your side several feet away from a wall. Rotate your shoulders away from the wall, winding up in preparation for the throw. Then, reverse direction, turn your shoulders and release the ball as fast as you can.
Aim for three sets of five throws per arm.
Speed and agility training for tennis
Interval training using the treadmill
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) on a treadmill will not only help improve your overall cardio fitness levels but will also develop the ability to dart quickly and efficiently around the tennis court.
How to do interval training:
Start by warming up by running for 10 minutes at a moderate pace on a treadmill. Then, sprint at 90% capacity for 4 minutes before recovering with a walk for 4 minutes. Repeat this four times, so you’re running for a total of 16 minutes.
You’ll soon notice your fitness levels increase; it’ll become easier and easier to sprint for shorter periods during a match.
The deadlift will help increase your speed and agility by increasing the amount of force you can put into the ground, helping you to take off smoother and faster.
How to deadlift:
With your feet hip-width apart, grasp a barbell with an overhand grip outside your knees. Keeping your chest out and back straight, pull the bar off the floor by extending your hips. Keep the bar close to your body throughout the lift.
Aim for four sets of 12 reps.
The Kettlebell Swing can help increase your explosiveness on the court, and will simultaneously improve your speed and balance.
How to do a kettlebell swing:
Stand with your feet just a little wider than your hips and hold a kettlebell with both of your hands in between your legs. Bend your knees slightly and swing the kettlebell back between your legs, then quickly swing the kettlebell forward up to eye level while keeping your core tight. It’s important that you hinge at the hips to create the right amount of force in the swing without overworking your arms.
Aim for four sets of 10 reps.
Endurance training for tennis
Circuit training is an exercise format that involves between 6 and 10 exercises used in succession and can help improve speed, strength and endurance - perfect for tennis players.
You can perform circuit training yourself, completing specific exercises that target your total body, upper body, lower body and your core, separated by brief intervals for rest.
Alternatively, you could go to a circuit class at a Fitness First gym for an in-depth class with a trained professional, guaranteed to help you improve your fitness level and your overall endurance for the court.
Cardio classes will help to increase your energy and strengthen your heart and lungs, helping to increase your endurance for match days.
Having a structured workout with a trained professional will ensure you maximise your time and get the best results possible. There are a variety of different cardio classes you can get involved in, including aerobic classes, spin classes and boot camps.
Follow these exercises correctly and you’ll notice your game improve thanks to your increased speed, power and stamina. Check out our guide on smashing your fitness goals by forming habits for even more motivation or try out these quick and healthy recipes for help with refuelling after your workout!