Like other athletes, tennis players need to be cross-training. Aspects of cross-training, in fact, are central to the fitness regimens of the game’s elite. Novak Djokovic does yoga, Andy Murray plays soccer, and Nick Kyrgios hoops regularly. The legendary Serena Williams and up-and-comer Coco Gauff also cross-train in boxing — with no less than former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson helping them out. These forays into other sports, along with constant training, have helped tennis’ best become some of the world’s fittest athletes, whose stamina, strength, flexibility, coordination, and endurance are all a key part of their success. So, why should you look for other exercises and routines outside your regular tennis training?
Benefits of cross-training
Personal trainer and Fitness Expert Parker Cote explains that cross-training keeps the body guessing, keeping it from getting comfortable, which is the leading cause of training plateaus.
“If you are repetitively doing the exact same workout, you will stop seeing progress,” Cote points out. “Cross-training can help people break through a plateau and will complement other forms of training, while increasing your fitness level.”
In other words, just practicing on the tennis court can only do so much for you. While that will improve your court coordination and racquet skills, it will do little to improve areas like your endurance levels and core strength. If you want to see improvements in both the way you play the game and in your fitness levels, then you’ll need to adopt exercises that are more common in other sports, like anti-rotational core movements, direct abdominal flexion, and compound explosive leg exercises.
How do professional players cross-train?
In order to build strength and endurance, many professional players turn to fitness companies that specialize in this form of training. Here in America one such company is EXOS, “a program that puts performance specialists and sports dietitians into a 5,000-square foot facility filled with top-of-the-line equipment, dedicated training space and a synthetic turf field”. The company employs some of the top specialists from across the country to train tennis players and other athletes. The expertise of trainers like Victor Kizer, a military Matster Fitness trainer and Assistant Professor of Exercise Science at Maryville University, can help professional players gain a competitive edge over others.
IMG Academy’s head of physical conditioning Yutaka Nakamura, who trained the recently-retired Maria Sharapova for seven years, is also a big advocate of tennis players cross-training (as is tennis all-timer John McEnroe). “I’m a huge fan,” Nakamura proclaims, before adding that “it’s always OK to play other sports.” He gives as example a student at the IMG Academy, whose physical conditioning regimen involves playing basketball.
Needless to say, if you want to take your game to the next level, consider changing your fitness regime to include more than just on-court tennis drills. Try adding in some yoga or zumba to your routine, like Garbine Mugurza.
Play other sports like basketball or soccer to hone your coordination skills.
Do some beach workouts like Dominic Thiem.
Just don’t forget to use workout essentials such as Under Armour’s compression apparel, Garmin’s 45 Watch fitness tracker, and Hydro Flask’s 24 oz Standard Mouth Bottle. Soon you will be out lasting as well as out-hitting your opponents.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Alicia McKenzie is a fitness writer. She is looking to further her career by studying human kinetics in the near future. She is also a huge tennis fan.
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