August 22, 2003, Newsletter Issue #84: Practical Strength Training for Tennis

Tip of the Week

WHY IS STRENGTH TRAINING IMPORTANT?

Strength is a major component of power. (Power = Strength x Speed) There`s no doubt about it--watch the best players today, and you`ll see that tennis is definitely a POWER SPORT.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF STRENGTH TRAINING?

Improved muscular strength, improved muscular power, improved muscular endurance, and most importantly, DECREASED risk for injury.

WHAT MUSCLE GROUPS SHOULD BE TRAINED?

Since tennis is a sport that requires both upper and lower body strength and power, athletes will benefit from a strength program that involves all the major muscle groups as well as a few specific exercises for the shoulders and arms.

HOW SHOULD I TRAIN TO IMPROVE STRENGTH?

Frequency should be 3 x per week, Sets should be 1 to 3, Repetitions should be 10-15, and the Duration should be based on your own "curve". That is, WITH APPROVAL FROM A PHYSICIAN OR PERSONAL TRAINER, you can slowly build up to your maximum duration.

THIS CONSTITUES AN INVESTMENT OF ONLY 2-3 HOURS PER WEEK MAXIMUM!

KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER: One repetition maximal lifts should be ABSOLUTELY AVOIDED. Once 15 reps can be performed, then increase resistance. Athletes should not sacrifice form for added resistance.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN ATHLETES CEASE FROM TRAINING REGULARLY?

Simply, strength gains will return to pre-training levels if not maintained.

WHAT IS REQUIRED TO MAINTAIN MUSCULAR STRENGTH GAINS?

Fortunately, it takes LESS TRAINING TIME to maintain strength than it does to improve it. Research has indicated that strength can be maintained with as little as one intense workout per week. While the frequency of training can be reduced, the resistance used during the workout should not.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN ATHLETES ARE TRAVELING OR DON`T HAVE ACCESS TO A GYM?

Simple! Consult with a certified athletic trainer, or after consulting with a health professional, check out a book, and design your own program.

The key is commitment and consistency.

Good luck with your training program!


TennisGuru

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