Strength Training for Tennis

Strength Training for Tennis

You begin playing tennis and realize quickly that there is a ton of skill involved in becoming a world-class tennis player. There is a ton of skill to perfect your serve, a ton of skill in developing your ability to return volleys, and a ton of strategy you use in setting up shots. All of these aspects need to be trained by a specific training coach.


But, if you can master all the sport-specific skills with a tennis coach, you can then focus on the aspects of strength training that can contribute to improving technical skills. 

Think about a dominant tennis player. Serena Williams dominates (dominated?) the sport of tennis. Serena dominated because of her power, her strength-endurance, her technical skills, and her reactiveness. You can heighten your physical capabilities through your training.


You want to start by focusing on your strength-endurance. Tennis matches last a long time. Tennis causes a lot of fatigue. You need to improve your strength-endurance to make sure you can uphold your technique later on in the match.


To do this, you can perform long slow distance running, long assault bike work, and long rower work. 


You do need to know that endurance training mentioned prior can lead to diminishment in other strength characteristics. You will better serve your strength-endurance development by utilizing sprint-interval training, high-intensity interval training, and getting in the sauna multiple days of the week.


Dynamic trunk control is the next key. Being able to hold stability in your trunk requires a ton of dynamic trunk control. Dynamic trunk control separates the elite from the good. 


Trunk control, or core strength, particularly dynamic core strength, will allow you to quiet the excess “noise”. 


Think of “noise” as everything that makes an athletic movement more difficult. For instance, running laterally to chase a ball down, planting, and then hitting a forehand shot with the racket. 


Quieting the excess “noise” through dynamic trunk control allows you to have more stability in your shoulder girdle to use your lever arm and racket to hit specific shots. You will also be able to track the ball more effectively. 


To train dynamic trunk control. You need to do explosive movements with rapid deceleration, rapid rotation, and anti-rotation movements. Such training protocols will improve overall coordination. 


That said, a great tool to develop rotational dynamic trunk control is the Hydro Weight. By the way, you can get one here.  


You will also want to strength train for agility. You need to perform loaded single-leg squats, slow eccentric single-leg squats, Cossack squats, barbell step-ups, and walking lunges to improve agility.


The focus on the quads, glutes and tibialis will allow your muscles to become more coordinated. You will see that your overall agility improves. You will be more muscular, more coordinated, and faster allowing you to make more calculated shots. 


In addition to the lower body unilateral movements, you will want to perform power cleans, hang snatches, dumbbell snatches, and trap bar jumps to help improve your overall agility.


Finally, you need to understand impulse. Impulse is the amount of force you can apply in a short period. In tennis, you have a very short period to apply a lot of force. With that logic, you must use movements to improve your impulse output to dominate opponents.


Improving your impulse capabilities allow you to get back into positions that put you in an optimal situation to win the set, serve, and match. Putting yourself one or two steps ahead of your opponent will allow you to dominate them.


Your training of impulse needs to be built around plyometric movements, command-driven Olympic weightlifting, and agility movements with unknown cutting directions.

Hydro Weight

Versatile athlete training tool

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Yo, It's Dane

Welcome to the Garage Strength Blog, where it is my goal to provide you with the experience and knowledge I've gained in the strength and conditioning world over many years of learning from both successes and failures. I train elite-level athletes in a multitude of sports from the high school to professional levels, already producing 5 Olympics and 30+ National Champions. If you want to be the next champion I train, check out my strength programs below!

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