Too big, too skinny, or don’t know? I’ll explain why weight training for tennis players makes sense!

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Some people believe there should be no weight lifting involved because that makes you bulky. Others believe that a tennis player only should use light weights when working out because using heavy weights makes the athlete move slower on the court.

I’ll introduce you to:

  1. The purpose of weightlifting for athletes
  2. Why weight lifting is not body building
  3. Kinetic chain efficiency

and explain why I believe weight training for tennis players makes sense.

The Purpose of Weight Training for Tennis Players

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First of all, the purpose of weight training is to make the athlete very balanced with their strength so that the joints function properly by enhancing range of motion (ROM)/flexibility. Once that has been accomplished we can focus on getting faster, stronger and more powerful.

So, the goal is to make the athletes very balanced (muscle balanced) with their strength and increase range of motion so that the joints function properly before we focus on increasing weight or velocity of the action!

Try some of the 22 Static Stretching Exercises For Tennis Cool Down to correct any flexibility issues and use the workout video to correct upper body strength imbalances.

Once the strength imbalances and flexibility issues have been corrected then you apply everything else.

Most coaches just want to focus on resistance or speed but if one makes something faster or one makes something stronger but it’s already imbalanced then one will increase the imbalance, which will then commonly lead to injury and hence the coach did nothing that was beneficial.

In other words, the training program was ineffective and the coach wasted the athlete’s time…this is the most common error committed by coaches!

Weight Training Doesn’t Mean Body Building

weight training

Front Squat © by IAAPH

Second of all, weight training for athletes is not body building.

For example, you can use free-weight exercises (e.g. Front Squat), where the your body needs to stabilize the action, which emulates the physical demands required during a tennis match, where you need to stabilize your body during stroke production.

On the other hand, body building often involves machine-based training where muscle groups are being isolated and stabilization occurs via the machine.

Therefore, weight training can be beneficial to a tennis player whereas body building is not.

 

 

 

Optimizing Kinetic Chain And Transfer of Energy

In order to enhance athletic ability and overall performance energy transfer must be optimized since energy is required to move quickly around the court or hit powerful shots.

Now, according to Newton’s 2nd law of motion, which describes the relationship between a force acting upon a body (object) and the motion that body (object) experiences due to that force, a force (F) can be expressed as mass (m) of an object times its acceleration (a) or F = m * a.

weight training

With regards to exercise, a force can be thought of as a muscular pushing or pulling action that controls movement, causes movement, or inhibits movement of the entire body or a body segment.

In order to exert force, muscles require energy and efficient transfer of energy is required in order to transfer the maximum amount of force.

Since power can be expressed as force x distance over time (power = force x distance/time), efficient force transfer, and hence energy transfer, will have a positive effect on maximum power output.

Therefore, optimizing energy transfer is crucial for optimizing overall performance on the court and energy transfer can be enhanced by using free-weight exercises since they enhance stabilizer capabilities, which means less energy is “lost”.

Now, according to the aforementioned, force can be expressed as mass of an object times its acceleration and power is defined as force times distance over time.

So, how can one become powerful if the mass of the object being used is light?

Does that mean you need to lift super heavy weights?

power training

Philipp Halfmann

No. The purpose is to enhance athletic conditioning. It means that you need to optimize athletic capabilities so that you can perform well on the court, which implies that managing your body becomes more important than the total amount of weight being lifted.

Training Zone

In this section we provide you with some workouts you may be interested in to optimize your training:

About 

Content crafter at Tennis Conditioning. You can find me on the ITF/WTA/ATP tour coaching tennis players or online writing about tennis, strength & conditioning, exercise science or health-related issues. Champions find a way, losers find excuses!

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