When you watch the game of tennis you can appreciate the power and strength players today have.  On top of that, factor in the fact that matches can last anywhere from 30 minutes to over 5 hours, and  you quickly realize that tennis players have to have extraordinary fitness, power and endurance.  A properly designed strength and conditioning program can help any player elevate his or her game to a new level.

weights6_300There are four basic kinds of exercises in every strength & conditioning program. These four kinds of exercises build the foundation which you need as an athlete or even just day to day to perform your daily activities.

Pre-habilitation/Rehabilitation Exercises
These can be your warm-up drills, mobility drills, flexibility movements and sport-specific drills.
Why?
•They help increase your range of motion and allows for better movement during your training.
•They also help prevent injury as most of such movements strengthen up our stability in our joints.
•More sport-specific drills can be added to help increase coordination and conditioning of the muscles specfic to the sport.

Power-Based Exercises
Movements that require you to be explosive and develop as much force as possible in the shortest period of time. They include your jumps, throws, and weightlifting movements.
Why?
•They allow you to increase your rate of force development which is critical and most of the time a key performance indicator in more sport settings.
•Some of the movements involved are more complex and require coordination of the body
•They build your muscles up to move faster, allowing you to have better movement speed
•Better activation of the core as such movements are dynamic and require your spine to be in a stabilised position constantly while the movement is performed.
•And because you are developing high force in fast speeds, you are doing more work more rapidly, increasing your energy-expenditure and subsequently allowing weight loss.

Strength-Based Exercises
weights5_300Usually the Three Big Lifts (i.e. The Squat, The Deadlift and The Bench) and their assistance exercises.
Why?
•They allow your muscles to develop as much force as possible through a range of motion, giving you the foundation required for your training.
•They also help increase muscle mass and with more muscles mass, energy expenditure is increased, allowing for weight loss.
•The strength built can later be transferred to power which is critical in a lot of movements we perform daily and in sport.

Core Exercises
Any movement which requires your core to be in a stabilized position. The misconception that many have about core training is that the core needs to be worked with crunches/sit-ups which is seldom the case.
Why?
•The core (as the name suggests) provides the stability in all our movements.
•Force and power is never generated from the core but by the limb segments and is magnified if the core is stable.
•For example, throwing a ball requires moving your arm through a certain range. However, the first muscles to be activated are in fact your core muscles to give you that stability and allow you to transfer the force from your hips to your shoulders then to your arms.

Dynamic warm-up and flexibility training is an essential element of any pre-practice or pre-competition routine and helps prepare the body for the demands of today’s tennis game.  An effective warm-up does five very important things for tennis players.
1. Increases body temperature allowing muscles to work more efficiently.
2. Gets the heart and lungs ready for vigorous activity.
3. Stretches muscles actively, preparing them for the forces experiences during tennis.
4. Engrains proper movement patterns and the coordination needed in tennis.
5. Wakes up the nervous system and gets the brain talking with the muscles.
A dynamic warm-up, which involves stretching with movement, accomplishes all of the above tasks.