Why Weightlifting Will Improve Your Tennis Game
One of my new clients asked me this week why, after starting strength training, in just 6 sessions she felt so much better playing tennis. She said, "I played a tennis match that went late, to 9:30 PM, and I returned a ball that I would have never gotten to 3 weeks ago.
If someone can smack the ball at incredible speeds and coordinate moving around the court returning the ball repeatedly, there must be a whole lot more to it than only doing tennis clinics and cramming in as many matches as possible every week.
I explained the reasons are simply that, with the growth of stronger muscles, you develop better quickness, stability, power, and endurance. Here are 5 great reasons why you should prioritize weight training at least 2-3 times weekly:
Serve Speed - Leg muscles are responsible for generating the force behind quick, explosive movements across the court, and the power behind your serve. The more force you can propel through our legs into the shot, with knees bent and pressing feet down, the faster your serve will be. Of course, you also need strong upper limb muscles for tennis serves, particularly around the shoulder and rotator cuff, to improve our shoulder stability and force.
Muscle Endurance - The more muscular endurance (different from cardio endurance) you have, the higher number of repetitions you can complete. Tennis matches can last a long time, sometimes as long as a marathon, so it is clear how muscular endurance is important. As you near the end of a tennis match, muscles can become fatigued, which both reduce your performance and increase your risk of injury. If you strengthen to build muscle endurance, you give yourself better ability to outlast your opponent.
Core Strength & Stability - The core is where all movement begins. It’s also the center of stability for the lower limb, from foot to hip. Many muscles originate and attach to, and allow the transfer of, forces through the body. The abdominals, obliques, glutes and lower back muscles are used in all the important shots in tennis – the serve, forehand, backhand and volley.
Injury Prevention – Tennis involves repetitive motions and is typically played on hard courts. This increases bodily stress, and muscle and joint loads. It is essential to strengthen the body overall to withstand these increased stresses.
Metabolic - Weight training not only benefits your muscular system, it also has cardiovascular, hormonal and metabolic effects. The more muscle you have, the higher your overall metabolic rate will be. So, weight training is a great way to aid weight loss, build muscle, increase your metabolic rate and reduce BMI, all of which will show recognizable benefits on the tennis court
It‘s important to have a quick 5-10 minute warmup too! Prepare your muscles for what you are about to do. Going onto a tennis court ”cold” creates more opportunities for injury. Take the time before practice or a match to get in a quick sprint or brisk walk, and mobility moves, to warm up your muscles and joints. You’ll notice better performance right from the start.
There you go, 5 reasons for prioritizing weight training in your routine.
Let me know if you have any questions.