| By Suzanna McGee

Whatever the level of your tennis skill may be, you can always improve upon your game by improving your tennis-specific fitness. Fitness training should be a regular part of your “tennis lifestyle.”

The more serious a player you are, the more fitness you will need. You have to improve your strength, power, explosiveness, quickness, endurance, balance and flexibility. It sounds like too much, but even spending a little time on each element, when compounded over a long time, will bring amazing results to your tennis, your health and general well-being.

If you are a recreational or social player without any serious competitive aspirations, you still should have at least two fitness training sessions per week. You need to take good care of your body because tennis is pretty destructive physically, regardless of what level you play. If you want to keep your tennis longevity, then you have to do a minimal fitness workout.

Basic tennis fitness preparation
1. Walking lunges (lower body strength, balance and flexibility)

2. Jumping lunges (all of the above, plus power)

3. Burpees (full body strength, balance, power, explosiveness and flexibility)

4. Plank and its variations (core and upper body strength, balance, and endurance)

5. Kettlebell swings (power, explosiveness, strength, balance, coordination, and endurance)

6. Rubber-band side walk (hip strength)

7. Side jumps (power, explosiveness and balance)

8. Stretching or myofascial release of quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes, if there is not enough time for more

There are no tennis players or athletes who have gluteus medius that are too strong. Almost everybody has weak gluteus medius muscles, which over time, causes larger issues of overuse injuries, such as knee, hip, ankles or lower back problems.

If you don’t have much time for your fitness preparation, the priority should be the training of your glutes (maximus and medius) and hamstrings. The entire back chain always needs extra attention.

Depending on your level of commitment and how much time for fitness training you have besides playing tennis, you can split your training in such a way that you perform some strength and power, some stretching and rehab each day.

If you only play a few times a week, but for long periods of time, then do your fitness training on the alternate days, and do it more thoroughly, over a longer period of time and intensely. The injury prevention regimen needs to be a serious part of your program as well.

Commit to your tennis-specific fitness and watch both your game and health improve rapidly.