Want the shoulders of a swimmer, the endurance of a marathoner and the power of a sprinter? Tennis pro and Crunch gym fitness instructor Akin Akman talks us through the game — and full body workout.
“Strong shoulders create a more powerful swing, helping you hit the ball across the net with more power. To improve shoulder strength and reflexes, practise throwing and catching a medicine ball with a partner.”
“Having strong, toned arms helps increase the speed and power with which you hit the ball but the key is really down to your core strength. It’s an upward ripple as the movement stems from the core, then the twisting and hip rotation, extending out to the arm. Building up strength in the forearm by doing light weights will help improve your swing.”
“The body’s powerhouse when playing tennis is your core. Your hip movement along with your abdominal muscles are crucial in enabling the rest of the body to respond correctly. Your hips help you twist and having strong abs will help hold the body more centered.”
“To remain close to the centre of gravity, the game requires you to remain low, forcing you to adopt a natural squat-like position that is great for toning and shaping your legs. Running after the ball cross the court requires short burst runs similar to circuit training. The result is a fantastic cardio workout that helps you build lean muscle.
What brings it all together?
Flexibility: Flexibility helps, as tennis requires a lot of twisting from the hips. It’s not a sport that will make you become more flexible, but maintaining supple muscles with plenty of stretching off-court will help prevent injuries and improve movement.
Gravity: Tennis players remain in a lowered position in order to hold a center of gravity. Staying low and closer to the ground helps them to absorb the shock of the ball coming in at high speed and to then have the power to hit it back.
Coordination: Good coordination is what brings and holds the game together, a bit like the strings on a racket. It determines the footwork and ability to hit the ball from different angles.
Agility: The constant running from one part of the court to another and chasing after the ball requires a lot of agility, jumps and quickness of step.