It’s the Australian Open and the world’s best tennis players are showing us what years and years of training can achieve.
Of course, we don’t all have hours to spend at the gym to match that elite level training – nor would we want to. But that doesn’t mean we can’t borrow a few ideas from their workouts to incorporate into our own.
We spoke to renowned tennis coach Marc Sophoulis, who had coached the likes of Anastasia and Arina Rodionova, Di Wu and Monique Adamczak, to find out what we can do to train more like a pro tennis player.
The trainer, who has partnered with Blackmores, shared some tips and common mistakes people make, as well as a simple five-move workout you can do in the gym, the park, or at home.
Tips we can snatch
Marc says tennis players focus just as much on their recovery as their warm-up - as they're equally important in getting the best out of their bodies and avoiding injuries. He says this advice is as much for a tennis player training for a grand slam as an accountant who would like to lift 30kg.
- Spend 30-60 minutes recovering after each training session.
- Eat recovery foods within the first 20 minutes of exercise.
- Train with intensity and don’t waste time during exercising. Train for shorter periods but with higher intensity and focus.
- Before beginning any exercise routine ensure you seek professional advice.
Common mistakes we're all making
The biggest mistake Marc sees people make? Trying to do too much too soon. He explains that trying to progress quickly with your exercises without slowing building up your strength is a recipe for soreness and injury. This means it's better to go lighter on the weights until you've got your technique down pat.
Marc says failing to plan is also a big mistake. He says people often don't schedule their exercise into their day or stick to a workout schedule, again meaning they miss out on getting the best results.
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He also recommends getting a trainer to design a program tailored to your own body and goals, while supplementing this with the right food.
Five exercises you can do anywhere
"Before any exercise, it is really important to warm up first," Marc says.
He suggests trying the following activities to get your heart pumping, body warm and to be ready to exercise:
- High knee marching (3 minutes)
- Jogging on the spot (3 minutes)
- Windmill arms forward (10x)
- Windmill arms backwards (10x)
- Lightly stretch any muscles you’re about to use
Now, you're ready to go. Just remember that if you're a beginner to take it easy and if you have any injuries, speak to your doctor before trying any new exercise routine.
1. Tricep dips
Strong arms are of course crucial for tennis players, but tricep dips are also great for anyone who wants lean, toned arms. Marc explains that while this move focuses heavily on your triceps, it also improves strength in your chest and shoulders.
The move: Use either the edge of the sofa, sofa arm, or coffee table. Place your hands shoulder-width on your chosen surface and move your body so that it’s off the sofa. Either bend your knees or extend your legs in front of you. Straighten your arms, and then slowly bend your elbows to lower your body towards the floor until your arms are at a 90-degree angle.
Repeat: 15 – 20 reps
Marc explains core exercises, like a plank, train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work together. This leads to better balance and stability, whether on the court or out and about.
The move: This is what most people consider to be a standard plank. Lie face down with legs extended and elbows bent and directly under shoulders; clasp your hands together. Feet should be hip-width apart, and elbows should be shoulder-width apart.
Contract your abs, then tuck your toes to lift your body, while your forearms remain on the ground. You should be in a straight line from head to heels.
Hold the plank for 60 seconds or as long as you can.
Repeat: 3 times
Squats aren't just for shaping your butt. Marc tells us they're a fundamental movement for any sport and help tennis players improve their speed and agility on the court and help them hit the ball with power.
The move: Standing upright, place your feet together. Drop down into a squat position, while bending both knees, and return back up to the start position.
Repeat: Start with 10 reps and work your way up as you get used to the move.
They're not easy, but damn are they effective. Marc explains a push-up activates multiple muscles, including the deltoids, pectoral muscles, triceps, core muscles and glutes. If you can't keep on your toes, start on your knees and as you build strength, give full push-ups a go, even if it's just one.
The move: Begin in a plank position with your arms straight. Your shoulders should be over your wrists and your body should form a straight line from head to toe. Keep your core engaged and don’t let your hips sag. Next, slowly bend your elbows and lower your chest towards the floor. Then, press upwards back to plank position.
Repeat: Complete 8-10 push-ups (one round) 3 times
Burpees get a bad rap, but they're an incredibly useful move, hitting almost every muscle group while providing aerobic and endurance benefits, says Marc. It even helps to strengthen the core.
Count 1: Drop into a squat position with your hands on the ground.
Count 2: Kick your feet back, placing your body into a plank position, while keeping your arms extended.
Count 3: Jump your feet back into the squat position.
Count 4: Jump up from the squat position.
Repeat: Complete 8-10 burpees, 3 times.
Finish with a cool down and stretch.
Blackmores, as an official partner of the Australian Open, is encouraging Australians to assess their personalised health and wellbeing with the Blackmores Wellbeing Check. Start your wellbeing journey today.
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