Getting your tennis fitness back

Published by Nathan and Giselle Martin

Andy Murray is one of the fittest athletes in the world. Photo: Getty Images
The Spring isn’t too far away, meaning it’s time to start building your strength for the new tennis season.

Tennis training can be as complex as it’s demanding, but it’s the basics that are most critical. Nathan and Giselle Martin explain how you can ensure you’re in top physical shape for success.

It is no secret that off-court training is considered more important than ever before. The majority of elite players work hard to find the off-court regime that works best for them – and they follow it with unwavering discipline.

We are now seeing structured off-court training filter through at a junior level, with young athletes understanding the benefits of doing extra work off-court, as well as recovery techniques such as a stretch and foam roller program and a disciplined focus on hydration and nutrition.

Off-court training will ideally incorporate:

1. Structured tennis specific fitness training – including agility, strength, cardio vascular and power.
2. Injury prevention, with specific exercises to help minimise tennis related injuries.
3. Recovery techniques – such as stretching, a foam roller program, ice bath, hot bath or massage.
4. Education on nutrition and hydration – that is, what to eat and drink before, during and after tennis.
5. Education on managing injuries (understanding what to do and when to do it).

Strength is king. It’s the foundation on which everything is built; without a strong body you will limit your performance and progress. It is extremely important to follow a tennis specific strength program if you want to improve and stay injury free.

Examples of some of the best tennis specific strength exercises include:

1. Push up rotation
2. Forward lunge/side lunge
3. Band back flye
4. Band single leg squat
5. Crunch crossover
6. Band reverse wood chop

It is important to get a good off-court training structure together. Things to consider are; How much time you have (when can you do it and for how long), what you can afford, who is going to help you (trainer, nutritionist etc).

Getting these things right will put you in good stead to improve your on-court performance and have you running rings around your opponents.

Nathan and Giselle Martin, of Tennis Fitness, have been in the health and fitness industry for 20 years. They travelled on the WTA Tour for numerous years and also worked at the Sanchez Casal Tennis Academy in Barcelona, Spain. They’ve worked with Sam Stosur, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Jennifer Capriati, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Monica Seles and Martina Navratilova. The Sydney based pair now work with Casey Dellacqua and Lleyton Hewitt. For further information and for previous month’s articles, visit

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