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Tennis Training For Fitness, Speed And Agility

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Tennis Training For Fitness, Speed And Agility by Kristoph Thompson

Wimbledon is upon us but even if you aren’t a tennis fan, try some of the training techniques used in the game for a challenging workout. Tennis players are incredibly fit and we could all learn a thing or two from their training to improve our fitness, speed and agility.

Tennis involves periods of high intensity running, followed by periods of rest between points and games. Fitness training should prepare the body for these demands. It is firstly necessary to build a base level of fitness, the ability to complete forty minutes of continuous running. Once this is achieved, the aim is to build upon this base to meet the specific fitness demands of the game.

Interval Training – alternating between periods of high intensity and rest, the body becomes accustomed to exercising at higher heart rates and recovery rate is improved. Try running for 500m interspersed with jogging for 300m, and sprinting 100m followed by walking 100m.

Fartlek - literally meaning speed play, involves spontaneous changes of speed with periods of running, jogging, and sprinting. Fartlek training matches the demands of tennis as the changes in speed are unplanned, much like during the game.

4 Point drill - the majority of movements throughout the game are quick and over a short distance, often to the sides and front to back. You need to be agile to makes these changes of direction quickly and efficiently. Use the 4 point drill to improve your agility and speed over short distances. Use four cones to mark the points forming a cross. Place cone three, 10m in front of cone one, and cones two and four 3m to the left and right of the mid-point between cones one and three. Begin at point one on your tiptoes transferring your weight from one side to the other in the ‘ready position’, get a partner to shout the number of another cone to you as you sprint towards it and then back to cone one looking forward at all times.

Copyright 2006, Kristoph Thompson now runs a successful personal training business in the UK, working with a variety of groups and individuals from professional footballers to those with disabilities, and most recently, Britain’s Strongest Man. He has recently pioneered kristoph.co.uk which provides a free, national health and fitness information service.

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