A tennis workout is a specific workout targeted for tennis players that includes all of the necessary components for tennis-specific fitness — strength, speed, agility, flexibility, and tennis footwork. To gain the most out of your tennis fitness training, you can’t follow a random workout program.
You need to make sure the exercises in your tennis workout routine are specifically targeted for on-court movement and tennis-specific muscles. When you structure your tennis fitness training in this way, you will see the efforts of your workouts directly translating to your tennis game. Let’s explore how to go about it.
HOW DOES A TENNIS WORKOUT DIFFER FROM A NORMAL WORKOUT?
A tennis workout differs from a normal workout because you’re focusing on the exact fitness moves that will enhance your tennis game, as opposed to just going through random weight lifting and/or steady-state cardio on a machine. Ideally, you will be working on footwork, speed, endurance, and strength.
One of the best possible workouts you can do for tennis is the “on-court workout.” Mission Lean founder Jon Pearlman has perfected the on-court workout routine during his time as the #1 singles player for Harvard University and as an ATP-ranked tennis pro.
He learned early on that an effective on-court workout routine, incorporating tennis footwork, speed and agility drills, strength exercises, and stretching can have a huge positive impact on your game.
If you have a court accessible but don’t have a partner on a given day, you can use the on-court workout to train specifically for tennis. The full workout usually takes about 30 minutes, and then you can finish off by practicing your serve for 15 minutes.
With 45 minutes on a free court, you can get in a high-quality session of tennis fitness training all by yourself without the need for a hitting partner. But knowing how to structure the on-court workout, including which specific drills and exercises to do, is the trick and the majority of tennis coaches out there are not well-versed in an effective on-court training routine.
Part of the motivation to start Mission Lean and the high-performance tennis product was so Jon could share this incredible on-court routine with Mission Lean subscribers. To get started for free with the on-court tennis training program, download our free Tennis Fitness eBook which includes a great on-court workout.
HOW DO I STRUCTURE MY TENNIS FITNESS TRAINING?
In structuring your tennis workout, you need to focus on finding the perfect balance between your strength, footwork, speed, agility, and flexibility exercises. Make sure your flexibility is handled at the start and end of your workout. The beginning of your tennis workout routine should always include dynamic stretching.
This is where you follow movement-based stretches that will get your body loose and also raise your heart rate in preparation for the core exercises of the workout. These stretches aren’t meant to be held for more than 3-4 seconds, and you want to make sure you move from one position into the next swiftly.
The “spider” is a great example of a powerful dynamic stretching move that will get you primed for peak performance tennis training and it is one that’s included in the many dynamic stretching routines on the Mission Lean app.
Take one large step forward and bring your body close to the ground, with your back knee hovering above the ground and your fingers making contact with the ground on either side to stabilize you. Lean forward to feel a stretch in your hip flexor, and then lean back to get an amazing stretch in the upper hamstring. Repeat on the other side and proceed with 4-6 reps.
Once your body is loose and warm, you are ready to get into the core of your tennis fitness training. Begin with footwork exercises and then gradually work your way into the more intense exercises of the training such as speed and sprinting drills.
FINDING THE PERFECT TENNIS FITNESS ROUTINE
Once you hit the core of your tennis workout routine, you should be loose from your dynamic stretching and ready to push yourself fully. Within the core of your workout, combine strength, speed, and footwork-based drills. Find 6 to 8 great exercises for any given workout you can choose from the 75+ tennis-specific exercises on the Mission Lean app to get going.
Having a great library of tennis training exercises will be crucial not only for steering you onto the right path but also for providing you with variety in your workout routine so you stay motivated.
Complete the 6 or 8 exercises in a circuit, where you move from one move to the next without rest or limited rest. If the exercise isn’t particularly taxing aerobically, you can transition right away into the next move.
If you’ve just done “Baseline Service Line Sprints,” for example, a great sprinting exercise from the Mission Lean tennis fitness program, you will likely want to take 30 seconds before moving into the next exercise.
With less intense moves like “Ball Touches” or “Plie Side Shuffle” two great footwork exercises from the Mission Lean tennis program, you can transition from one move to the next with little or no rest.
Mix up strength, agility, speed, and footwork exercises to find the perfect balance for your tennis fitness training. In the beginning, it’s best to learn from expert guidance to help point you in the right direction.
But once you become an expert in how to train on-court, you will soon find yourself needing less assistance, able to benefiting from greater consistency with your routines, and experiencing huge improvement in your game.
TENNIS STRENGTH TRAINING: A PRIMER
Tennis is a sport that requires many inputs to reach the top of your game: speed, endurance, agility, flexibility, and strength. Tennis strength training is an important piece of the puzzle and must be included in any tennis training program. Figuring out how to combine the right input of strength training with the rest of your workouts will greatly benefit your on-court performance.
Heading to the gym for strength training sessions is beneficial for tennis players, and should be used to supplement tennis-specific on-court training as we’ve just discussed. When following a gym strength training regimen for tennis, make sure you’re training legs just as much, or even more, than arms. Combine weight-based exercises with bodyweight moves and plyometrics to reap the full benefit of your tennis strength training.
Supplementing Weight Training for Explosiveness
The Mission Lean app aims to structure tennis strength training workouts in just this way. When you facilitate strength workouts with this structure, you benefit from both strength gains as well as explosiveness, which is incredibly important for tennis.
In the Mission Lean leg strength routine, you will perform weight-based squats, followed by bodyweight squat jumps. Similarly, when you train bench press, you will bench your weight and then immediately head into a set of push-ups which will work to further augment your weight-based gains and add explosiveness as well.
By incorporating an optimal combination of weight and bodyweight exercises into your tennis strength training, you will benefit from a three-dimensional approach to building lean, functional, and dynamic muscle.
HOW CAN I GET THE MOST OUT OF MY TENNIS WORKOUT?
If you’re serious about improving your tennis game and building up your on-court fitness, committing to a high-end program like Mission Lean is a must. No top-level athlete ever arrives at peak performance without an experienced coach behind him or her. Similarly, you cannot formulate a peak performance tennis training program on your own by mixing together random YouTube videos and articles from questionable sources.
Mission Lean founder Jon Pearlman, Harvard’s #1 tennis player and ATP-ranked touring pro, has compiled his multi-decade experience in competitive tennis to provide you with the top drills, exercises, and training routines on the Mission Lean app.
By providing you with strength, endurance, speed, and agility moves in systematic routines that can be done on-court with no equipment needed, you will have the resource at your fingertips to skyrocket you to the top of your game.
In addition, the routines are categorized by level, so if you’re a beginner, club player, or top-ranked junior or collegiate player, there is a workout for you. For advanced players, log in to the app and get right into the “Pro Tennis Workout,” which Jon has curated to provide you with the most effective high-performance moves he’s come across as a top player at Harvard and on the pro circuit.
Start with our free Tennis Fitness eBook and begin implementing the workouts and advice that we offer to you in this incredible free resource.
SKYROCKET YOUR GAME WITH PEAK FITNESS TRAINING
Workouts for tennis players need to mimic the types of movements that would be done on court in a match. That’s why picking the right tennis workout routine is so important to maximizing your game. You need to train for your sport, and that is why Mission Lean is leading the way with sport-specific training programs for athletes who want to get the most out of their performance.
If you haven’t already, download the Mission Lean app today and start to see what this incredible resource can do for your tennis game. Check out our free Tennis Fitness eBook and start to take your game to the next level with this free resource. Let’s do this! Mission: Lean!
Jon Pearlman is a former standout tennis player at Harvard, ATP-ranked touring pro, and author of The Lean Body Manual. He founded Mission Lean to share his unique formula for lean body fitness and nutrition, an approach that took over a decade to develop and perfect. He is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist.