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Conditioning For Tennis, Are You getting It Right?

Aug 04, 2021
image of conditioning for tennis

Have you ever wondered how Tennis Pros can physically back up point after point, working at such high intensity? Being able to do this for hours on end does not just happen by chance. Would you like to have the ability to move at high intensity for hours on end? You need to be working on it to have the capacity to deliver it on the court.  


There are lots of tennis exercises and drills you can do to help in this area. Today I want to explain what we believe is a missing link in most player's training regimes, a way in which you can start to improve your repeated dynamic movement capacity on the court by improving conditioning for tennis. 



A few years back we redesigned how we trained tennis players. We looked at the most important physical areas of Tennis Fitness Training, that every player needs to focus on and be good at.  


We soon worked out there were 9 areas, we call these our 9 threads. We consider these 9 threads critical to get right and improving them as a priority will help set you up for a long successful career (No matter your age).  
For more information on our 9 threads go here – Tennis Strength and Conditioning) 


From a performance perspective, one thread that we believe needs special attention is what we call 'Repeated Effort'. Repeated Effort Training works by placing a player in a specific environment – on the court, using specific tennis movement drills and variables - intensity level, work time, rest time.  


The aim of the Repeated Effort thread is to work above the intensity level you would work at when on the court playing a match, sticking with specific time variables (Work and Rest ratio).  


We do this to condition the body specifically, we do it to also build a player’s mindset around how hard mentally they can push themselves and build confidence in their ability to recover after playing a string of tough, long, and intense points.  


It also helps make a player physically robust, toughens them up so to speak! It is super effective at ticking a few boxes.  


This repeated effort thread is specific to tennis and we do not encourage players to train this thread year-round. It should be utilized 4-5 times per year, preferably 6-8 weeks out from a major tournament swing, can be used for 2-4 weeks. It is also a great tool to use with young players to encourage them to work above their usual training intensity, this helps them realize what they can actually give physically and ultimately will help them deliver more dynamic movement on the court.  


We have incorporated the Repeated Effort thread into many of our online tennis fitness programs and we always get great feedback from people once they have completed it.  


Tennis is characterized as a Power Endurance Sport, which means to perform well you need to be able to move with short powerful bursts, typically lasting between 4sec - 15sec per point, depending on age and playing surface. Our Repeated Effort Thread Protocols target the conditioning demands needed to be able to back up point after point working at a high-intensity threshold.  


Depending on the age and physical condition of the player you should tailor the variables for a repeated effort session/training block. As a general guide, we get players to perform 1-3 tennis-specific movement drills on the court 


The work duration per repetition is between 20-30sec and the recovery duration is 20-30sec, once again dependant on the athlete’s capabilities. We get players to do 6-8 repetitions following these variables, then rest for 2-3 min and move onto the next tennis drill. The session generally runs for 30min including a warmup.  


The focus of this session is intensity and giving your all in each repetition, technically we are not too worried if things slightly break down in fact we encourage this as it is a sign the player is pushing beyond their normal training limitations.  


You will see in the video below the drills involve multi-directional movement. That is another key component of getting this thread right. Using tennis-specific movements, rather than straight (lineal) running is important from a specificity perspective.  


Doing this also makes a player have to focus on their movement patterns under fatigue, rather than just move. As you know in tennis you need to constantly be on the ball and concentrating to keep up and maintain rhythm. So, keep your repeated effort training specific in nature, not on a treadmill!  


In conclusion, if you want to improve your conditioning for tennis, rather than lineal running and going for a 5km run outside or on the treadmill. Try some of our repeated effort drills below.

To show you a few examples of how the Repeated Effort thread works, you can check out the 3 videos below.  






I hope you use this training thread throughout the year and find it effective at bringing more intensity and physical confidence into your game.  



Team Tennis Fitness