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Tip of the Week: Cardio

Tennis is an activity that can last several hours and good endurance is very important to perform well. During tournaments, club or professional players have matches every day and a good stamina will allow them to recover faster and better between matches. A good general level of endurance is then required for tennis players and this can be improved by jogging, cycling or swimming. This will work the aerobic capacity of a tennis player and these kind of workouts should be done for at least 20 minutes or longer. A good aerobic capacity will allow player to recover better between matches and practice sessions, but is not specific to the activity (tennis) and more training should be done to really enhance the on-court performance.

Once a player starts to develop good endurance it is important to be more specific to the activity. Tennis requires a good aerobic capacity but anaerobic capacity is even more important. A good anaerobic capacity allows athletes to repeat short and intense efforts throughout a full match or practice. In tennis, an average point lasts around 8 seconds and players have 25 seconds of rest between each point. Cardio training for tennis should then target this scenario as much as possible.

Interval training will help players to increase their anaerobic capacity and specific endurance. Basic running or biking can be done with the following intervals: 20 seconds very intense followed by 20 seconds of rest. This should be done for 10-15 minutes. The most specific will be to do a very intense effort for less than 10 seconds and to rest for 25 seconds for 10-15 minutes. Both of these kinds of workouts should be done regularly. Interval training is a great way to improve a tennis specific endurance and this should be done on a weekly basis. Basic aerobic training (like running 20 minutes in length) should be used at the beginning of getting back into shape and then occasionally. Interval training with shorts and intense bursts will be a lot more specific and helpful. If players work hard to improve their anaerobic capacity it will be a lot easier to keep a high intensity all the way to the end of the match. The best way is to use running motions, but all intervals can be done on a bike or even in the pool if the player has some lower body injuries.

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