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Cardio questions – advice on how to fit it in around tennis training

Cardio questions – advice on how to fit it in around tennis training

A common question from players I get is ‘can I still do cardio or running?’ Often players complete a huge amount of training during the week – on-court and in the gym and then – off-plan – they also go out and knock out 5k or 10k runs at the weekend with family or friends. And, with summer holidays now in full swing and training programmes less rigid, it is important to bear in mind any social activity that may impact training loads.

Whether it’s because players enjoy running or whether they feel like they still have to factor in cardio training in their fitness, it’s important that players, parents and coaches are up front and on the same page when it comes to their physical training and some boundaries are set – at the very least to ensure there are no overuse injuries to hamper a player’s season.

Common injuries we see in players from over-training and running include knee pain, and sore heels, and usually require a few weeks to resolve. So, without proper communication, you can see how running long distances can quickly impact a player’s training schedule.

Personally, I believe cardio still has a place within physical training for tennis, but I would only recommend including it in training plans for those aged 12+ and it be integrated into specific programming – for example, 2 short runs per week of no longer than 30 mins, on lighter days with no other physical or hitting sessions. In younger players (age under 10), it is important that parents and coaches are aware of how their bodies are growing and are impacted by such exertion. They are at a key development stage and we have to look out for growth related issues. So rather than running, look at different ways of incorporating a low impact cardio workout, such as playing other sports and bike rides.

My top do’s and don’t’s are:

• Do talk to your physical trainer about how much cardio you do off-plan

• Do work it into a training block if it is important for the well-being of the player

• Don’t complete strenuous cardio 2-3 days before a tournament or the same day as you’ve completed physical training and hitting

• Don’t over-train – be gentle with growing bodies

Within our Tennis SuperMovers programme you still get your pulse raised and a cardio hit. Our drills cover all the qualities needed for on-court success, such as acceleration and change of direction. It can be incorporated into any junior tennis player’s physical programming and everyone can be confident that all bases are being covered. Click here to find out more about the programme and our membership offers.

Next, check out why High Performance = Habits 

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