Top professional tennis players are widely regarded to be among the fittest athletes in the world. This won’t surprise avid players who recognise that playing the sport at a high level requires equal measures of stamina, strength, flexibility and coordination. Sounds like a galling feat to accomplish if you have a busy schedule and work full-time, doesn’t it? Fear not! We have put together a list of ideal group exercise classes that will improve your fitness in ways that will pay off on the court. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your 24 hour bag and give these workouts a go!
We know what you’re thinking: boxing classes are a touch off-piste for people that are passionate about a country club sport. Fair enough, but a modern take on ‘boxercise’ is such a comprehensive workout that we highly recommend you give it a shot. The current incarnation of boxing classes by the likes of Kobox include punching heavy bags in variable combinations, resistance training, bodyweight exercises and high intensity interval training (HIIT). Akin to proper tennis technique, the power in throwing punches actually comes from your legs and core - not swinging your arms in isolation. Also relevant to tennis, boxers need to be light on their feet and move with agility. This combined with body weight exercises like planking, burpees and squat jumps provides a full-body workout with loads of applicability to our favourite sport. Added bonus: it gets top marks for stress relief!
TRX class can seem daunting but the myriad of benefits for tennis players make it worth adding to your routine. There are three main reasons: first, all of the exercises require core engagement. You simply can’t execute the movements without focusing on your mid-section. This is ideal for tennis players as consistent technique and power stem from considerable core strength. Second, all exercises require balance. Tennis players are always fighting a battle to keep their dominant side from getting so strong that misalignment (and ultimately injury) occurs. So although pistol squats leave you cursing under your breath in the moment, you will certainly see improvements in your lateral movement and ability to quickly change directions over time. Third, HIIT sequences always find their way into TRX class. It’s inevitable. As tough as alternating squat jumps and mountain climbers are in the moment, training your body to excel when you need to move with agility in short bursts will be a godsend on the court. If you’re London-based, head to Core Collective for a Resistance class and be prepared for a little stiffness in the afterfact !
We would be remiss if we didn’t include a variant of circuit training on this list. The variety of exercises included in classes within this category results in a full body workout even if the process can be grueling. Our current favourite is Velocity at Core Collective. The format of the class entails a HIIT-based warm up including a raft of exercises like high knees, burpees, star jumps and smurf squats (yes, this is a thing) before moving onto a series of exercises that can include kettle bells, prowler pushing, rowing machines and platform jumps. An interlude of ab work follows and then the circuit (take two) kicks off. The tennis applicability comes from full body strength exercises, both short and medium term cardio training and ample focus on the core muscles. It’s a full-on 45 minutes but well worth the endorphins generated in the aftermath.
If you’re passionate about tennis you have to have a certain amount of appreciation for technical proficiency in sports. The difference between a decent tennis player and exemplary one is largely down to technical excellence versus raw talent. If you’re in the camp that is always tweaking your strokes, pilates will appeal to you. It blends strength training with flexibility enhancement and engages small muscle groups that are often overshadowed by conventional exercise (think rotator cuff). However, the compound movements only work with immaculate posture and positioning. If you don’t mind the odd (OK - frequent) correction and relish honing a new skill set, pilates is worth a try. If you’re a Londoner, Bootcamp Pilates gets our recommendation.
When coping with over-subscribed diaries, efficient use of time when exercising is a must. The masterminds behind Heartcore’s classes understood this and created Ride2Tone which combines 30 minutes of high intensity spin class with 30 min of power yoga. The aim of the class is to improve functional strength, balance, all-round athleticism and mental wellbeing. Spin class was a contender for this list for its obvious cardiovascular training benefits as was yoga, which is valuable from a flexibility, core strength and mindfulness point of view. So, creating this mashup was almost tailor-made for tennis players. Kudos Heartcore!
What are your favourite ways of exercising off the court to benefit your tennis fitness? Let us know in the comments section below.