Rivard: Bigger, better tennis? – Tennis Canada

Tennis has changed a lot in the past three or four decades. 

Players today hit harder than ever, and they have their strength trainers to thank. 

Maria Sakkari of Greece and Marton Fucsovics of Hungary (pictured above) are among the most muscular athletes on the tours and perhaps the most representative of the new generation of players who are more focused on tra…….

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Tennis has changed a lot in the past three or four decades. 

Players today hit harder than ever, and they have their strength trainers to thank. 

Maria Sakkari of Greece and Marton Fucsovics of Hungary (pictured above) are among the most muscular athletes on the tours and perhaps the most representative of the new generation of players who are more focused on training than their predecessors.  

Some pros carry a little less muscle, while a majority look a lot like the players who competed in the 70s, 80s and 90s.   

So, how important is a ripped physique in tennis?  

For an informed response, I turned to a professional: Virginie Tremblay, kinesiologist and strength and conditioning coach at Tennis Canada’s National Training Centre.   

She works with athletes at the Centre and at tournaments around the world. On the day I met her at the gym, she was working with Kayla Cross and Mia Kupres, two of Canada’s most promising juniors, just before they jetted off to Turkey to compete. 

Virginie Tremblay and Kayla Cross 

Strength, yes. Flexibility, yes.

First, what do fitness coaches do? In tennis, their job is to make sure athletes are physically prepared to expend the energy required to compete in an increasingly demanding sport and help prevent injury. Beyond the exercises focused on aerobics, speed, agility, mobility, flexibility and coordination, there is necessarily muscle training to build strength, power and endurance.

“Over the years, tennis has become more and more physical. The game is faster, the shots are harder, the footwork is quicker and more explosive and there’s a huge amount of repetition. There are also accelerations and changes in direction,” explained Virginie.  

“So, it’s much more physically demanding, and strength training has become critical. Not only does it enhance a number of physical qualities, including power and speed, it helps prevent injury. And it’s just as important and relevant for men and women of all ages.”  

The good and the bad 

There are different types of strength training: maximum strength, speed strength, explosive strength, endurance strength and more. It’s not something you do every day, and it’s important for athletes to mix things up with cardio and sessions to perfect aspects like speed, agility, mobility, flexibility and proprioception. And don’t forget: all athletes are different and have their own needs and goals.  

But, before we go any further, what’s proprioception?

“It’s the ability to sense your body and your limbs in space, like balance and stability. We can work on single-leg exercises on a stable or unstable surface, with eyes closed or open, on a Swiss or Bosu ball, etc. It’s a really important part of training for athletes owing to the different surfaces and body postures …….

Source: https://www.tenniscanada.com/news/rivard-bigger-better-tennis/

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