Get in shape this summer

Well now that everyone here in the U.S. has had their Memorial Day fun, it’s time to get back to the grind of the real world, and playing tennis regularly again! So one of the things that people often take for granted is the shape they’re in. How many times have you heard people say, and you may have said this yourself, “I play tennis to stay in shape…”. OK, that’s fine, but if you want to play better, you need to be in shape before you step out on the court. Heck, anything that increases your activity level, I’m going to be a proponent of. So what’s the fastest way to get in shape for tennis?

Two words: Interval Training

So what is interval training? It’s a mix of high intensity intervals (run/sprint) for a brief period of time followed by a longer period of lower intensity work (jogging). Does this sound familiar to you? As in when you may happen to be playing tennis for example?

So it happens that tennis and interval training go hand in hand. To quote Bjorn Borg, “Tennis is 1000 little sprints…”

Let’s get you started, but please heed this warning, interval training is difficult. If you have any medical conditions, or are unsure about anything before trying this, please go see your doctor. OK, now with the legal stuff out of the way, here’s a sample program:

Warmup for 5 minutes: light to moderate jogging

Start Cycle A:

1st set of intervals for 3 minutes total:
15 seconds: sprint
45 seconds: walk/jog
Repeat 3 times…

Moderate jog for 7 minutes: Keep your heart rate elevated, but to the point that you could jog for 20 minutes if you had to…

End Cycle A

Repeat Cycle A 3 times if you can for a total of 30 minutes! In reality, you may only be able to do it once or twice when first starting out, which is fine, please build up slowly if you have to.

Where can you do this workout? Well anywhere that you can jog, and/or sprint without worrying about cars, traffic, running into people etc…another good place is a tennis court. You could just sprint one length of the tennis court (or one length and half back), just make sure it’s around 15 seconds. Another great place actually is EMPTY parking lots. It’s more boring in terms of scenery, but one thing you have to note about these workouts is that time seems to be go by much faster, because you’re pushing yourself a lot harder. Trust me, it makes things more interesting!

OK, I’m going to leave you all with that. Let me know if you’d like easier variations or harder variations (do 5 minutes of intervals, 5 minutes of jogging, repeat…), but at least try it once and if it kicks your butt, then challenge yourself to do it again and see how quickly your fitness improves :)

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