A fit tennis player needs to have a strong, explosive and well-coordinated body with great stamina and flexibility.
If there is one exercise that can achieve all of this, it is the burpee.
It works your cardiovascular system and almost all of the major muscle groups in the body, including the legs, core, chest, shoulders, and arms. It is a popular exercise in military, martial arts and in almost all sports as an excellent conditioning exercise.
You may be familiar with the exercise because you have done it in elementary school. Maybe you strongly dislike it still… after all, burpees are hard. They make you sweat and breathe hard. They make your legs burn and your chest and shoulders ache.
However, they are great for you and your tennis conditioning.
How to Do the Burpee
1. From a standing position sink down into a deep squat with your glutes on your calves and put your hands on the ground in front of you.
2. Transfer your body weight on your arms and jump back with both feet simultaneously. If this is too hard for you, you can step with one leg first, then with the other.
3. Keep your body perfectly straight in a plank position, engage your core and do not let your hips sink.
4. Perform one deep push-up and jump (or walk) with your both feet forward close to your hands, keeping your glutes low, almost touching your heels. The more flexible you become, the easier your body folds into this position. If you cannot do it immediately, don’t despair. Keep working on it and soon you will.
5. Leap up as high as possible and land in the squat position again, softly and quietly, resisting with your thigh muscles in a controlled movement. Be smooth and light on your feet like a panther. Strive for a maximum height in each jump and the lowest possible position in the push-up while keeping your core contracted.
Perform 15 to 20 repetitions.
A few minutes of burpees will quickly convince you of their effectiveness and that your own body weight provides plenty of resistance. In fact, the majority of exercises with your own body weight are the hardest ones.
To add variety or intensity to your burpees, jump forward instead of jumping straight up; open your legs during the jump; perform the push-ups on one hand only; or do a double push-up or a double-jump. There are many possibilities to your burpees—only your creativity sets the limits.
You can use burpees as a warm-up before your tennis practice—a few sets of burpees will raise your heart rate and body temperature, and it will help make your body ready to perform.
Learn how to love the burpees and perform them often—they’ll help develop your strength, explosive power, and anaerobic endurance. They will also condition your entire body, which will improve your tennis game.