Editor's Picks Fitness

Ideal Tennis Player Body: A Lean Mean Machine

Developing the ideal tennis player body is very important because it directly impacts the athlete’s performance; knowing what to strive for may impact your training priorities.

Sports Action Shots by Phil Halfmann
by Phil Halfmann | © all rights reserved

Generally speaking a tennis player should have powerful and well-developed legs, a strong core and a lean upper-body because powerful and well-developed legs allow for a solid base of support and a lowered center of gravity, which improves the athlete’s dynamic stability, agility, kinetic chain efficiency as well as accuracy and power during stroke production.

A strong core is desirable for any tennis player because of its importance during stroke production.

Sports Action Shots by Phil Halfmann
by Phil Halfmann | © all rights reserved

The upper-body should be strong yet lean to ensure a fluid motion during stroke production – too much muscle mass can impede upon range of motion, power and destroy the athlete’s “feel for the ball”.

This trend becomes evident: Djokovic, Federer, Murray and Raonic changed their diet and training to become lighter & leaner overall and it was beneficial for their respective styles of play!

Sports Action Shots by Phil Halfmann
by Phil Halfmann | © all rights reserved

The concept basically is that tennis is a running game where excess weight, be it muscle or fat mass, impedes upon your movement and change of direction capabilities.

Interestingly enough, even though excess weight may slow players down it can improve dynamic stabilization when the center of gravity is lowered within the base of support, which is the case for example with pregnant women.

Sports Action Shots by Phil Halfmann
by Phil Halfmann | © all rights reserved

This may be an explanation for why female tennis players can have excess fat on the thigh and buttocks area yet play tennis very successfully.

The same principle doesn’t apply for male athletes since they tend to store excess body fat above the center of gravity (e.g. belly & love handle) and hence causing a decrease in performance.

Sports Action Shots by Phil Halfmann
by Phil Halfmann | © all rights reserved

In other words, there is a trade-off: on the one hand excess weight may slow the player down but on the other hand enhanced dynamic stability has a positive effect on stroke production accuracy and agility.

The body as a whole should be well balanced with regards to flexibility and strength because that allows us to optimize energy transfer and power while minimizing the risk for injuries.

What Dictates Desirable Body Composition?

One major component that influences desirable body composition is the style of play of the athlete (e.g. baseliner, serve-and-volley, etc.) because it influences movement patterns and energy system contributions.

 

 

Credits

Photographer: Phil Halfmann ⠀
Creative & Art Director: Sophia Lenore
Lead Hair & Makeup: Sophia Lenore 
Lead Wardrobe Stylist: Sophia Lenore
Wardrobe Stylist: Yui Iida⠀
Makeup Artist: Guerdy Casimir⠀
Hair Stylist: Besie Jide-Pedro⠀
Photography Assistant: Florencia Babese & Amir Sadeghi⠀

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