Improving my tennis fitness

I play competitive tennis through the summer, and cycle for fun. In the winter, I’m on the bike trainer about 4 hours/week. Over the last few years, I have noticed real improvements in my endurance but I have (unsurprisingly) not really improved my tennis fitness. Tennis requires a lot of sprinting, ie anerobic fitness.
I just finished the base phase (SST, low volume) and am moving on to the build phase.
I’m looking for advice as to which build and specialized plan to pick to (hopefully) improve my tolerance for tennis sprints. Recognizing it is not the same sport, and there will be imperfect crossover.

I don’t think you don’t really need to increase strength for tennis. Explosiveness and endurance are more important. I do a core workout using a medicine ball. Increases power and explosiveness. It’s made a big difference to my acceleration and speed around the court. When you change direction in tennis, you should be bending forward significantly, and it’s surprising how much of your torso you use to do this.

The basis of explosiveness is strength. Increasing strength allows the athlete to apply more force and then you can work on moves that focus on applying that force over a short amount of time. It can also be key in ensuring against injury when doing explosive moves over and over again.

You don’t have to lift super heavy to increase strength, but it’s going to be hard to be more explosive if you can’t improve strength to create more force.

Do you have any indoor space where you could practice sprints and footwork over the winter? You wouldn’t even need a full tennis court.

I also have seen the overall improvement in endurance and fitness from cycling on the tennis court, but you could probably benefit more by doing sprints and footwork drills since most your work in cycling is done in a singular plane, whereas the foot work for changing directions in tennis is a different pattern.

These some of these footwork drills can be done between cones 6 to 10 feet apart:

This 4 cone drill is one of my favorites and can be done in a small gym or even your driveway and works moving sides to side, sprinting forwards, back pedaling and works short adjustment steps.

Try out general build low volume and then sustained power build. Don’t let the cycling impact your tennis performance but I’m not your coach. I would suggest if you feel too tired for the 1 of 3 TrainerRoad workouts, just swap out an endurance ride. Listen and be honest to your body.

Great advice!

I will definitely try to do more core work and the footwork / sprint stuff. I guess my question was more, when choosing AMONG the various TrainerRoad cycling training plans, which would be most appropriate?

I played a lot of tennis this last year. I already had great endurance, riding 8+ hours a week. I credit a lot of functional fitness work to helping me play tennis almost every day on top of the cycling. I’m talking a little yoga stretching, core work, a little upper body work with dumbbells, and then squats, step ups, and walking lunges with dumbbells for the lower body.

I’d also guess that a little big of running would help with tennis fitness.

Doing 15/15s and 30/30s would be the closest to what tennis demands… but just go do cone and ladder drills in a field would be better.

1 Like

Which plan? That’s tough as the demands are different. Maybe look at the Crit or Short Track plans? Maybe the shorter sprint workouts or 30/30’s as @ErickVH suggested.

I’m doing Rolling Road Race and it builds a good endurance base then hits Vo2 intervals, 30/30’s etc in power build and specialty phases.

I’d look at cycling more as the general conditioning, but more the specific conditioning should be done on foot to match the demands of tennis.

As former washed up high school tennis player who decided against playing in college since I wasn’t good enough for D1, I’d suggest

  1. Half Distance Tri Base (both running and cycling, but skip the swims)
  2. Criterium
  3. HIT Maintenance

Yes, this skips build. If you wanted to put together a 3-4 week proper VO2max block after base, it would be ideal, but it’s hard to do it right and still manage the recovery.