Want to work your core, legs, butt, upper back, chest, arms and heart all in one sweaty swing? Pick up a racket and get to work! Tennis isn't for the faint of heart. Despite the sport's trending cute fashions, like tennis skirts and "tennis" bracelets, there's not much room for pretty. When you walk onto the court, you better be all business!
Backhand those calories with 30 to 60 minutes of dedicated play. Depending on how much intensity you put into it, you can burn up 600 calories an hour. That's it — where do you sign up?! You're sprinting in all directions and making quick, powerful movements, which activate the fast twitch muscle fibers, burning up carbs and calories like rapid-fire.
Sideline belly fat by getting into a good position that will force you to use your core, especially the obliques, with every swing. The explosive power behind your swings makes one shot feel like you just did 50 crunches. But you'll never catch a tennis player messing around with crunches! (via Ask Men)
Serve up some healthy cardio for your heart by getting a solid 30 minutes of tennis in two to three times a week. Playing tennis can reduce your blood pressure and stress level, two of the highest risk factors contributing to heart disease.
No rest for rhythm of the game. Even though you just lobbed the ball over the net to your opponent, you can't stand still — you don't get a break. You have to keep your feet moving if you need to, and focus on a good stance with activated muscles. This contributes to the overall caloric burn and adds to your performance. Timing is everything!
GAME TIME PREP
Strengthen your body off the court by using simple resistance band exercises, functional core training and plyometric lower body work. Take a look of some tennis-approved exercises:
Woodchopper with Band: Stand with the feet shoulder-width apart and step on the band with one foot. Grab the handle with both hands and cross them in front of one hip. Exhale and pull up to the opposite side, making a diagonal path as you slightly rotate the torso. Inhale and reverse the path. Repeat for several reps (try 20) before switching sides.
Plank Knee Twist: Suspension training (when you act like a bridge) is crucial to strong core development. Get into your high plank with the hands a little wider than the shoulders and your feet together, pressing back in the heels. Round the shoulder blades and pull one knee under the chest to the opposite elbow. This rotation is slight and requires the core to stabilize and maintain a squareness to the floor. Go at a good pace for 60 seconds, rest for 30 seconds and repeat up to five times.
Jumping Lunges: Any time you add jumps to an exercise, you're boosting your heart rate, activating different muscle fibers and burning more calories. Train and condition your muscles for the quick, reaction-based movements in tennis. The lunge begins with both legs in a 90-degree bend, then exploding out of the bottom, switching the legs in the air and landing into the next lunge. Use your core and arms to propel you. Try doing these in a ladder (10 jumping lunges, 10 stepping lunges, eight jumping lunges, eight stepping lunges, until you get to two and two).