When it comes to table tennis, it isn’t famous for its Greek God looking athletes such as in boxing or weightlifting; however, this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t require good muscle and fitness level by any means! Keep reading, and you will learn just that, among other things!
In this article, I will teach you what muscle groups do table tennis train, how you can improve them in the gym or at home, is table tennis physically demanding and much more! But first, what muscles do playing ping pong train?
When playing table tennis, muscles such as calf muscles, ankles, hamstrings, lower back, rotator cuffs, deltoids, triceps, and biceps are trained the most, even when the whole body really is active during an intense game. The wrist is also a big part of table tennis and should always be taken care of.
As we can see, table tennis is far from an inactive sport because it really uses a lot of muscles which need to be kept in good shape if you want to perform well. This brings us to the next subject of this article: How you can train these muscles and keep them in good shape. Below you can see the most used muscles in table tennis and how to train them. Let’s get started!
- How can table tennis athletes train physically
- What type of physical activity is table tennis
- Do table tennis players work out
- What is the importance of having good footwork in table tennis
- Are table tennis players strong
- Is table tennis physically demanding
- My Favorite Table Tennis Equipment
How can table tennis athletes train physically
Legs, core, shoulders, and arms are the ones table tennis players use the most, so that’s where we will focus as well. Also, stretching is super important, so I have included a great set of stretches fit for a table tennis athlete. Let’s begin with leg training.
As humans, we use our legs constantly, and there is no exception in table tennis. Calf muscles Gastrocnemius and Soleus are constantly used when you move side to side and keep yourself moving. Also, the front thigh Quadriceps, and back thigh Hamstrings are needed the same. This is why keeping these muscles in shape is important, and there are various ways to do so.
To keep your legs trained and fit for intense table tennis matches, running or even playing table tennis will activate and nourish them with movement, so they are kept in good shape. For extra fitness, you can train these muscles in the gym.
Below you can find a great leg workout without weights for great endurance, which is exactly what you need behind a table tennis table.
You will do a slight rotating movement every strike you do in table tennis, and your core needs to support that well. Abdominals, Diaphragm, Obliques, Lower Back, Lower Lats, and really all core muscles are needed for powerful strikes in table tennis.
I highly suggest that you put a lot of focus on your core strength because if you play much table tennis and your core isn’t in good enough shape, you can be more vulnerable to injuries and lower back pain.
Core training such as the one below will keep your core in good shape even if you do it only a couple of times a week. For example, I go to the gym 3 times a week and do similar core sessions at the end of each workout, and it has worked wonderfully for me.
Rotator cuffs, Shoulder Joints, and Deltoids are a vital part of table tennis. Shoulder muscles have a large range of motion which is good. However, this makes them more prone to injury. This is why I highly suggest that you don’t take a tight grip of your paddle because it drastically affects the shoulder, and when it is tightened too much when rotated and moved to an unexpected way, it will cause pain sooner or later.
The best way to train shoulders and deltoids for table tennis is to use resistance bands or working out at the gym. At least these are my personal favorites with the most results. It’s good to mix things up and do more reps with lighter weights or with resistance bands and sometimes using heavy weights and fewer reps. When I do high rep training, the range is between 12-15 reps, and with heavyweight training, I prefer 5-8 reps.
Naturally, Biceps and Triceps are well in use when using hands, especially in your racket hand. Also, Wrists are in heavy use all the time, and as we all know, wrists aren’t the strongest part of our body, so it’s important to train them. Even though wrists are trained every time you hold weights, I like to add a short wrist training now and then.
For bicep and tricep training, I prefer mostly heavyweights at the gym for strength, but I do like to do endurance training with more reps and lesser weight sometimes. I do biceps when I have a pull day in the gym, whereas I do triceps when I have a push day. This keeps a good balance between the muscles with consistent training. For wrists, I like to do wrist curls with light weights, wrist rotation with a resistance band, use a hand grip strengthener, and stretch them well!
Talking about stretches, this brings us to our next subject but before that, check out the video below about how to do proper wrist curls.
Stretching is something that anyone shouldn’t ignore, especially athletes. This is because muscles will tighten up, and if they are never stretched, you will be a stiff specimen with difficulties moving as you should. In this article, I’m talking about table tennis muscles, but all muscles should be stretched. That’s why I try to squeeze a full-body stretch every morning, and usually, I do. Also, after a gym or table tennis session, I like to do a stretching session that I highly recommend.
Personally, I do the full body stretch that you can find from the video below. It really stretches all the essential and big muscles, and as a bonus perk, it doesn’t take a lot of time.
What type of physical activity is table tennis
Table tennis is categorized as an aerobic activity. This is because the speed and tempo are so high, which will get your heartbeat quickly rising and blood flowing. In addition, table tennis doesn’t include heavyweight, so it’s purely aerobic. Table tennis is a fast physical sport that requires speed, focus, quick reaction times, and rhythm.
Do table tennis players work out
In most cases, table tennis players do work out. However, table tennis doesn’t require powerlifting or extreme endurance training like marathon runners. Nonetheless, a good level of fitness, strong core strength, and flexible muscles are more than beneficial, which is why table tennis players work out.
What is the importance of having good footwork in table tennis
Good footwork is one of the most important skills in table tennis. When you have great footwork skills, you can reach the ball faster, which will give you more options with the ball, such as more powerful strikes, more spin, better accuracy, and harder times for your opponent.
Learn more: 7 Best Table Tennis Shoes (The Complete Guide)
Are table tennis players strong
Generally, table tennis players are strong, especially from their arms and core. Strenght in these areas is important if the player wants to do powerful strikes. Often, table tennis player’s legs are weaker when compared to other areas of their bodies because they don’t require such strength on the legs as in the shoulders, core, and arms.
Is table tennis physically demanding
Table tennis requires endurance, decent fitness and muscle strength, and fast reaction times and footwork. Therefore table tennis is physically demanding if played seriously. However, you can play table tennis casually, which doesn’t require good physical endurance or strength.
My Favorite Table Tennis Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Here you can find my preferred table tennis equipment that I believe you could benefit too!
- Racket: My favorite racket choice is the beautiful Killerspin Jet800 because it fits my offensive and speed-focused playstyle. The two carbon layers, 2.1mm sponge, and 190g weight makes this racket powerful.
- Ping Pong Balls: New technology and design have made the JOOLA Flash Seamless 3-Star Balls stand out from the other balls. These balls are seamless, meaning they are more durable than any ball with a seam! Even when these balls come at a higher price, they will pay themselves quickly. As a bonus, the design makes me excited!
- Table Tennis shoes: The famous Butterfly Lezoline Rifones is my choice as it is for many others because they are designed specifically for table tennis standards. I like the excellent support, comfortable cushioning, and lightweight sole with great traction, which gets you exploding fast to whatever direction you need to.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.
There clearly are certain muscles on our bodies that are used in table tennis more than others. Legs, core, shoulders, and arms need to be at least at a decent level physically if you want to play table tennis seriously. Stretching is something that you shouldn’t forget or neglect because when you are flexible, you can reach your opponent’s strikes much better.