When the subject is athletes and the different body types found in different sports, they will vary drastically. For some, you need huge masses of muscle, whereas others like tennis, it isn’t found nearly as often when we look at the athletes. Why aren’t tennis players muscular?
Generally, tennis players aren’t muscular because they don’t need to be. Tennis requires agility, endurance, and flexibility, which heavy muscle mass would complicate. Tennis players do train muscles, but the training is more targeted to muscles needed for tennis.
When you think about that, it all makes sense. When we compare tennis players to NFL players, they probably aren’t faster than the greek god-looking football players.
However, tennis players will rather focus their training on playing tennis that actually improves their goals than working so hard at the gym, which is required for the NFL players to meet their specific goals.
That kind of speed isn’t required in tennis, and the training time needed for achieving the physique of an NFL player isn’t needed in tennis.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the 5 core reasons why tennis players aren’t often muscular so you can get a better understanding of it all. Let’s start with targeted training.
- 1. Targeted training
- 2. Better endurance
- 3. Skinny makes fast
- 4. More flexibility
- 5. Training time is focused elsewhere
- Does muscle matter tennis?
- Can you build muscle playing tennis?
- Do tennis players lift heavy?
- What are the best exercises for tennis players?
- Why are tennis players so skinny?
- My Favorite Tennis Equipment
1. Targeted training
Tennis players don’t work out to get a sculpted bodybuilder body. They work to get power to their strokes, speed to their footwork, and endurance to their muscles and overall fitness level.
This doesn’t include low reps with as heavyweight as you can do as I personally like to do but lifting weight is a hobby of mine like tennis is sometimes. Nonetheless, if you’re taking tennis seriously, you should do the opposite in most cases: multiple reps with medium weights.
This will increase endurance as crazy, and strength will obviously follow as well. There are many workouts that tennis players do to focus that improvement into an area that is needed in tennis. That often doesn’t include weighted pull-ups. Below you can see some great examples and videos by clicking the names:
- Lunges – Lunges are a great way to increase muscle mass and build strenght on your core, abs, butt, and legs. Your posture and range of motion will be improved as a result as well.
- Hip thrusts – This is a great exercise for glutes and hamstrings. Core, and quads will also be strenghtened.
- Cossack squats – Amazing exercise for many things such as quads, hamstrings, glutes, hip adductors, core, and lower back. A great addition is that it will strenghten and stretch joints and tissues!
- Resistance band training – Resistance band training is amazing because you can do so many things with it and target anythng you want. My favorite resistance band set is great for tennis training as well.
- Interval training – For of running where you do intense short running bursts while running. This will improve your aerobic capacity, drasticly increase your endurace, and burn more calories. This is a great exercise becasue you can do it anywhere without equipment.
There are many more exercises and things you can do to improve your tennis game, but you get the point. Tennis training is more about improving on the things that matter for tennis which isn’t getting the maximum amount of muscles even tho muscle mass is obviously required.
2. Better endurance
Another thing why tennis players aren’t often so muscular is endurance. Let’s take an example.
If there are two athletes, and one of them weighs 165lbss (75kg) and the other 220lbs (100kg), they are both athletic. The chances are that the lighter person is much more capable of enduring well a heated tennis match, whereas the one that is packing a ton of muscle would be a hard time to endure because of the 25% weight difference.
This is, of course, a case-by-case basis, but in general, that’s the case, and that’s why there aren’t many tennis players that weigh 220lbs.
3. Skinny makes fast
If you know the Marvel character Flash, Dylan O’Brien from The Maze Runner, or the fast kid from The Incredibles, they all seem to have something in common. They are all skilly and extremely fast.
This is the case in tennis as well, and the lack of large muscle mass on the athletes. In general, an athletic body with a decent muscle mass in the right places is very agile and fast, whereas the body of a powerlifter is stronger than fast.
This is why tennis players focus on interval training, running, targeted muscle training, and activities that make you fast instead of muscular.
4. More flexibility
The thing is with flexibility that slim people are often more flexible than muscular people. In tennis, there will get so so many hard balls that you need to reach to and that requires great flexibility.
With a huge muscle mass, that becomes more difficult because it’s harder to bend into the needed positions and more muscles have more mass that needs to be stretched.
Also, tennis players dedicate a great amount of time to stretching, so that’s time away from building muscle, etc. Being flexible in tennis is far more important than being muscular.
5. Training time is focused elsewhere
When we look at the 4 reasons above, it’s clear that all of the exercises take a lot of time. That is time focused on the required things for tennis and time off of working out at the gym and getting that muscle mass.
However, tennis players are far stronger than they seem because they have targeted muscles that aren’t the core muscles but more of the supporting ones. This gives a lot of endurance and power, so don’t underestimate the strength of tennis players.
Does muscle matter tennis?
Muscles are highly important in tennis, even tho tennis players often don’t look like bodybuilders. Tennis players have highly targeted training routines that target not only muscles but also joints and supporting tissues. This is why tennis players look quite skinny but are relatively strong.
Can you build muscle playing tennis?
Tennis is a sport that works on all your muscles from legs to shoulders. Depending on your current physique, beginners with little athletic background can build muscle by playing tennis. However, if you already have a great muscular physique, your muscles won’t necessarily grow larger.
Do tennis players lift heavy?
Tennis players often look skinny but they out at the gym lifting weights to improve and support the optimal muscles needed for tennis. However, tennis players often lift weights to get better in endurance, not for muscle growth. Thus, they often lift lighter weights with many repetitions, not heavy.
What are the best exercises for tennis players?
There are many exercises that tennis players should do to improve their performance on the court. However, these are the best ones for me and other tennis players I know.
- For endurance: Interval training, Cardio, and Tennis!
- For strenght: Key lifts are Bench Press, Lateral Lunges, External & Internal Rotations, and Goblet Squats.
- For flexibility: Tennis Elbow Stretches, Cross Shoulder Stretch, Achilles Stretch, Chest Stretches.
Why are tennis players so skinny?
Tennis players are skinny because it allows them to have better endurance, faster movement, and a more flexible body. A muscular body isn’t needed for tennis, and training for muscle growth would take time off of more important exercises such as interval, resistance band, and targeted lifting training.
My Favorite Tennis Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Below you’ll find my top tennis equipment recommendations would like.
- Racket: My preferred tennis racket is the Wilson Ultra 100 V3. This racket is made from graphite and carbon fiber, making it durable, firm, and easy to swing. The racket weighs 300g, making it lightweight yet not too lightweight to generate power. The racket’s main benefit is power. I like to add multifilament strings to the racket, such as Wilson NXT Soft 16 (recommended tension 52lb/23.5kg), because they are comfortable and soft on the arm with a great feel to the game.
- Tennis balls: Best tennis balls are always pressurized, and I like them having extra-duty felt, which is fit for hard court play. I like Penn Championship Tennis Balls, and so does the ITF because these balls are approved for competitive play. So yes, these are the real deal.
- Tennis shoes: I can’t stress enough the importance of comfortable and supporting shoes. ASICS Gel-Resolution 8 tennis shoes are unique because the balance between durability and support mixed with comfort is something out of the ordinary.
- 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.