While all professional sportspeople have seen their livelihoods affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns around the world, it was especially tricky for tennis players to stay in shape while stuck at home, unless they happened to have a court and hitting partner at home with them.
Together with his strength and conditioning coach Claire McDonald, grand slam title winner and Paralympic gold medallist Gordon Reid created a training programme based on what was available to him during lockdown. That meant lots of circuit and strength sessions, plus a flexibility routine, so that when the time came to return to the court Reid was ready for action.
Ahead of competing at the French Open this week, Reid shared one of his outdoor circuits that you can use whether you’re looking to get in shape for tennis or just looking to get in shape full stop. You’ll need a gym ball, dumbbells, barbell, resistance bands, medicine ball, slam ball and a suspension trainer for the session. Reid suggests doing four rounds of the circuit to truly test yourself.
1 Serve action with resistance band
Attach a resistance band to a pole behind your head. Hold the band and simulate the motion of an overhead tennis serve.
2 Barbell twist
Reps 10 Weight 8kg
Rest the bar on your shoulders behind your neck. Keeping your core engaged, slowly rotate your torso from side to side.
3 Side bend
Reps 10 each side Weight 12.5kg
Sit up straight, with your hips and shoulders square. Holding dumbbells, bend your torso from side to side.
4 Dip with legs elevated
Hold a bench behind you with your hands shoulder-width apart. Raise your legs so your feet rest on a gym ball. Bend at your elbows to lower your hips towards the ground and then extend your arms to return to the starting position.
5 Seated dumbbell single-arm overhead press
Reps 10 each side Weight 12.5kg
Hold two dumbbells by your shoulders. Press one dumbbell straight up until your arm is extended, then lower it back to your shoulder and repeat on the other arm.
Reps 10 each side Weight 9kg
Lie back on a bench with your head, shoulders and hips in contact with the bench. Hold dumbbells above your chest with arms extended, then lower them out to the sides until you feel the stretch in your chest. Raise them back to the starting position. Keep your elbows slightly bent throughout the movement.
7 Single-arm medicine ball slam
Reps 10 each side Weight 2kg
Holding a 2kg medicine ball in one hand, extend your arm vertically in line with your shoulder and explosively slam the ball across your torso to the ground.
Hold the handles and keep your arms extended as you lower your body into a rigid position under the TRX handles. Pull your body up, then lower slowly back to your starting position.
9 Seated row
Attach the resistance bands to a sturdy object and row both arms back while keeping your torso stationary.
Start in a high plank position with your arms extended, hands under your shoulders and torso rigid. Lower to the ground and push back up, keeping your movements controlled. If you have a weighted vest or similar, Reid suggests adding 15kg.
11 Slam ball slam
Reps 10 reps Weight 9kg
Holding a slam ball in two hands, lift it vertically, extending both arms in line with your shoulders, then forcefully slam the ball into the ground.
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12 Dumbbell wrist curl
Reps 10 Weight 9kg
Place your forearms on a bench with your palms up and your elbows shoulder-width apart. Allow the dumbbell to roll into your fingers as your wrist extends. Then flex your fingers followed by your wrist to perform one curl.
13 Reverse dumbbell wrist curl
Reps 10 Weight 4kg
Reverse your arm position on the bench so your palms are facing down. Curl the dumbbell up from your wrist joint.
14 Dumbbell circles
Reps 10 each direction Weight 2kg
Extend your arms outwards at shoulder height holding the dumbbells with your palms facing down. Start to draw small circles with the dumbbells.
Reps 10 Weight 10kg
Lie back on a bench with your arms extended towards the ceiling, and your legs in tabletop position with knees bent at 90°. Engage your core, then lower your arms, and lower and extend your legs simultaneously until all four limbs are just above the floor. Return to the start under control. Keep your spine in a neutral position throughout.
Reps 10 reps Weight 10kg
Hold a weight in front of your chest and lean your torso back to engage your core muscles. Maintain the position as you gently rotate your torso from side to side.
Place your feet on the gym ball with your knees bent and lift your hips until your thighs form a straight line with your torso. Extend your legs to push the ball away from you with your feet, then use your hamstrings to reverse the movement to the start.
Reps 10 reps
With your knees on the floor, rest your forearms on the ball. Engage your core and glutes and roll the ball back and forth.
Gordon Reid is supported by the LTA Wheelchair Tennis World Class Programme. You can find out more about how to get involved with disability tennis through the LTA Open Court Programme. To keep up with Gordon and the rest of the British players competing at Roland Garros this week, follow the LTA on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.