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Fit to Fly

“Weak legs command, strong legs obey” words spoken by Gil Reyes foremost conditioning coach of tennis athletes in the world, Weak legs, once the tire will command the body to stop competing, you won’t get to balls you need to get to. Your ability to compete is greatly diminished, with strong legs you will be able to, in times of need, be able to find that extra gear to not only get to balls but be able to do things with them you might not have been able to before.

Listen to Gil was like a watching a master class on training tennis players, his training and my training modalities are very similar, which give credence to the old adage, great minds think alike. Without creating the foundation on which athletes are built things can go awry very quickly, I am a big proponent of focusing on leg training whenever possible, without a good foundation what do you have?

I won’t have enough space hear to go into great detail about how our leg training protocol is set up but we can give the basics. First off when setting up the protocol I like to have 2 days a week set aside for leg training, this way we won’t feel like we have to cram all of it in one day. On lag day we concentrate on the whole leg and work to have every movement executed on the plane we will be competing on, so we work to keep the moves we do sitting down to a minimum.

The first area that is focused on is the hip area on the lateral plane. We do this by doing a lateral walk with a band around the ankles. We do it over a predetermined distance, not only does this activate the hips it also serves as a nice little warm up as well! I like to keep the distance at about 30 feet the move is executed up and back having the athlete face the same direction during the whole ordeal as to push off on both hips.

Once that is done I like to do something a little more dynamic since the body has a nice glaze to it and the core body temperature is starting to go up a bit. The next thing that is done is we skip up the steps. The move is done exactly as it sounds, get a bunch of steps and skip up them. When done the correctly the Central Nervous System (CNS) should be on fire! Work to keep the numbers in a moderate range if too many are asked to be done the athletes could fry and the rest of the workout may be shot. After this is completed we go to an overhead squat. I like the overhead squat because it doesn’t promote the spine compression that the back squat might. This also helps my athletes learn to bend which in this day and age a lot of athletes are not learning how to do. Once again the rep range is kept moderate as to not ask the athlete to but their bodies in harm’s way while they are training.

The last move in our training protocol is the Romanian Deadlift, which is a move I really like to see my athletes do, it gives them the opportunity to move on a couple of different planes while promoting strength in the Erector Spinae. Holding a dumbbell and standing on one slightly bent leg the athlete is asked to just bend over and touch their toe with the dumbbell. The move creates greater lower back strength, hamstring strength and flexibility and the thing that is most times overlooked is that move will always improve the balance of the athlete doing it. Once again the rep range is kept moderate and when done correctly this whole protocol should take between 35 and 50 minutes depending on how the rest intervals are adjusted.

Please know that this is a bare bones protocol, and if you have any questions or would like to see it done in depth come on by. If you are ever in New Jersey my facilities are always open to members of the athletic community feel free to contact me and we will work to make your visit a fun and educational one. I am a firm believer that knowledge is no good unless it is shared. Adding these training moves to your protocol will help get you Fit To Fly!