Swimming is an activity that cannot only be enjoyed as a sport but as part of a rehabilitation and relaxation routine. Given the great benefits of swimming, tennis players can incorporate swimming into their lives as part of their exercise regimen.
Is swimming good for tennis players? The short answer is yes. Swimming is a resistance exercise and is preferred in terms of rehabilitation. Tennis being an impact sport (especially on the arms and legs) requires low-impact exercises that ensure recovery and prevention from injuries. Besides, swimming is especially helpful for shoulders, back muscles, and joints, in general.
When training, tennis players perform different endurance exercises that help them on the court. However, these exercises can be very tough on the body. That’s why incorporating swimming to their routine can help reduce the recovery process by a considerable amount.
Benefits of Swimmings as a Tennis Player
Tennis players can spend multiple hours on the court which require a lot of physical endurance to perform at high levels. Swimming is a great way to develop stamina and improve cardiovascular health, which is crucial for tennis players.
Swimming can increase your metabolism allowing you to burn those extra calories and help you stay in shape, as well as, in better physical health.
Potentially decrease and/or avoid injuries
Instead of running or cycling as a way training, tennis players can take on swimming. As a result, this can dramatically decrease the chances of injuries or soreness.
When recovering from different types of injuries, it’s recommended that you begin your exercise routines by swimming. Exercising on the water put much less pressure on the bones, muscles, and joints compared to other sports or physical activities.
Strengthen your core
When swimming, we are required to work on our balance, which develops our core. For tennis players, and athletes, in general, having a strong core is fundamental to decrease pressure on other parts of the body and reduce injuries.
Develop stronger legs
Swimming demands the continuous movement of legs, which improve your lower body strength. This can be very useful when trying to chase a fuzzy yellow ball constantly.
Strengthen your arms and shoulders
Swimming requires the regular use of your upper body (like chest, shoulder, and arms). This part of the body plays a crucial role when playing tennis.
Why should you incorporate swimming (or water exercise) into your tennis routine
For example, when doing side lunges, you use your core (back and waist) and legs. When this is done underwater, the water creates some form of resistance towards the movement that calms the muscles.
Resistance can calm the muscle in different ways. Let’s say that you are having foot pain (plantar fasciitis specifically), the foot’s impact on the ground is what causes the pain. Since the muscles underneath are too tight, they need to be loosening up in order to feel some form of relief
This is how resistance force calms down muscles, and the same applies when working out under water.
As a tennis player, these are some swimming styles that you can include in your swimming routine: backstroke, butterfly, front crawl, breaststrokes, and sidestroke.
- Backstroke – involves the swimmer lying flat on the back with the arms stretched wide, with one arm under water and the other swinging behind in an alternating motion. The legs, on the other hand, perform flutter kicks.
- Butterfly stroke– involves the swimmer lying on the chest with the arms stretched to the front, and the legs stretched to the back. The arms are pulled underwater with a high elbow position from an inward to outward motion. The legs are in a relaxed closed position with a wavy like movement.
- Front crawl – this is a similar version of the freestyle stroke. It involves the use of most of the upper body and lower body muscles.
- Breaststroke – this is one of the most commonly used swimming techniques. It involves being on your stomach in a horizontal position. The arms should be close together and stretched forward while the palms should be facing downwards. The legs are completely extended and pressed together, keeping them relax with every motion.
- Sidestroke – this position generally works out the lower body as it requires a lot of leg movements. It involves lying on one side of the water as the legs relax in a scissors position With each movement of the legs, an arm is interchangeably moved sideways as you glide forward.
Tennis and swimming: Sports synergy
According to Andrew Fitzpatrick, one of the most innovative pro tour tennis coaches, swimming can potentially give tennis players an extra edge on the court.
Why exactly should we pay attention to him?
Since Andrew became Naomi Broady’s coach in 2015, Naomi moved from 250th to 79th in the WTA rankings. Quite impressive, right?
He has not only worked with Naomi but also has an exceptional record with coaching Caroline Wozniacki, a former world number one, as well as with American player, Sloane Stephens.
He not only uses swimming as a way of keeping his players’ bodies in better shape but also, finds ways of incorporating boxing into their workout routine as well. This not only works in the recovery process of his players but also breaks down the monotony of using the same tactics and workouts day in day out.
Fitzpatrick indicates that swimming is quite helpful for joints and shoulders, as well as, to keep the body flexible. While swimming itself creates an edge with the tennis players’ routines, he goes on into adding weights as part of the workout process under water.
The addition of weight is primarily done to the legs. The process involves using weights in leg movements under water. Sounds intense, but if it works wonders, then why not!
Also, coach Fitzpatrick blatantly indicates that swimming does more than just help in the recovery of injuries; it also helps to prevent further pain and soreness. In overall, he suggests that spending some time in the pool is an excellent way to stay fit and in good physical condition, especially for tennis players.
Do you think it’s about time that you embrace swimming as part of your tennis training routine?