Archive for tennis training

Functional Movement Screen Seminar Oct. 9th

Posted in Z.S. Basketball Training, Z.S. Tennis, Z.S. Training with tags , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2010 by zenithstrength

Zenith Strength is proud to announce that the functional movement screen certification and seminar will be held Oct 9th at the facility in Santa Clara

The FMS designed  by Gray Cook and Lee Burton is one of the most highly regarded movement screens in the industry.

Here’s an excerpt from FMS website:

“The philosophy behind the FMS is rooted in the concept that, in order to maximize performance, the whole body must be functioning properly. When the body is considered as a chain of individual elements, it’s reasonable that a weak link weakens the entire chain. Ignoring a weak link increases the potential for disaster, and strengthening the wrong links will not improve the integrity of the chain. The FMS provides the means to identify and resolve any weak links that may be jeopardizing the body and its healthy motion.

We are excited to integrate the FMS into our assessment protocol to better serve our athletes to help identify weakness and improve their movement, reduce the likelihood of injuries and enhance performance and athleticism.

We will be integrating these assessment tools along with our training protocols with the Full time program kids at the Eagle/Fustar tennis academy, working with their top tennis players to get them faster on the court, stronger and improving overall athleticism.

To sign up for the FMS seminar check out click here. Space is limited.

Stay tuned for more training related articles coming soon this week.


Speed Training Using Bands

Posted in Z.S. Basketball Training, Z.S. Tennis with tags , , , , on August 10, 2010 by zenithstrength

Bands are a great tool to use improve 1st step acceleration and quickness. Since the tension increases as the band lengthens, this forces the athlete to accelerate against the resistance.  We often follow band resisted drills with body weight shuffles and sprints to take advantage of the nervous system stimulation. The athlete will be able to explode and accelerate much faster following band resisted work.

The video below is a compilation of band resisted drills we use for our tennis players.

You can vary the movements depending on the sport the athlete plays.

Try some of these moves and watch you quickness improve.

Train Hard!


5 Tips to improve your Vertical Jump

Posted in Z.S. Tennis with tags , , , , , , , on July 25, 2010 by zenithstrength

Every athlete I have ever worked with wants to get faster, quicker, improve their speed. Before I discuss the 5 things you must do to improve your vertical jump I want to briefly explain how we test power output at Zenith Strength and the rationale behind the tests.

We test the vertical jump using the JUST JUMP mat to see how much force the athlete can produce. Based on the results we determine if the athlete needs to improve relative strength, upper body strength or the stretch shortening reflex.

We have the athlete perform 3 different types of jumps.

  1. A squat jump with the hands behind the head
  2. A counter movement jump using the arms to swing up as the athlete jumps.
  3. The counter movement jump with a step.

If that athlete has a low squat jump we will focus on improving the athlete’s relative strength with dead-lifting or squatting variations, which will improve ground force production.

If the athlete has a low counter movement jump we will add heavy chin up and pull-ups to improve upper body strength and help with the counter swing movement, in addition to lower body work.

And finally a low counter movement jump with a step means we have to focus on improving the stretch reflex through repeated jumps, broad jumps or depth jumps to a box.

Here are five tips that help improve your vertical jump in no particular order. Keep in mind that these are general recommendations. You should be implementing the strength training, plyometric work and mobility work, in your program.

  1. Increase your relative lower body strength.
  2. Improve your hip/posterior chain strength.
  3. Perform body weight jump variations
  4. Improve your hip flexion mobility
  5. Increase your relative upper body pulling strength.

In order to enhance your vertical jump you need to increase the amount of force you produce. The best way to do this is to improve your relative lower body strength.
We use the trap bar deadlift since it is easy to teach and feels natural for the athletes.

We also use squatting variations such as box squats which improves starting strength, since you are pausing on the box and then driving up using your hips.

Training to increase hip/posterior chain strength is essential as hip strength is necessary for a powerful jump. We use glute/ham raises to strengthen the hamstrings and glutes.  We also use hip thrusts and weighted bridges which I learned about from Bret Contreras. The common misconception is that you need to strengthen the quads and calves to jump higher. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. You will see much greater gains in vertical jump and sprint performance by strengthening the hip complex.

Here’s what a barbell hip thrust looks like.

The video below is an example of some of the plyometric training we perform. We use box jumps and resisted jump training with the vertimax.

In order to integrate your hips and sit back during the loading phase of the jump you must have adequate hip flexor mobility. In fact Joe Defranco, one of the most respected strength coaches in the field insists that stretching out the hip flexors prior to testing your vertical can add some height. He teaches this technique to football players to use at the NFL combine for the jump testing portion.

Here’s a good hip flexor stretch:

And finally improving relative upper body pulling strength using chin ups and pull-ups will help with the counter movement arm swing portion of the jump. In addition there is also a high correlation between sprinting speed and relative upper body strength with pull-ups.

Add these training ideas into your program and watch your vertical jump improve dramatically.

Train Hard!


3 Observations from the Gilroy NTRP Tournament.

Posted in Z.S. conditioning, Z.S. Tennis with tags , , , , , , on July 3, 2010 by zenithstrength

This past weekend I volunteered my time and set up a booth with     Dr. Armen from Active Spinal at the Gilroy Garlic Festival NTRP tournament.

Here’s 3 observations I noticed with many of the players who came in to get some soft tissue work done.

1. A lack of awareness regarding warming up and movement preparation. Playing tennis is extremely hard on the body and creates a lot of wear and tear in the shoulders, knees and low back. One way to decrease the chance of injury is to make sure you warm up and prepare your body for the demands of the game. By using a soft ball and/or a foam roller and rolling out the lower body and mid back, and combining this with some dynamic movements to loosen up the hip flexors, hamstrings and hip adductors you will ensure longevity in your tennis career.

2.Get Assessed by a qualified professional. A simple overhead squat test will show movement restrictions/tightness in the ankles, hips and mid back and can give clues as to why, a specific muscle is injured. Not surprisingly when I had the players perform this test, the majority of issues were with ankle mobility issues and hip tightness. Not addressing these issues and only training on the tennis court will ultimately lead to an  injury and time off the court.

3.Training and staying in shape for tennis. This goes hand in hand with the first two observations. Not training or preparing for tournaments will lead to an injury. If you are going to compete and play at a high level you might want to seriously consider investing in a qualified strength coach who can help address movement issues and design a program to get you performing at higher level.

By training for tennis, I also don’t mean doing endless sets of benching which is going to lead to a shoulder issue. Focus on getting the lower body stronger, on push up variations instead of benching and strengthening the  mid back and scapular stabilizers with rowing variations.

Train hard!


3 Training Mistakes to Avoid for Tennis Players

Posted in Xtreme Tennis Conditioning, Z.S. Tennis with tags , , , , , , , on June 25, 2010 by zenithstrength

There is so much training related information these days that its hard to know if the information you’re reading is credible. My clients all have similar goals regarding performance training. They all want to become better athletes. In the case of the tennis player, the requirements to become better athletically are still the same. You need to get stronger, more explosive, better conditioned and need to improve hip mobility and shoulder mobility. Unfortunately many athletes have been taught by their coaches, usually the sport coach that they need to avoid weight training or need to run miles at the track to become a better athlete.

Here are 3 training mistakes that I see many tennis players make in their quest to improve their on court performance.

1. Spending too much time on the tennis court working on skill development. For some reason in has been ingrained in the head’s of so many junior tennis players that they need to be on the court 7 days a week working on tennis specific drills. While it is imperative that the athlete continues to improve  tennis specific skills, there are limitations as to how much you can improve your athletic ability. There needs to be at least 2-3 days a week dedicated to a specific strength and conditioning program to address weaknesses, mobility issues and improving power output and quickness.

2. Not integrating recovery protocols  into the program. This means taking a least one day off a week to rest and let the body and the nervous system recover. Also, make sure you are doing regular soft tissue work using a foam roller or softball. Specific areas for tennis players include working the hip flexors, quadriceps, hamstrings, and mid-back.

3.Incorrect energy system training. This is an area that has recently gained more popularity, in light of some college tennis coaches who require their student athletes to run a specific mile time in order to earn a spot on the team. I could write a whole article as to why distance running is inappropriate for tennis but I will keep it simple. It comes down to energy system training specificity. The average professional tennis point lasts under 10sec. Most junior players will have rallies that average 30secs. The rest between points is 30seconds. Based on the principle of training specificity you should be doing a lot of sprint work in the 10-30second range with 30second rest intervals. That will benefit you much more than running for 5-6 minutes straight. They should require all coaches to take an exercise physiology class to understand this basic principle.

Take a look at the two pics. One is an endurance athlete and the other is a world class tennis player.,0.jpg Rafa didn’t build that physique without some quality sprint work in his training program

If you are a tennis player looking to play at the D1 level make sure you are training with a qualified strength coac h, integrating recovery into your workout and implementing  conditioning workouts that are no more than 45 seconds long with rest intervals of 30 seconds.

In Strength.


Deepak Sabada Wins Again

Posted in Athlete's Accomplishments, Xtreme Tennis Conditioning, Z.S. conditioning, Z.S. Tennis, Z.S. Training with tags , , , , , on May 2, 2010 by zenithstrength

Congratulations to Deepak Sabada for winning the Diamond Hills 18’s Jr. Championship!

Deepak took out the #12 ranked player in the boys 18’S division in the semi-finals en route to the title. This is his second tournament win this year and he has been on a 15-1 tear his last 16 matches. Keep up the good work!

Sandbags for Shoulder Mobility

Posted in Xtreme Tennis Conditioning, Z.S. conditioning, Z.S. Tennis, Z.S. Training with tags , , , , , , on April 17, 2010 by zenithstrength

Since we work with a lot of tennis players at Zenith Strength, shoulder health and mobility is one of our primary concerns. Sandbags are a great tool to use in any strength and conditioning program. Josh Henkin, is a strength coach widely regarded as the sand bag guy. Here’s a great shoulder mobility exercise that Josh demonstrates in the video using a sandbag integrating the hips and mid back which simulate movements in certain sports. Using tennis as an example, the athlete needs proper mobility in the mid back and hips to coil during the forehand and backhand stroke and needs to be able to efficiently transfer force through the hips up the chain to the mid back to maximize power output.

Stay tuned as I will discuss a few sandbag lifts that can be incorporated in your lifting program to improve strength and explosiveness in the upcoming post.

In strength,