Archive for Tennis

Lower Body Tennis Strength and Conditioning.

Posted in Z.S. Tennis, Z.S. Training with tags , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2012 by zenithstrength

I’m excited to announce that Zenith Strength finally got our Pit Shark belt squat machine in. Here’s a quick clip using the machine.

Here’s a quick video highlight of our lower body training session for our tennis players.

We started off with handle deadlifts on the Pit Shark belt squat. I really like this movement as it combines the best of two of my favorite exercises, the squat and the deadlift. It allows the athlete to sit back and load the hips but also hits the quads as well.

We followed that with reverse lunges using a Bulgarian bag for resistance and finished it off with lateral sled drags with a cross over step. Since tennis is over 70% lateral movement we want to develop lateral strength and stability for our players. These are also great for other sports that involve cutting and  lateral movement, such as basketball, football to name a few.

I’ll add more training footage of the Pit Shark soon.

In Strength,



3 Strength Exercises to Improve Linear Acceleration

Posted in Z.S. Basketball Training, Z.S. Tennis, Z.S. Training with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2011 by zenithstrength

Just about every sport involves short bursts of acceleration, whether it’s a wide receiver getting off the line of scrimmage to run a route or a tennis player chasing down a drop shot, an athlete’s ability to accelerate is one of the most important factors that determines success on the playing field. The bottom line is that you must put a tremendous amount of force into the ground to propel yourself forward. In order to do this you must work on getting stronger. In addition to strength training, another key component is teaching the proper mechanics of acceleration making sure that the athlete is pushing into the ground versus sliding the foot back.

Joe Defranco has a great article on acceleration mechanics and some great cues on teaching the start of the 40 yard dash and explains importance of getting full hip extension during the acceleration phase.

At Zenith Strength we use many different tools to improve linear acceleration of our athletes.

Here are my 3 favorite exercises to strengthen the lower body and improve first step acceleration.

1. Heavy Forward Sled Drags and Heavy Pushes

Heavy sled dragging and sled pushing should be a staple in your program if your goal is to improve starting strength and leg drive.

Both movements teach hip extension and enable the athlete to put force into the ground to improve their hip extension strength.

They also put  the athlete at a 45 degree angle which is the position you want to be in when accelerating.

You can also combine the sled work and get a drag push combo. I got this idea from Joe Defranco a few years ago.

Below is a video of the drag/push combo.

2. Split Squats with the rear foot elevated.

Split squats are a fantastic exercise to build single leg strength in the quads, glutes and hams in the weight room.

The rear foot elevate split squat (rfess) is the go to strength exercise used by  Mike Boyle, Joe D and Martin Rooney, some of the best coaches  in the industry,  for developing strength for linear acceleration. They work with some of the best athletes in the world and when they talk about what works for them you have to pay attention!

Here’s a video of Ben Bruno doing some RFESS with 75lb dumbbells and a weighted vest.

3. Woodway Force Resisted Sprints

The Woodway Force is a fantastic piece of equipment found and used by top collegiate programs and training facilities  to build acceleration power as well as top speed leg turnover.

We can set the load, which is the resistance, to teach the athlete to drive back to propel them forward and really work on improving their hip extension power output.

We will use a load that is 10-20% of the athlete’s body weight and have them sprint for 5 secs and rest 30 secs sometimes longer to make sure they are fully recovered during our power workouts. You can adjust the duration and rest periods depending on the sport you;re training for.

If you don’t have access to one you  can also uses resisted bands around the waist.

Here’s a video using the Woodway force .


Try these exercises out and you should notice an improvement in your ability to accelerate.

Train Hard!


Overhead drill with a Twist.

Posted in Z.S. Tennis with tags , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2011 by zenithstrength

At Zenith Strength we are constantly thinking about ways to get more creative to help our athletes improve.

My brother who is a tennis coach mentioned that most players have issues with the proper footwork for the overhead.

After watching some of Eric Cressey’s med ball drills that he does with his pitchers, I came up with a variation for our tennis players.


In the video below, David Hsu is working on his cross over step as it relates to the overhead, drops back and throws a weighted 12oz med ball to work strengthening and  his motion and developing more force. The ball weighs slightly more than the average tennis racket is about the size of a baseball. You can get these at power-systems

We generally do this after some band resisted cross over steps to take advantage of the neuro muscular stimulus the band tension provides.

Train Hard!



Tuesday Training at the Facility

Posted in Xtreme Tennis Conditioning, Z.S. Tennis, Z.S. Training with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2010 by zenithstrength

Here’s a glimpse of the workout from Tuesday the 28th of September working with the tennis players from Eagle Fustar full-time program.

We have top players training including, Eric Johnson who is ranked in the top 30 Nationally in the boys 18’s, Jelena Pandzic just got to the finals of a WTA pro event several weeks ago.

In the video we are working single leg  and hip stability with the RDL’s. We have started to incorporate the slideboard for lateral mobility and strength. In this case, we use the band around the knees to force the  hip to stabilize the front leg while sliding into a lateral lunge and also strengthening the abductors and adductors of the sliding leg.

We also have the athletes work on shoulder stability with the push up plus strengthening the serratus anterior to stabilize the shoulder blades.

We finish off with heavy prowler pushes to work on improving acceleration strength and teaching the athletes to drive into the ground with big strides.

We will be posting more training videos coming up soon.

In Strength,