Tennis – A glamorous sport, very gratifying when you win, very taxing on the aging body – train right to stay in the game
Tennis is another essentially one-sided sport, with the dominant hand/arm/shoulder taking most of the stress. It takes great endurance along with resilient tendons, ligaments and muscles that won’t snap when loaded suddenly by impact. The type of exercise that promotes these capabilities is called plyometrics. This is characterized by multi-joint exercises involving quick motions to accelerate and decelerate a modest, but significant, weight or load. It builds maximum starting and stopping strength and conditions the ligaments and tendons to withstand impact stresses.
Plyometric exerecise looks simple, but is very demanding of the systemic energy of your body – it will leave you feeling pretty wiped out with only 15 to 20 minutes workout. Seniors can get great benefit from this form of exercise done one or two days a week in preparation for the weekend game. Done too hard or too often, it will result in the same pains and strains as the game; the key is to never outrun our repair mechanisms. Plyometric exercise trains the nerve-muscle connection, coaxing the nervous system to activate the greatest number of muscle fibers in minimum time, building speed and rapid force. These exercises involve both eccentric (lengthening under force) and concentric (shortening under force) muscle activity.