Tennis Drills for Cardio Fitness

by Angela Yorke | January 30th, 2012 | Cardio

Although Rafael Nadal’s grip sometimes appears more suited to a Louisville Slugger than the Babolat racquet he uses, the recently concluded Australian Open made me think of forms of aerobic exertion other than “plain” running, cycling, or swimming. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a diehard fitness fanatic, you can incorporate tennis foot drills into a cardio routine to add variety.

Slides, also known as sidestepping, involve putting your feet together, taking a wide step sideways, and then bringing the trailing foot back beside the leading foot. The distance to slide is the same as that of the length of a tennis court (78 feet), and back again while facing the opposite direction to switch leading feet. If this seems too far, try sliding the width of a tennis court, which spans 36 feet.

Also sideways, the carioca sees the person going sideways down the length of a tennis court at a constant speed. The trailing foot crosses in front of and then behind the leading foot as the leading foot steps to the left (or right, depending on which you prefer). Again, this traverses the length of a tennis court, and you use a different foot to lead back up the court.

An apparent extension of the reverse lunge, with some difficulty thrown in, angle slides see the person starting out with their back facing the intended end point. The person then slides 2 times backwards at a 45° angle to the left (or right), and again to the opposite direction, down the length of a court.

There’s also the wedel, for which you make small jumps to cover a total distance of 36 feet. These jumps are made with more of a sideways motion than forward, while keeping the feet together.

The slide and sprint should be carried out with another person, although it’s also possible to do it alone. As the term suggests, it involves sliding and sprinting. Starting as a regular slide down the “court,” the 2 people turn to face the other direction when one person says “turn.” The pair slides along until the same person says “sprint,” following which they will run forward until the first person says, “slide.” The 2 people then face one another and slide to the end of the court.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.