- Who is the better tennis player?
- Who is stronger?
- Who has less injuries?
(Please post answers in comments)
There has been a plethora of high-intensity training strategies that have gained a lot of popularity lately. They sell the idea that hard work equals an increase in fitness. These training strategies may help develop socially desirable muscles. Most of these muscles are very superficial and will not always translate to success on the court. It’s a shame that people think they need to look good in a bathing suit to be a successful athlete. Look at some of the best people in sports: (Misty May-Treanor, Logan Tom, LeBron James, Muhammed Ali, and Kobe Bryant)
All of these athletes have been the best player in their sport at one time or another. I would like to point out a few things; none of them have huge bulky superficial muscles, they do not have any huge muscle imbalances, and they don’t have a huge protruding “six-pack,” but rather a very full stomach. This goes to show that you don’t need to look like this…
to preform like this…(Matt Anderson of the USA on the left)
Unfortunately for some time now, the barometer of fitness has been someone’s “six-pack” or, rectus abdominus. Having this huge muscular imbalance in your core does not help you stabilize your torso as you move your extremities. Instead of this one muscle doing all the work, the work should be distributed throughout all your core muscles. These include, rectus abdominus, internal and external obliques, transverse abdominus, quadtratus lumborum, diaphragm, and pelvic floor. Those are the muscles that make up your core, not just your “six-pack” muscles. They help stabilize your center of mass so your extremities can move you efficiently. After reading this, have your answers to my three questions changed?
Did anyone guess correctly? For anyone who doesn’t know who these two are, it’s Rodger Federer (L) and Rafael Nadal (R)
Current ESPN rankings have Federer at #2 and Nadal at #5 in the world. Yes, Nadal is still very highly ranked, but he is also currently injured and thinking about pulling out of the next two tournaments?because of this injury. All that muscle imbalance is keeping him him from moving optimally. No matter how talented of a tennis player he may be, if he can’t stay healthy he won’t ever be able to play. Our bodies will do whatever we want them to do as long as we do it correctly. No one sport or activity is inherently bad, but if athletes?repeatedly?move and train incorrectly, injury is in their future.
Now, it doesn’t take an expert to see that something has is not right in this picture. I told my friend that RG3’s second ACL tear was due to his improper movement mechanics, and lack of hip stability. He rebutted with, “but I saw him squat like, 600 lbs on YouTube.” All that squat strength means nothing if he can’t move his own body correctly.
Train Smarter to Play Harder
Please post any comments or questions!
-Volleyball skills & conditioning specialist.
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