My semi-professional sports career taught me a lot about sportsmanship, my physical limitations, and the art of tennis. But one of the most important lessons was the importance of cross training to build endurance. Whatever your sport, here are 5 ways to build your endurance through cross training.
As a varsity tennis player from Cal Riverside and University of San Francisco, I learned the hard way that smacking buckets of serves, “treeing” ball hoppers of groundstroke rallies, plus playing matches is not enough to attain peak performance during tournament conditions: Even while perfecting all of the above feats, honing these skill sets alone is not enough to repeatedly fly all over the court like an effortless surface glider.
In tennis, cross-training specifically for endurance is important to be able to haul your lagging carcass to the ball. This enables you to muster the proper coordination to set up for each and every shot, no matter where the ball lands, without having to slow down due to physical exhaustion or tiring feet.
The following is a list of five drills you can practice to build endurance. Practice assiduously to have stamina when you need it.
1. Jog regularly.
Hit the rubber track or the dirt trails for at least a couple of miles of jogging. Two miles of jogging, twice a week, is really enough in addition to consistent training in a primary sport. As an avid runner in addition to a semi-professional, tournament tennis player, I often ran 4-5 miles a couple of times a week plus trained like a mad bloke on the court. Regular light jogging will keep you in shape for your competitions.
2. Gradually build up.
Try to gradually build up to sprinting up to fifteen hills for 10-20 seconds to each summit. Walk down. Because of the elevated incline, you will surge forth with exponential wherewithal later when chasing down balls on the level court (or whatever your sport of choice is). Remember, the early bird of work ethic gets the worm!
3. Work on fast feet.
Run in place on your toes as fast as you can from 30 seconds to 1 minute, for one or two repetitions. One foot should be crashing into the cement right after the next, over and over. Bend your knees and feel your calves burning while their girth widens. Keep going for the duration even though you might tire. You will finish the exercise before you know it.
4. Do calf raises.
Do sets of 50 calf raises, gradually increasing up to 150 or 200, twice a week. To do these, simultaneously raise calves all the way up before letting them fall to ground.
5. Incorporate squats.
Do up to 20 squats, twice a week, bending the knees as low as they can go without pain. For those of us whom have experienced knee cartilage shocking, it is fine not to bend very low at all. Incidentally, squats have been hypothesized to reduce cancer. (Calf raises and squats may lead to serious explosiveness while dashing about the court.)
Training harder for endurance may be an added complication to your routine, but do you want to be a champion or just another chump going through the motions? The clichés are true: Endurance training can help you go the extra mile in your chosen sport plus put spring in your step.
While your opponent might be scrounging just to make contact with the ball due to a lack of legwork coordination, you will be coasting by metaphorically approximating the speed of “V12, 500 horse power.” And that is without necessarily the adrenaline electrification that usually accompanies scampering back and forth across the court 30-60 times. In other words, with ample endurance conditioning, you will perform more like a Porsche than a Pinto.