Andy Murray has become a British tennis sensation in many ways in recent months.
The Wimbledon champion has regained the spotlight for British tennis as a nation that has the ability to once again produce world class players.
At the time of this writing, Andy Murray is ranked #2 in the ATP rankings. Much of his recent success can be attributed to his hard work ethic coupled with his strategic improvements in his game.
Most importantly, Andy Murray’s success can also be attributed to his unique fitness regimen which allows him to stay in tip top shape with his competitors in three and five set matches.
While Andy Murray may not be blasting his competitors off the tennis court anytime soon, his counterpunching game is effective in large part due to his ability to outlast his opponents in rallies. Not surprisingly, Murray has a very distinct regimen that he adheres to – which accounts for his extremely high level of cardiovascular endurance.
Murray’s Regimen – An Emphasis on Speed and Explosiveness
It is apparent that Andy Murray doesn’t hit the weight room nearly as much as his larger counterparts, such as Nadal. Murray focuses more on performing exercises that emphasizes explosive movement around the tennis court.
In particular, the below video shows Murray working with his trainer on various explosive movement exercises. This helps him make quick adjustments to different shots that his opponents may throw in during a rally. These sprints also allow Murray to get to balls much faster, because he is training his fast-twitch muscle fibers with these exercises.
Side to Side Service Box Touch – A Murray Favorite
One of Murray’s primary trademark drills is the side to side service box touch drill. This requires a player to touch each side of the service box as fast as he or she can in a 30 second interval. This is often performed amongst a series of other drills, for a total of 3 sets.
Side to Side ‘Jumps’
Another popular drill among the professionals is the side to side box jump, as we can see Murray working with his trainer on this one. His trainer uses a rope to substitute a box, which is entirely acceptable. This drill trains explosive movement starting from the lower body. Undoubtedly, this drill can strengthen the calve muscles – which can add power and lift to a player’s serve or first step movement.
Murray’s Medicine Ball Regimen
In the last part of the video, Murray can be seen throwing the medicine ball from one sideline to the next into a designated target area. The medicine ball has long been known to be a great tool for strengthening a player’s core muscles.
Throwing the medicine ball requires a player to be physically fit as well as to develop stronger core muscles. Since tennis players often use their core to hit their shots, using the medicine ball to strengthen the upper and lower body is a great idea to prevent injuries as well.
Figure 8 drill
It is apparent that Murray’s trainer focuses more on lower body movement to enhance explosive speed on the tennis court.
In this video, Murray can be seen working on a side to side ‘Figure 8’ drill where he has to move around both cones in a ‘Figure 8’ pattern. Notice, this drill requires fast movements (crossovers and lateral steps), as well as quick and sudden changes in order to avoid hitting either of the cones.
This particular exercise forces a player to speed up their reaction time, which can definitely benefit them when faced with changing directions, recovering after a shot and reacting to an opponent’s shot during a real rally.
Murray’s Resistance Band Regimen
In another video, Murray can be seen using resistance bands to train explosive sprinting and first step movement patterns.
In the first 30 seconds of the video, another one of Murray’s trainers uses a resistance band tied to his waist to add additional resistance to his body. Murray then performs a series of rapid burst sprint movements on the tennis court. The extra resistance placed on his body by the band forces Murray to use additional force to rapidly accelerate himself away from the band.
These resistance bands can be particularly useful, because the extra resistance forces the body to compensate by strengthening the muscles used for sprinting to a higher degree than how it would without the band.
Once the band is removed and a player has performed these exercises over a period of time, the player will find that accelerating and sprinting is a much easier task (since the body is now accustomed to sprinting with resistance attached).
Implications For Your Own Game
Much of Murray’s success on the court can be attributed to his fitness regimen. At every elite tennis academy in the world, players can be seen working on similar regimens simply because these activities are what separates the best players in the world from the mediocre players. The extra discipline is what gives the elite player an edge in a close tennis match.
Very few players recognize the importance of developing a sound and disciplined regimen for their game. If Murray’s game benefited from his regimen – players at all other levels of the game can also gain a serious advantage over their opponents by incorporating a few of these exercises into their game plan too!
This article was written by Coach Ed of Optimumtennis.net