His consistency is a result of maintaining a great fitness level and deploying superb technique with every hit. Some call him a natural athlete, and that he has a gifted genetic make-up, but his coach, Pierre Paganini zips all mouths sonorously at once, “Having a potential is one thing, but to express it for 70 matches a year is something else. Saying he is naturally gifted that way would be like watching a ballet and admiring its beauty, but forgetting the hard work put behind it.”
We couldn’t agree more with you coach!
According to the Paganini, a tennis player is not a sprinter, a marathon runner or a shot-put thrower. But he does need something from all of them. When on court, you should be able to summon all of these qualities.
Unlike his counterparts like Hewitt and Nadal, who play the same style and deliver same type of shots repeatedly, Federer is known as a creative player. He improvises shots during any match. And to be able to execute many different movements, coach worked with Federer to achieve a “coordinated creativity“.
- 1 Workout Plan for an Athlete
- 2 Roger Federer’s Workout Routine
- 3 Roger Federer’s Secret Workout Weapon
- 4 The Music
- 5 Diet Plan
- 6 How Roger Federer Keeps His Calm On Court
Workout Plan for an Athlete
A workout routine for a 19 year old athlete is going to be very different from a 30 year old one. That’s because when you are beginning your career, you workout to build a strong foundation whereas in your 30s, your focus shifts to getting fit for the next tournament and honing special moves.
So, initially your workout plan should include dynamic stretching, weightlifting, cardio work, plyometrics exercises for explosive power and static stretching during your cool-down. This transforms to a fundamental workout plan later which includes full body workout with special attention to the muscles and joints that repeatedly come under stress. And this is how Federer trains now.
Roger Federer’s Workout Routine
As aptly mentioned by the coach earlier, a tennis player needs to have it all: strength, agility, coordination, endurance, balance, bursts of speed and separate training to improve reaction time. This entails a mix up of all of kinds of workouts.
Roger likes to lift weights, but despises push ups, calling them a test of anyone’s athletic performance. Nevertheless, the coach makes him do them too. Some of his favorite and most effective training techniques are summarized below based on the reason why Federer does them (Coach complains, the player is a ‘Why machine’).
Cardio Warm Up: Jump rope
To sharpen his main weapons, cardiovascular fitness and agility, Roger Federer makes use of one of the easiest methods, Jump rope. First he’d skip in a fairly leisurely fashion and would then double his speed.
A substantial amount of tennis player’s power comes from a strong core. For that, Federer deploys medicine ball and lateral lunges.
Medicine Ball Shuffle:
He would stand opposite a partner on the court, close to the singles line and a few feet from the net. Then, he’d pass a medicine ball back and forth across the net to his partner while crossing the court using shuffle steps. In this technique, he makes it a point to never cross his feet while shuffling and tries to keep the medicine ball at chest level.
Lateral Lunges with Twist:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
- Lunge with your left leg out at a 45- degree angle
- Lower your upper leg and twist the left side of your torso forward
- Hold and return to starting position
- Repeat with right leg
- Do 10 times on each side
- As you get stronger, place a barbell with little or no weight on it across your shoulders.
Endurance and Agility: Resistance Bands
Agility, refers to being flexible, which comes from feeling light footed while playing, so you can jump around without feeling weighed down by stress. Therefore, Federer trains himself by increasing weight and resistance around his movements, so when playing on court, he feels light and free.
- To achieve that, he uses resistance band between his legs to not only create resistance but strengthen the muscles used in a typical match.
- In another similar exercise, he places the band around his waist, attached to the net with the other end. Balls are then hit to him both short and long, and he hustles back and forward trying to hit them all before second bounce. This way he taxes his muscles in uncommon ways while doing familiar movements and training his mind.
Coordination: The Pepper Routine
For improving his coordination, he does a routine very similar to baseball game of “Pepper,” a cone drill.
- This is done by placing three cones in a triangle about 4 feet apart from one another, just inside the baseline.
- Move around each cone as you swing forehand and backhand strokes. Taking one stroke each time, go around a cone in a zig-zag manner, circling each.
Balance: Volley on Trampoline
To improve balance, Federer stands on a stiff mini-trampoline and hits volleys. But the real trick is to do this while balancing on one leg.
The logic is when you manage hitting a solid volley on one leg you develop an incredible balance with both feet on the ground. The result is a composed demeanor displayed by Federer while playing.
Reaction time: Hit before Bounce
He makes someone throw 3 three balls to him from about 10 feet away. An exercise that does wonders for his reaction time is hitting these balls, one at a time, before they make their second bounce.
Bursts of Speed: Interval Training
Tennis is all about explosive power in short bursts and nothing can prepare you better for that than a good amount of interval training. You train fast for 15 seconds, then take an active rest for next 15, finally repeat for 7-12 times.
Roger Federer’s Secret Workout Weapon
And now, we are about to unravel his secret weapon – Sleep !! Aren’t the best secrets hidden in plain sight?!! Anyway, Federer makes sure that he gets a full 10 hours sleep every night to allow plenty of recovery time to his muscles.
This great player likes his music loud. His favorite are trance, dance music, Metallica and AC/DC. According to him, they help him train better making him think and act faster. Although, while running, his only music is the duel between his heart beat and breath, as he likes to concentrate on his running to improve his form and calm his senses.
We all know how carbs form the key to any tennis diet, because they are the fuel behind that explosive energy. However, complex carbs (whole grains, fruits and vegetables) are much superior to regular ones. That’s mainly because complex carbs supply longer-lasting fuel. Apart from that, lean proteins, good fats, vitamins and minerals are all part of an athlete’s diet.
Roger Federer likes to drink recovery beverages and eat recovery foods right after a match or workout. This recovery diet comprises of a mix of carbs, proteins and electrolytes whose aim is to quickly re-hydrate and replenish the body.
You’d be surprised to know what the handsome player eats before any match – PASTA!! According to him, it fills him up but doesn’t make him feel full. That’s quite athletic, right?
How Roger Federer Keeps His Calm On Court
While on field, when he feels losing or pressurized by the fear, he follows the philosophy of hanging in there and staying positive. He then creates emotional images of himself winning, recalls his past victories and reminds himself constantly, if he could do it back then, so he can do it even now.
That pretty much sums up his dynamic workout routine and how he keeps himself calm when times are testing. There is one more person who is as dynamic as Federer is the one and only Mr Bean. And he too has an amazing workout routine to maintain his ultimate physique and hilarious expressions.