Thursday, 14 November 2013

Training Area: Physical - ex.P1 [CORE STRENGTHENING]

Hey ya,

This blogpost is the first one on physical training and I wanted to start with the most important part of the body for a large number of sports, including tennis, which is the CORE. If you like my posts you could sign up for email alerts using the white box on the right hand side of this page.

We try to train the core every day as its not like training the calve or bicep in that the body needs at least 24 hours recuperation before another session. The core can be worked everyday with one rest day a week. We sometimes do 20-30 minutes of core and sometimes 2-3 hours of core! It's key for explosive strength, balance, agility and preventing injuries.

Here I wanted to put some of my training exercises - I will add more in future posts! Follow me on twitter using the twitter feed on the side of this page to receive updates about my blog. 

Friday, 1 November 2013

Training Area: Recuperation - ex.R5 [HEAT & ICE]

Ok another post on recuperation for you. 

This post is going to be on the general subject of using cold and hot to recover from training or injuries. There are a lot of conflicting opinions on this depending on who you talk to. I'm going to give you the story from the 'warzone'. I'll share what works for me - these techniques have helped me to train longer and harder without injury. I had almost 1 year of full-time 6 hours a day, 6 days a week training without injury so I think I can put my confidence in these exercises.

Daily Exercises

I have 4 Decathlon Hot/Cold Packs (click link to view). After training I take them out the freezer and put them on my joints/muscles which have a slight tendon problem or tendonitis for around 30 minutes. Afterwards I then put the packs in the microwave and place back on the same joints/muscles to warm and relax them for another 30 minutes. Muscles which are super tense from over-use I treat with heat only. I put the hot packs on for about 30 minutes.  
Ice packs on knees to treat sore cartilage & tendons
Ice pack on knee cartilage | Heat pack on wrist and neck
Weekly Exercises

Every Friday I take an ice bath followed by a hot bath (also known as contrast bath). This is absolutely vital for me to recover from a tough week of training. I started this when my knees started to give me problems - I had an MRI scan which showed no problems. My father suggested I take ice baths and my physical trainer ice baths with hot baths. So reluctantly (!) I started the weekly routine and I haven't had knee problems since. My process is to fill the bath with cold water and then put in a couple buckets of ice - I will then lay in the bath for 8 minutes (or try and lay in it!?!?) with my chest, shoulders, back and neck also immersed if my upper body is sore [this really really hurts!]. After the 8 minutes I take a really hot shower (if you have access to a shower which is not in the bath [if not then just take one ice bath for 15 minutes]) and then return for a second 8 minute session in the ice bath (yeyyyy ;) ). I then let the cold water drain away and I replace it with lovely super hot water and I add salts and eucalyptus oil for a better muscle soak. Then I stay in the bath for at least 20 minutes.

Ice bath with my coach in a natural lake in england

One-off Exercises

An exercise I perform when I have torn a muscle and am in the rehabilitation phase (not the first 3 days and not before all the bruising disappears) or don't have access to a bath is to use an infra-red heat lamp to promote blood flow to the area and relax muscles.

I have found this to be even more effective that using the heat packs mentioned above.

Using infra-red heat lamp to relax lower-back muscles