Training For Functional Lean Mass: Racket Sports


Victorian-era tennis players would be awestruck by the speed and power of racket sports today. From pickle ball to racket ball to tennis, maintaining a relatively high/lean body mass percentage for racket sports is important because of the agility and speed required to win. That said, a healthy athletic body fat percentage is around 6-13 percent, that leaves 87-94 percent body mass for lean muscle, bones, brains, and other essential stuff.

Building lean muscle really isn’t complicated and will certainly up your game.. The trick is in the determination, hard work, and application. Here’s three core principles to remember while training for that functional lean mass.

Eat a lot, eat often

Of course, if you are trying to lose weight you will need to operate on a calorie deficit. If you are trying to build more lean mass you will need a calorie surplus – with the right type of calories. Focus on consuming sufficient protein. To achieve the best lean-to-fat ratio you may want to consider a paleo diet. Eating five to eight times a day will keep your metabolism anabolic and keep your body revving. But if you’re pounding carbs from refined sugars or saturated fats, you’re going to have a hard time staying lean or energized.

Hit the weights often and hard

All of that eating will only turn into fat if you don’t hit the weights often and hard. And that means three to six days per week and applying good basic weight lifting techniques. Lifting is essential because it prevents injury by strengthening muscle and even bones, ligaments, and tendons. It is important to remember the goal isn’t just to get swole, but to get better at racket sports. Four key areas are especially important in this class of sports:

  • Core – Strengthening the core can have the greatest effect on a racket sport athletes performance and helps prevent injury. Check out some core exercises here.
  • Legs – Legs move and pivot the athlete on the court and leg strength is important for taking racket power to the next level. Try out these agility boosting leg drills.
  • Shoulders – The shoulders provide stability and direction to the racket. This puts a lot of stress on our unique shoulder joints and rotator cuffs. Unfortunately, this area of the body is often neglected. Take a look at these exercises.
  • Lower Arms – The lower arms, including wrist and forearm, must also be strengthened. Strengthening this area will protect against tennis elbow, which nobody wants. Try out these exercises.

Don’t forget about your heart

Finally, don’t forget about your heart. Cardio is important for maintaining overall wellness and is especially important for becoming a great racket sport athlete. Cardio increases blood flow, which increases nutrient delivery. Nutrient delivery helps your body repair, recover, and most importantly, grow lean mass.

Apply these three basic principles and your lean body mass will increase just like your game.

Kevin Jones has mastered a busy lifestyle with work and fitness combined with family life. He writes offering solutions for personal fitness and time management as well as keeping families fit together by utilizing activities and diet. You can read more of Kevin’s writings by connecting with him online; LinkedInTwitter

Kevin Jones is a freelance writer, researcher and fitness instructor/consultant. He had helped hundreds of people find ways to become more fit and healthy through a balanced life focusing on an individualized approach to their nutrition and fitness. In addition, Kevin has written extensively in the fitness and health industries, including writing for companies such as a ICON Fitness brand NordicTrack. Connect with Kevin online; LinkedIn - Twitter