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Try the exercise that helped Francis Tiafoe get fit and beat Nadal

Try the exercise that helped Francis Tiafoe get fit and beat Nadal

Frances Tiafoe has had a number of top career accomplishments this year. He reached the fourth round of Wimbledon for the first time. He peaked at the top career ranking of 24 in the world last month. He will play in the semi-finals of the Grand Slam for the first time after that Defeat Andrei Rublev Wednesday in the US Open quarter-finals. Two days ago, Tiafoe defeated second seed Rafael Nadal in the round of 16. After that match, the 24-year-old American was partly credited with improving his physique for the win.

“I feel fit,” Tiafoe told reporters at a post-match news conference on Monday. “Like my physique is strong at the moment. I cut back a lot. Really used the time for that.”

Wayne Ferreira has emphasized fitness since becoming Tiafoe’s coach in February 2020, but this year, Ferreira and others on the Tiafoe team have noticed a shift in the way Tiafoe has dedicated himself to injury prevention and exercises in the gym. His team says consistency was key.

“I think he has a much better daily routine,” Ferreira said. “Even before the games, he was doing a simple exercise.”

In addition to Ferreira, Tiafoe is often joined on the road by Bret Waltz, his physical therapist, and TC Costello, his strength and conditioning coach.

And while most people don’t have a tennis coach, physical therapist, or personal trainer, Costello believes the Tiafoe routine can help tennis players of all levels. Here are three exercises Costello said are part of Tiafoe’s training programme.

Medicine ball exercises are an essential component of Costello’s tennis training. The next day after Tiafoe’s victory over Nadal, Costello performed 30 minutes of light medicine ball exercises and movement training before Tiafoe took to the court to hit the ball for 30 minutes.

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“For tennis, I really like to do the medicine ball work, to work on strength,” said Costello, senior director of athlete development at Junior Champions Tennis Center in College Park, Maryland, where Tiafoe trained. “It’s so similar to tennis – throwing a medicine ball – that it translates so well to the sport.”

To perform this exercise correctly, find a wall towards which you can throw a medicine ball. Costello recommends using a medicine ball that weighs four to eight pounds or a single ball that can be thrown with “maximum intent.” He added that it couldn’t be too heavy or you wouldn’t be able to throw the ball that hard.

Muhammad Al-Dosani trains at JTCC with the medical ball in 2018 (Video: JTCC)

Next, stand with your feet parallel to the wall, which in tennis is called an open stance. Bring the medicine ball to one side with your knees bent, and carry it by the leg closest to the ball while driving the ball as fast as you can into the wall, Costello said. Repeat this movement with the medicine ball five times. Take a three-minute break and then do another set of five before switching sides for two more sets of five.

For a closed pose, rotate your body and feet aside into the net. Load it on the back leg and drive forward. Repeat two sets of five reps on each side, resting for three minutes between each set. This exercise can also be performed when someone throws a ball at you. In this version, grab the medicine ball after one bounce, hold it and shoot off the back leg while throwing the ball backwards.

“The key to this exercise is to throw the ball as hard as you can, drive off that back leg and make sure you get on that thigh by transferring your weight and driving that ball as fast as you can,” Costello said. . “Because that is how you develop strength. If you go through the motions and gently throw the medicinal ball against the wall, you are not doing anything.”

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Tiafoe is known for its speed. He can chase shots and hit winners with his speed.

One of the movement and agility exercises that Costello loves includes reaction time. Take four cones and place them about 10 feet apart in a square shape. Stand in the middle. When working with Tiafoe, Costello will indicate which cone the Tiafoe wants to move toward. Tiafoe will then take quick steps toward the cone and then return to the center of the square before moving on to the next cone called out by Costello.

“retroactive [component]where I point out different areas to keep the player engaged translates to tennis because you don’t know where [opponents are] Costello said.

American tennis player, Frances Tiafoe, 24, now ranked 24th in the world, performs agility training in 2019. (Video: JTCC)

For speed and speed, do three sets of this exercise for 20 seconds at a time, with a minute rest in between. It can last a little longer if done as conditioning training.

“The movements are a lot like tennis, and I want that [tennis players] To stay really low, and be fast, go down, touch the cone, go back to the middle, react wherever you say,” Costello said. On a little bit of speed, footwork, agility, but also retro action, too.”

A strong, stable core is important for tennis players at any level. Costello prefers cardio training with anti-rotational, anti-flexion and anti-extension exercises. One of the exercises he recommends is generally known as the pallof press.

“Because it’s an anti-rotational exercise,” Costello said. “It works all of our core muscles.”

Muhammad Al-Dosani training with a resistance band at JTCC in 2018 (Video: JTCC)

This can be done using either a belt or a cable machine. Stand straight and pull a tightly tied bandage toward the center of your body and then inward slightly under your chest. Extend your arms straight and then back. Keep your heart taut and engaged. The point of the drill is so that while the tape or cable is pulling you in one direction, you are not allowing it to move the center of your body. “You try to keep your core as steady as possible,” Costello said.

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Do three sets of reps 12 times. There are different forms of exercise where the person is kneeling or in a lunge position.

Costello said part of the reason Tiafoe has been so successful this year is that he’s been more consistent in applying himself to his fitness.

Includes nutrition. “He’s a little smarter at what he eats,” Costello said, adding that Tiafoe doesn’t stick to any specific diets. (“Morton Steakhouse,” Tiafoe said when a reporter asked him what he ordered from Uber Eats earlier this week. Bed.”)

Costello said his success isn’t due to “magical training or anything else”. Rather, it is about his dedication to all things required of an elite athlete.

“Doing everything with 100 percent engagement, whether it’s a warm-up, cool-down, whether it’s injury prevention work, little exercises to keep the shoulder healthy, doing it 100 percent engagement, and doing it consistently,” he said. “That was huge for him this year.”