The Roger Federer Fitness and Footwork Routine

A look behind the Roger Federer Fitness program shows one of the reasons this one man has dominated the world of professional tennis. Roger Federer has a classic game with no glaring weaknesses, the ability to hit any shot at any time, a gorgeous one-handed backhand and a punishing forehand as well.

What fans might not think about as they watch Federer dart around the court like a water bug is that such fitness does not just happen—it has to be earned.

Federer has spent many hours away from the tennis court getting his body to a point where 3-, 4- and even 5-hour matches are not difficult for him. All of that amazing shot-making is impossible if Federer does not get to the ball in the first place. How does he do it? Here are some insights into the famed Federer fitness routine.

At 6’1″ and 177 lbs, Federer looks somewhat slim, but a closer peek at his body reveals a tapered waist and wide shoulders loaded with muscle. Two of the main exercises in the Federer fitness routine are often listed under references to his training online. They are lateral lunges (with twist) and the medicine ball toss. Here is a detailed description of each movement:

Federer Fitness Exercise #1: Lateral lunges with twist

Federer working on his fitness

These taxing movements from Roger Federer’s fitness routine work the torso, which gives tennis players zing in their body rotation as they close and open on both forehands and backhands. The stronger the core, the more explosive the turn and resulting power as a tennis player hits ground strokes and serves.

Federer stands with his feet shoulder-width apart. He holds a standard weightlifting bar on his shoulders as it rests on his neck. He first lunges with his left leg out at a 45-degree angle, and as he does, he lowers his right leg and twists the left side of his torso forward.

This is a very quick movement. He then stops, holds that position, then returns to his starting position and repeats with his right leg lunging forward. Federer does sets of 10. You can do one set for starters and work up to do more as you get fitter. You can also add weight to the bar as your muscles get stronger and you can do lunges with more resistance. These lunges are a staple in the Roger Federer Fitness workout.

Federer Fitness Exercise #2: Medicine ball toss

This Roger Federer fitness exercise improves both agility and strengthens muscles in the core and upper body. The medicine ball sometimes does not get much love in our technologically advanced age, but it can be used in many different exercises to strengthen your core muscles. Many tennis players and other athletes swear by it.

For his typical Roger Federer fitness exercise with his trainer, Federer stands across from him about halfway back in the service box on the singles sideline. He and his trainer then fling the medicine ball back and forth at chest level as they shuffle from sideline to sideline. They go from line to line three times, then take a break. You will obviously need a partner for this element of Federer’s fitness routine; perhaps you can find a friend who wants to get fitter for tennis movements as well.

Federer Fitness Exercise #2: Jump Rope Workout

Federer with a jump rope

Another famed Roger Federer Fitness workout routine that has comprised part of Federer’s fitness training is a quick regiment that alternates rope skipping and exercises to strengthen the core. Here is a quick rundown of what he has incorporated in the past in a typical 20- to 40-minute workout:

  1. Begin with 60 seconds of skipping rope, either doing a double skip or single skip with each rope rotation.
  2. After the rope workout, get in a plank position, which is just like a push-up position before lowering to the ground. In a good plank form, tighten your abdominal muscles and hold. Be sure that your buttocks are not too high or too low for this movement. After 30 seconds of hold, pull each leg, one at a time, under and across your body, then out from your body while remaining in the plank position.
  3. Back to the rope for 60 seconds more of jumping.
  4. Now get your body in a side plank position, leaning on your elbow or hand, and holding your body stiff to keep your core engaged and flexed. As you lean on your left elbow, put your right hand on your waist and hold your body stiff in 7-on-its-side position. Lean in this way for at least 30 seconds, keeping the core engaged again. Keep the elbow directly in line with your shoulder for this planking.
  5. Back to the rope for 60 seconds of jumping.
  6. For this round of planking, lean on your right elbow for 30 seconds or more, keeping the core engaged the entire time.
  7. Back to the rope for 60 seconds of jumping.
  8. Hit the ground for 60 seconds of push-ups, either the standard kind or on your knees for an easier movement.
  9. Back to the rope for 60 seconds of jumping.
  10. Drop into a push-up stance, but instead of lowering your entire body to the ground, just work the shoulders by gently lowering them until your back is concave between your shoulder blades, then pushing back up. This will do wonders for the shoulder muscles you use all of the time in tennis and don’t realize it.
  11. Back to the rope for 60 seconds of jumping.
  12. Now, lie on your back with your hands spread out to the side and your legs held together at a close to 90-degree angle from the ground. Lower your legs to the left slowly as you resist gravity and keep your core engaged, then raise them together to an upright posture. Then, lower legs to the right, again moving very slowly to increase the effect of this movement. This exercise is called “windshield wipers” if you want to visualize what your legs are doing.
  13. Back to the rope for 60 seconds of jumping.
  14. Get on your knees and cross your hands on your chest. Lower your torso and your buttocks as if you are prostrating in prayer. Move back upright and repeat. Do as many repetitions as you can in 60 seconds. This is a dynamite exercise for the lower back.
  15. Back to the rope for 60 seconds of jumping.
  16. Now, lie on the ground with your shoulders touching the ground, your knees bent and your body in a 7-shape if the 7 were laying face down. Lift one leg at a time to straighten it, hold it for as long as you can, then lower it back to the ground, then lift the other leg out, hold and lower. Do as many repetitions as you can as you keep your core engaged the entire time.
  17. Back to the rope for 30 seconds of jumping.
  18. Lie on the ground, fold your hands across your chest, bend your knees and conclude the workout with 60 seconds of crunches. Try to not let your shoulders touch the ground, and don’t raise your head and shoulders too far off the ground.

Now you can understand how Roger Federer’s fitness workout enables him to get to almost every ball, after a workout like this! If you master this one time through, go for a second set. You’ll be as fit as one of the top players in the world by incorporating a bit of the Federer fitness routine. If you can’t play like him, at least you can work out like he does!

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