Off-court conditioning is often viewed as completely separate from on-court exercise. But with a few strategic exercises, you can work on specific aspects of your tennis game at the same time you are increasing endurance and strength.

Ladder Drills

Ladder Drills are intended to improve footwork on the court. Place a rope ladder on the ground—or draw one with chalk by creating rectangles approximately 15 inches wide. Now incorporate one or more of the following ladder drills:

Single leg run: run with the balls of your feet touching the ground, with only one foot contacting each rectangle. Start slow and increase speed to avoid getting tangled in the rope or touching the chalk.

Double leg run: similar to the single leg run, except both feet step down in each box. Go as fast as you can without losing control of your movements.

Double side step: instead of sprinting, shuffle sideways, placing both feet in each box.

Shuttle Sprints

Shuttle sprints involve short runs from the baseline to the service line, while gradually increasing to longer sprints (such as from the baseline to the tennis net). This exercise is designed to improve leg power, agility, and short bursts of speed. And as a cardio exercise, shuttle sprints are a great way to train endurance while mirroring the types of motions you will need to perform on the court.


Burpees are a high-energy exercise that utilize leg, chest, and shoulder strength. They’re one of the more intensive conditioning exercises, and you may feel a little sore if you’re still early in your conditioning training. But burpees are a great full-body workout that can benefit your strength, endurance and explosiveness on the court.

Lay down on the ground in a plank position, leap into a crouch, then explode into an upward jump. Land softly with a bend in your knees and drop back into a plank position. That’s one.

Diet & Sleep

It probably goes without saying, but a healthy diet and adequate amount of sleep are necessary for good health, which is a key part of succeeding in any sport. Regarding conditioning specifically, a balanced diet and good night’s sleep helps the body recover from vigorous training, providing energy during workouts, strength through rest, and lowering injury risk.


Conditioning doesn’t just refer to endurance; conditioning exercises also help improve speed, agility, strength, and mental conditioning. Together, all these things make for a successful tennis match. And by incorporating proper tennis conditioning into your workout regimen, you can reduce injury risk and give yourself a leg up on the competition.