What does Rafael Nadal’s training routine consist of?

Knowing how Nadal trains gives us guidelines to take his routines and apply some elements to ours. Find out more about the multiple tennis champion.

Last update: 21 March, 2022

Rafael Nadal’s training has given him 21 titles Grand Slam36 Masters 100023 titles ATP5001 gold medal at the Olympic Games and 5 Davis Cups with the Spanish team. It works? The evidence is on the table.

The tennis player does not stop breaking records and is 35 years old. So how does it hold up? Because his body is not the same as it was 10 years ago and his rivals may be up to 15 years younger.

Rafa Nadal is said to have changed his training as he grew older. He has chosen to focus on gaining agility and strength with specific attention to post-competition moments. He returns to training as soon as the finals are over. Now we will see why.

The athlete who seems not to rest

After grabbing his last Grand Slam In Australia, in January 2022, images circulated on the internet of Rafael Nadal doing a kind of training on a stationary bicycle, having exceeded 5 hours and 24 minutes of the extensive match. By the way, a final that he had to overcome being 2 sets down.

Why didn’t the Spanish rest? Anyone would say that the logical thing is to rest after the effort and recover energy.

What Nadal did was 30 easy minutes of stationary bicycle so that no more lactate builds up in your body. After the demanded effort, the body had manufactured significant amounts of lactic acid as a metabolic waste. Removing it right away helps prevent injury.

The most experienced and well-advised athletes know that lactate is an enemy, not only in competition, but in the long term. Therefore they train so that the substance does not accumulate too much and to clear it.



The importance of the lactate threshold

The concept of clear lactate It is known in professional sports environments, but not in amateur practice. The best in sports that involve resistance, such as tennis and its long matches, know that lactic acid sets a threshold, that is, a “ceiling” up to which it allows performance. When its presence in the body is high, then the person no longer runs as he used to or responds with speed.

Rafa Nadal finished the more than 5 hours of the final of the Grand Slam, but he climbed on the stationary bike to clear the lactate. Although it seems a paradox, continuing to exercise (gently) relaxed her muscles and eliminated part of the lactic acid accumulated in the muscles.

Surely the Spanish know and measure their lactate levels regularly. This is not applicable to the amateur athlete, who does not have these resources, but we can use the idea to copy itto feel like Nadal for a while, saving the differences.

Do you run and have you ever felt that your muscle strength in the calf muscles was running out? Maybe that time it was because you hit lactate thresholds. That is, you had more lactic acid than the muscle could handle to work.

If you want to change that, then copy Rafael Nadal and his training sessions. Do easy sessions after the most intense sessions, but not the next day, but immediately afterwards. If you ran for 40 minutes at a fast pace, spend another 20 or 30 minutes at a very easy jog. you will be clearing lactate.

The stationary bike can be used to intensify training, but also for periods of relaxation and cool down.

The tennis player’s HIIT routine

One of the great changes in Rafael Nadal’s training, they say, occurred at the age of 30. At that point he modified his sessions to focus on HIIT routines. The acronyms refer to high intensity interval trainingthat is, high intensity interval training.

This way, certain movements that provide greater long-term resistance are concentrated in a few minutes, more agility and more muscular strength. The principle of HIIT is that the same results can be achieved with a similar total training load, but done in less time.

HIIT has been applied in tennis with interesting results. There is even a variant of the sport that is known as specific intermittent training (SITS). In theory, it is capable of increasing the explosive response capacity, so that the tennis player has greater strength to react to the rapid stimulus of hitting the ball with the racket.

Rafael Nadal uses some machines to complement the HIIT he doessuch as the elliptical or the rower. They both represent a combination of cardio with strength development. Therefore, the result is increased resistance.

To this we must add the classic circuits, which involve traditional exercises with the jump rope and some sprint on uneven plane. Tennis players also have an obligation not to forget about their shoulders, which carry a large part of the movement when hitting the ball. Resistance bands are Nadal’s allies for this purpose.



The core in tennis

Rafael Nadal’s training does not forget the core. No athlete of this level can forget it.

We call by this name in English the central area of ​​the body, which includes the back, the lumbar region and the abdominals. The movements of the discipline involve this region to maintain stability in stretching when reaching balls and for the twist of the trunk that accompanies the hit with the racket.

In almost any sport, the training of the core prevents injuries. Athletes who neglect this section are more at risk of problems as a result of sudden movements that are not compensated in the execution.

Nadal develops this area with push-ups, exercises with resistance bands, pull-ups and the ball. bosu or fitball. The latter is a simple device that contributes to the realization of static postures, ideal for the abdominals and lower back.

The elastic bands are affordable, portable and very useful training instruments for routines at home.

Nadal is an inspiration

Rafa Nadal is an inspiration with his training because shows that at age 35 it is possible to be in the best physical condition. Of course we cannot follow their routines to the letter, but it is possible to take ideas from those things that work.

If we have already passed 30, then it will be interesting to ask for HIIT classes in a gym. Or it may be wise to start with gentle lactate-reducing exercises so you won’t feel sore the next day.

Do you know what Nadal’s other secret is? His mental toughness. Don’t forget to train her either, because without that, physical is not enough.

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