You don’t need to be a professional player to get something out of the cardio tennis session at Clark Francis Tennis. Whether you play tennis regularly or not, this circuit training-style cardio workout is ideal for getting your heart rate up, and if you do play either recreationally or professionally, the session will help improve your footwork and strengthen the muscle groups you use most during a match.
The workout has been designed to help players build their endurance and staying power on the court, and to avoid a dip in energy towards the end of a game, but is just as effective if your goal is merely to take up a different kind of activity in your bid to get in shape.
I’ve opted to give the cardio tennis training a try, even though it has been a good 17 years since my last tennis lesson, and at least three years since I last played with friends on one of the local courts in The Springs. When I arrive for my session, Jon Guntley, tennis director at Clark Francis Tennis, greets me and walks me through what to expect on The Aviation Club’s court three, before beginning with a warm-up jog and some dynamic stretching.
As I’m part of a small group, a number of circuit training-style exercise stations have been set up along one side of the court, though Guntley explains that for a larger group there would be stations on both sides to make sure no-one is ever sitting out during a round of exercise.
The first station is tennis-based, and I’m relieved to hear he won’t be expecting me to ace this, but simply return three serves, one of which must be backhand. We repeat this until I’ve hit (or not, in this case) 12 serves, then it’s time to move quickly onto the next station. Picking up a 2kg dumbbell in each hand, I’m required to lift each out to my side, forearms outstretched, until my elbows are in line with my shoulders, all while squatting. I can only move on when the person behind me has finished on the tennis station. We progress through the circuit quickly, spending around a minute at each station, moving from toe taps and skipping to plank and rapid steps through an agility ladder, before starting again.
This is definitely a varied workout, and uses most muscle groups at some point. Immediately after the session, I feel like taking on the challenge of a tennis lesson for the first time in more than a decade, so it’s safe to say this cardio session will work wonders for your staying power if you’re already in the game. And if you’re not, it’s still a great way to get out of a gym rut and get motivated.
Dhs75 per session, Sun and Wed at 8pm. Clark Francis Tennis, Tennis Stadium, Garhoud (04 282 4540)
Other tennis venues around town
If you’re looking to improve your game or simply get a rally going with a friend, try one of these local courts
Le Méridien Dubai
These courts, located in the hotel’s fitness centre, are floodlit by night, so you can still play after work.
Dhs100 per hour. Airport Road, Garhoud (04 217 0000)
Meydan Tennis Academy
It’s not all horsing around at this Nad Al Sheba spot. You can either sign up for tennis lessons, or just book a court to yourself.
Dhs100 per hour. Meydan, Nad Al Sheba (04 381 3333)
Take advantage of the outdoor courts next door to The Lakes Garden Nursery in Emirates Hills. No booking required – just turn up and wait your turn.
Free. open to Lakes residents only. The Lakes, Emirates Hills (no number)