Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine


Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2011) 10, 540 - 545
Research article
Physiological Responses to On-Court vs Running Interval Training in Competitive Tennis Players
Jaime Fernandez-Fernandez1,2,, David Sanz-Rivas2,3, Cristobal Sanchez-Muñoz2,4, Jose Gonzalez de la Aleja Tellez2,5, Martin Buchheit6, Alberto Mendez-Villanueva6

1 Department of Training and Exercise Science, Faculty of Sports Science, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany
2 Tennis Performance Research Group, Madrid, Spain
3 Faculty of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, University Camilo Jose Cela, Madrid, Spain
4 Faculty of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, University of Granada, Spain
5 Policlinica MAPFRE, Spain
6 Physiology Unit, Sport Science Department, ASPIRE Academy for Sports Excellence, Doha, Qatar

Jaime Fernandez-Fernandez
✉ Ruhr Universität Bochum; Trainingswissenschaft, Stiepeler Str. 129 UHW/825, 44801 Bochum, GERMANY

18-05-2011 -- Accepted: 19-07-2011 --
Published (online): 01-09-2011


The aim of this study was to compare heart rate (HR), blood lactate (LA) and rate of perceived exertion (RPE) responses to a tennis-specific interval training (i.e., on-court) session with that of a matched-on-time running interval training (i.e., off-court). Eight well-trained, male (n = 4) and female (n = 4) tennis players (mean ± SD; age: 16.4 ± 1.8 years) underwent an incremental test where peak treadmill speed, maximum HR (HRmax) and maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max) were determined. The two interval training protocols (i.e., off- court and on-court) consisted of 4 sets of 120 s of work, interspersed with 90 s rest. Percentage of HRmax (95.9 ± 2.4 vs. 96.1 ± 2.2%; p = 0.79), LA (6.9 ± 2.5 vs. 6.2 ± 2.4 mmol·L-1; p = 0.14) and RPE (16.7 ± 2.1 vs. 16.3 ± 1.8; p = 0.50) responses were similar for off-court and on-court, respectively. The two interval training protocols used in the present study have equivalent physiological responses. Longitudinal studies are still warranted but tennis-specific interval training sessions could represent a time-efficient alternative to off-court (running) interval training for the optimization of the specific cardiorespiratory fitness in tennis players.

Key words: Tennis, heart rate, blood lactate, rate of perceived exertion
Key Points
On-court interval training protocol can be used as an alternative to running interval training
Technical/tactical training should be performed under conditions that replicate the physical and technical demands of a competitive match
During the competitive season tennis on-court training might be preferred to off-court training



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