As a beginner, it may not feel particularly important for you to focus on your fitness, but as you advance and become a more skilled player, being physically fit can up your game.
Footwork is central to table tennis. This sport involves explosive anaerobic movements, which requires you to have high anaerobic fitness – where your body can contract muscles without burning oxygen. This means engaging in training to increase your leg strength.
The game also requires its players to be quick on their feet and achieve split-second reaction times. You would have to be able to anticipate your opponent’s moves, react with lateral movements and quickly recover to a stable position. This means balance, agility and coordination are key to having an edge over competitors and to successfully return shots.
You will also be making short bursts of movements throughout the game. So you want to ensure you are doing the right drills to increase your endurance as you would need the stamina to last through several games in order to get through a single match.
When training and practising drills, it’s important that players mimic the movements made in table tennis. We list some exercises you can incorporate into your training programme:
Exercises to improve conditioning
1. Short sprints
Table tennis requires explosive leg power, which in turn requires strength and limb speed. Sprinting helps you achieve this and much more. It builds lean muscle mass, reduces body fat, aids anaerobic fitness and increases endurance. Through sprinting, you train your fast-twitch muscles – the very muscles that help you move fast. The more you train this group of muscles, the faster you get.
Try doing several rounds of short-distance sprints of 10m, 20m, 30m and 40m. Repeat several sets of these distances and ensure you are taking adequate rests in between each sprint.
2. Jumping exercises
To also increase your explosive leg power, you need to build strong quads and upper leg strength. This enables more dynamic weight transfer to execute power shots. Jumping exercises are a great way to increase dynamic power as well as agility.
Add sets of frog jumps, squat jumps and lunge jumps. For advanced jumping exercises, try plyometrics – where you do jumps on and off boxes. This helps to strengthen tendons and ligaments and develop joint stability.
3. Lateral drills
A majority of the movements in table tennis involve you moving side to side – lateral movement. You would have to be able to make quick movements and recover back to a stable position to be ready to receive the next ball. To improve your ability to anticipate and recover, work on your reaction speed and perfecting your footwork.
Find a partner and work on your footwork together. One person performs a series of side step movements and the other would mirror them as they do it.
4. Burst exercises
To increase agility, and be able to quickly react with your feet, you have to be able to make short bursts of movement. Burst exercises help you build the stamina required to keep on your toes for long periods and not get tired. Do a series of small steps on the spot, as fast as you can, for 30 to 45 seconds.
5. Agility ladder exercises
An agility ladder is an excellent piece of equipment you can also use to help to improve footwork, coordination and, of course, agility. What’s great is that you can perform several agility drills with it, such as the single-foot agility drill or the two-foot agility drill.
6. Practise with a table tennis machine
A table tennis machine is also an excellent way through which you can improve your technique and conditioning. It’s built with intuitive AI technology that allows you to simulate actual sparring. You can calibrate the machine’s various settings, like the ball’s frequency, speed and spin. Improve your footwork, agility and reaction times by practising with Sin Ten’s Table Tennis Machine Newgy Robopong 2055. Apart from assisting to improve timing, it also can help to build stamina.
Browse Sin Ten’s range of table tennis equipment
As you become a more experienced player, the equipment, apparel and shoes that you use will start to matter more. Sin Ten Sports Trading offers a range of high quality table tennis blades, balls, apparel and ping pong tables. Visit our store located at Block 109, Lorong 1 Toa Payoh, Singapore to browse our full collection, Or contact us to find out more.