Physical Preparation - Part 1

Optimise your physical fitness for table tennis

Because of the complexity of the sport, a well-organised physical training program will have to consist of: (a) the development of cardiovascular endurance, (b) muscular force - endurance - power, (c) speed and (d) flexibility.

1. Cardiovascular endurance
In table tennis the majority of points last around 3-4 seconds. A single game lasts 5-10 minutes and a best of three fluctuates between 10-25 minutes. A match or a tournament day run from about 5 to 15 hours. It is obvious that the energy comes mainly from anaerobic metabolic pathways But also because of the long duration of the matches the basic endurance is necessary. It is gained via the aerobic training.

Anaerobic capacity

  • Short repeated high intensity dashes 30-50 m. with full recovery. The number of repetitions is determined by the athletes' fitness levels, environmental factors, and perhaps other considerations.

  • Gradually accelerated high intensity speed efforts 50-100 m. with a 30-60 seconds rest period between efforts. Sub-maximal repeated speed efforts 200-300 m. The proportion between the effort and the rest period is 1:3.

  • Fartlec training. It involves running among forests and soft surfaces at varying tempos, over various distances, up and down hills, at different running speeds. The difference on the rest intervals, the intensity of the effort made and the distance covered is used also for the development of the aerobic capacity.

Aerobic capacity

A good form of endurance training is long distance running at a steady speed. Depending on the player's existing fitness, the distance can vary from 5-10 km. Concentration should be kept on not varying the pace.

Dimosthenis Messinis
Denis' Table Tennis World


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