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Physical Preparation - Part 2

How to improve your flexibility

Muscular force, endurance, power

Table tennis is characterized from repeated isotonic contractions of the upper-body and the legs. Because of the high speed and frequency of these contractions, we focus the training on muscular endurance and power. A basic principle for a rationalistic development of these capacities is the "specification" of the training. The load of the exercises on a strength training session should be 30-60% of the maximal force and the number of repetitions more than 15 per set. This is the best way to improve the muscular force and endurance as well as the power. Certain muscles of the body need to be strong enough to enable the weight of the body to be transported as effectively as possible are:

  • The thighs (quadriceps, biceps) and the calf muscles need to be strong to move the body frame. Half squat, leg extension, lunges and lying leg curl as well as standing and seating calf machine are good exercises for the development of the leg muscles.

  • The abdominal and the lower back muscles are an important factor in maintaining movement so as to ensure a good continuation in the build up when playing a stroke. Sit-ups, leg raises, crunches, as well as twisting and hyperextensions help to improve the strength of the trunk region.

  • The racket arm must move as quickly and effectively as possible. The forearm muscles have to be flexible and strong so that quick powerful movements can be made (especially for serving). Good exercises can be performed with dumpbells for adduction, abduction, extension and flexion of the wrist joint. An important point here is the use of very light weights to avoid the stiffening of the wrist joint.

Flexibility

The ability to move joints through a full range of motion is important in table tennis. Increased flexibility helps the player to move more freely, to increase the range of some particular movements and also to decrease the chance of injury. On the contrary, loss of flexibility because of the stiffening of the exercising muscles can result in a reduction of movement efficiency and may increase the chance of injury. Flexibility can be improved with stretching exercises. The main load of the stretching exercises in table tennis should be given in the flexors and extensors of the forearm, the muscles of the upper arm and the shoulder girdle as well as the ones of the trunk region and the legs (quadriceps, biceps, thigh adductors and calves).

Dimosthenis Messinis
Denis' Table Tennis World



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