How should you physically recover after a tennis match?

After a match or an intensive training session, the physical recovery phase is essential for making progress. There are several things that can be done to help recovery: active recovery, diet (including hydration), cold (shower, ice bath or cryotherapy) and massage. These different techniques will help you achieve optimum recovery and progress with your exercise. Find out the best way to recover physically.


Active physical recovery

The aim of active recovery is to remove toxins, avoid muscle soreness and gradually bring the body back to a resting state. Active physical recovery is going for a jog or a bike ride at a moderate and relaxed pace, with your body as loose as possible. During this exercise, you are at 50 / 60% of your MHR (Maximum Heart Rate if you have a heart rate monitor), so at low intensity for 15 minutes. After your jog or bike ride, you should do some light stretches:

Quadriceps stretch (muscles at the front of the thigh)

While standing, bend your right leg and hold your right foot with your right hand. Bring your right thigh backwards while keeping your pelvis facing forward. Your left leg must stay straight during the stretch. You can use a wall to keep your balance.

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2x 6 seconds per leg.

Hamstring stretch

While standing, stretch out your right leg on the tennis net in front of you (or on a low wall) Lightly tilt your chest forward.

Etirement des ischio-jambiers-récupération physique tennis
2 fois 6 secondes par jambe.

Triceps surae stretch (calf muscle)

Position yourself facing a wall. Put the front of your right foot against the wall about 10 cm high while keeping your heel on the ground. Your left leg must be straight and slightly behind you to keep you balanced. Try to get your body as close as possible to the wall while keeping your foot, pelvis and shoulders aligned.

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3 fois 6 secondes

Finish with a relaxation stretch

Lie down on your back. Slowly stretch your arms and legs as if you want to make yourself taller.

conseils artengo tennis etirement de relaxation récupération physique tennis
3 fois 6 secondes

Physical recovery through rehydration

During this period, hydration is extremely important. Your drink should be mineralised and rich in bicarbonates. Water and sodium for rehydration. Bicarbonates for pH correction (as exercise lowers pH). Quite often forgotten about by sports people, magnesium is essential for the proper functioning of the human body. When it is deficient, recovery takes longer and performance levels drop. Sparkling water is a good source of sodium, magnesium and bicarbonates. Don’t be afraid to drink a lot of it after your tennis match.

Physical recovery through cold

For some years now, more and more top-level athletes have been taking ice baths or undergoing cryotherapy sessions in cool boxes so as to recover more quickly and to reduce muscle damage and inflammation. Even it cryotherapy centres are open to everybody nowadays, it is easier and less costly to apply cold yourself. A cold bath at a temperature of 15 °C, for a few minutes, will lead to a quicker recovery. For more localised applications, you can use ice packs or ice bags. These can be applied for 5 to 15 minutes (Aptonia Ice Pack).

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Recovery through massage

In order to be effective, a sports massage must last between 20 and 30 minutes. Ideally, it should be carried out in a relaxing, temperate and calm place. Avoid noise, drafts and bright light. The direction of the massage is always from the end of the limb towards the base of the limb (for example, for a leg, from the ankle towards the knee; for an arm, from the elbow towards the shoulder).


After stretching:

1/go for a light jog for 15 minutes

2/stretch the hamstrings, quadriceps, calves and back (approximately 6 minutes)

3/take an ice bath or shower (8 minutes)

4/finish with a “relaxing” massage (10 minutes).

Don’t forget to drink sparkling water during this period