Spain’s Rafael Nadal just took home the win at this year’s French Open. The 26-year-old tennis player has now tied American player Chris Evert for the most wins among all players. With so many accolades at such a young age, how does Nadal train to stay on top of his game? This champion has a rigorous fitness regimen and clearly it works.
Nadal has won two Wimbledon titles, one U.S. Open title and an Australian Open championship in addition to his seven French Open titles. These aren’t the sort of honors one can just earn with luck, these are earned with sweat equity. Nadal puts deposits plenty of that in the bank regardless if it’s off season, pre-season, or tennis season.
According to Men’s Fitness, Nadal’s typically day begins at 8:30. Soon after he wakes, he hits the tennis court where he plays from 9:30 to 1:30. After a brief break for food and rest, Nadal is in his gym for more training by 4:30 until 7:00 in the evening. Nadal uses the gym for many forms of resistance training routines and uses resistance bands during his gym time. Nadal uses the bands to work his shoulder and rotator cuff, a crucial muscle set for any tennis player. After the gym, one can only assume Nadal is zonked and ready for dinner and bed.
One unique aspect of Nadal’s body is what many refer to as his “Popeye arm.” Nadal’s left arm is bigger than his right. He explains that his left arm is more developed due to his left-handed playing. It’s possibly more common among tennis player than not. Nadal may just get more attention about his “Popeye arm” due to the fact that he has larger arms and biceps than most other tennis players. Nadal claims his arm workouts are the same as most players, despite his larger arms.
Nadal is 6’1” and 188 pounds. He maintains his frame by staying away from meat and avoiding heavy meals. When a match is nearing, Nadal is even more careful with his diet, watching what he’s eating very closely. All this discipline takes place despite his self proclaimed love of chocolate.
Along with the cardio of tennis playing and the strength training in his personal gym, Nadal has a physical therapist stretch him everyday. This is due to Nadal’s belief that stretching is crucial to his health and success.
This young healthy player seems to have a great plan and discipline. Clearly, he’s putting in the work and yielding triumphant results.