Working Out with Roger Federer
The 23-year-old from Switzerland is the best player in the world, and he's training hard to keep it that way.
Does anything bother Roger Federer? The young Swiss is unflappable on the court, unfazed by his No. 1 ranking, and he even gets a kick out of his fitness work. "I'm not thinking about anything when I work out", Federer says. "I just see the light at the end of the tunnel. When you're with good friends, training can also be a lot of fun." In fact, the smooth-stroking Federer has found that the more work he does off the court, the easier he can make the game look on it. While he's hardly a muscleman, he spends plenty of time in the gym. "I like lifting weights," says the two-time Grand Slam champion, "but tennis players do a lot of different kinds of exercises- gym, muscle training, sprints; footwork, coordination. I like to mix it up."
As the biggest target on the men's tour, Federer needs any edge he can get. And when it comes to the nuts and bolts of training, he likes to have as much information as possible. "I just need to understand why I'm doing the work I have to do on court and in the gym," he says. "Once I understand, training isn't really a problem for me. You can't have a bigger motivation to play well than I do already." I want to maintain No. 1, win Wimbledon again, and play well at the Olympics. I have a lot of goals left in my career."
The current fury on the ATP tour over dietary supplements and trace readings of steroids seems to have passed the clean-living Federer. Because he plays so many matches, he has become the most tested man in the sport, having undergone more than 20 drug screenings in the last year. Still, he seems less concerned about the controversy than most of his colleagues. "I'm not scared, I know that I'm 200-percent fit," Federer says. "I'm just trying to do the best I can for my game."
Like most of the top players, Federer and his team, which includes traveling fitness trainer Pierre Paganini and Basel-based physiotherapist Pavel Kovac, keep the workouts light over the course of a tournament week, while bearing down at home in Basel. "When I'm at home, I'll play on court and work out for about four hours every day." Federer says. "At a tournament, it's much less. There, I just need to make sure that I'm 100 percent for every match that I play."
As far as his training meals go, Federer is careful about what he eats while he's on the road, but he loosens up a bit off it. "I try to make sure I eat correctly. But when I'm in Switzerland, I don't watch it so much. I want to give myself a treat occasionally." At right are two exercises from Federer's routine that will help you with your balance and overall strength.
LATERAL LUNGES WITH TWIST
Works the glutes, obliques, and torso. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. (1) Lunge with your left leg out at a 45- degree angle, then (2) lower your upper leg and twist the left side of your torso forward. Hold, return to starting position, and repeat with right leg. Do 10 times on each side. As you get stronger, place a barbell with little or no weight on it across your shoulders.
MEDICINE BALL TOSS
Improves agility and strengthens core and upper body. Stand across the net from a partner, with both of you at the singles sideline, about halfway back to the service line. Moving quickly across the court with shuffle steps, pass a medicine ball of comfortable weight back and forth, keeping the ball at chest level. Go from sideline to sideline three times.