Novak Djokovic is currently the number one tennis player in the world as ranked by the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) and is considered to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time. He is also thought by many to be the fittest in the sport, as well as the fittest athlete on the planet. So, how did he manage to achieve this level of greatness, even though only as recently as 2010 he was collapsing while playing due to, what many thought, was poor conditioning?
Novak Djokovic’s problems with gluten
In his book “Serve to Win: The 14-Day Gluten-Free Plan for Physical and Mental Excellence”, he reminisces about the many moments when his body simply gave up in the middle of the match. He and his trainers knew something was wrong, but they couldn’t quite put their finger on what the main cause was and wrongly attributed it to either allergies or asthma, or simply due to poor conditioning.
After a while, they found out that he had dairy and gluten intolerances and that his nutrition regimen was the reason he was experiencing difficulties on the court. His diet was quickly re-adapted to his intolerance and the problems went away.
He was sure that his misdiagnosed condition had cost him some championships where he couldn’t compete in optimal condition, particularly the 2012 Australian Open in which he lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. He also considers this the lowest point in his career, but since then it has cemented his resolve to approach the fitness component of his training. This helped him achieve the levels of sportsmanship, once his nutrition was put in order.
He started training for 14 hours per day, which included practicing every morning and afternoon, lifting weights, running or riding a bike and lots of mobility work. The constant traveling did not impede much with his training regimen. One example is that he continued his practice even in Abu Dhabi, in its scorching heat and high humidity.
While his training regimen and diet advice may not make a lot of sense for a regular athlete, Novak offers some advice that might apply to the overall fitness population as well and can have a tremendous impact on your overall level of fitness, athletic ability and quality of life. The new training and diet principles that he started following have had a huge effect on his game and efforts to achieving top level status in world tennis.
What we’ll explain in this article is Novak Djokovic advice on training, foam rolling, stretching, yoga, how his use of the “egg pod” helps him with his overall fitness and the minimum dose of effective workout one can complete in about 20 minutes or less.
Modern life has created sedentary lifestyles, however humans have evolved to endure great physical exertion, so it’s no wonder that you feel a lot happier after you’ve finished exercising. It’s the same rush of dopamine your ancestors felt. Let’s try and make it a lifestyle!
The Novak Djokovic Training Routine – Stretching and Achieving Real Flexibility
Before starting the match, Djokovic does a routine consisting of thorough body warm-up and stretching. He begins with either a light run or a bike ride until his body warms up sufficiently and then starts a dynamic stretch routine.
The dynamic stretch is different from the static stretch in that in static stretching you are supposed to assume a fixed position and hold that position for a certain amount of time, whilst with a dynamic stretch you are trying to simulate a movement done in everyday life. The way he does that is by doing a 5-minute jog or riding a stationary bike, after which he proceeds with 10-15 reps of the following list of exercises, with no rest between them:
- Inverted hamstring stretch
- Squat thrusts
- Jumping jacks
- Reverse lunge with backward reach
- Lunge with side bend
- Walking high knees
- Low side-to-side lunge
- Walking high kicks
Being a top level athlete means you are surrounded by a team of people following you around, making sure that you are functioning at the optimal rate to deliver the best results possible. A part of the team is a masseuse with which he works daily and whose massages help him with his muscles recovering faster after a grueling match.
Unfortunately, this is not the case for the vast majority of athletes, let alone regular people. However, using a foam roller onto different muscles of your body can have a similar effect in regards to the loosening up of connective tissue around the muscles and lowering the stiffness, which in turn increases the overall mobility of your muscles and joints.
Here’s another list of exercises which he recommends. Do each exercise for 20 seconds and pause additional 10 seconds on any problematic areas you might encounter:
- Calf roll
- Glutes roll
- Lower-back roll
- Upper-back roll
- Hamstring roll
- IT band roll
- Quadriceps/hip flexors roll
- Shoulder blades roll
Novak Djokovic and Yoga – entering the spiritual dimension
Djokovic is also a yoga practitioner and highly recommends it. You need not be an expert at it to reap the benefits. Just do some of the most basic poses to help you loosen up your body and relax. You can do that post-workout or before you do to sleep. We have chosen the following poses that will give you a good stretch in all parts of your body and make you much calmer and relaxed. You should hold each position for 30 seconds and gradually increase that to a minute. Take deep breaths while you are doing them:
- Downward dog
This list doesn’t include any strength movements or conditioning work. For those who have a tight schedule and want to add strength training in their workout routine, we’ve got you covered later in this article, but first a bit more exotic “tip”:
The “Egg” Pod
We’ve all heard of the millions of things celebrities use to look young and fit. Most of the time it’s a specific diet and training regimen regulated by a team of personal trainers and nutritionists, although some celebrities come up with all sorts of ludicrous ideas. These of course cost a huge amount of money and are beyond the reach of regular people. One such thing is the CVAC fitness pod.
That’s one part of his training rehabilitation that he rarely mentions, but has received a lot of publicity because he uses it frequently. He says it increases his endurance and performance abilities in a natural and faster way.When he says “natural”, he means without illegal substances such as s******s or any other kind of chemical, although the cost of the “egg” is something one would call a nature walk.
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