The Training Secrets and Regimen of Novak Djokovic

According to some sources, Djokovic spent the bigger part of his 2011 down time in this odd-looking chamber about the size of a small car. By the looks of it, he surely isn’t claustrophobic. The pod itself tries to simulate the effects of a vigorous training session, while adding oxygenated blood to the body and removing the build up of lactic acid and other waste products that accumulate within the body during training.

It works by simulating training at a high altitude by compressing the muscles with a vacuum pump and valves controlled by a computer. It’s been proven to be far more superior in comparison to the hyperbaric chambers used by athletes in the past few years. The pod conditions can be adjusted as per the athlete’s needs to simulate any training they want or need. It helps the body absorb twice as much oxygen as blood doping and it isn’t illegal. These pods have still not be banned by the ATP, but whether their usage will be permitted in the future is yet to be seen.If you are willing to try them out, you can find them in luxurious fitness clubs and rehabilitation facilities, but they are by no means cheap.

Novak Djokovic training routine –  minimal dose of effective training

Most of the recreational players would benefit from a “minimal” training style. What follows is a detailed description of this type of training that will satisfy your training needs and does not need any additional fitness equipment. Time of completion can be about 15 minutes and it is ideal for those who are too busy.

Foam Rolling

Time: 2 minutes

The goal is to alleviate stiffness in joints and muscles, improve mobility and increase tissue quality.

The workout

Myofascial release on both quads, IT band and hip flexors, lasting 30 seconds. If you are pressed for time, only do the tightest spots and those that you know will most likely influence your gym performance. The majority of people who spend a big part of their day sitting need to roll their hip flexors and quadriceps. This is top priority.

Next, the majority of people also have a tight IT band, so it is the next area that needs to be rolled on a foam. You might wonder what an IT band is. It is an acronym of Ilio(hip) and Tibial(shin bone). It is a band of fascia running directly from the outside of the thigh for the length of the femur and inserting just below the knee.

Mobility and Dynamic Warm Up

Time: 3 minutes

After tissue work, the goal is to proceed with a couple of sets of mobility and activation exercises serving to improve the movement patterns

Workout

  • Perform 10 reps of glute bridges and squeeze your glutes for 5 seconds at the top of the movement.
  • Perform 6 reps of reverse lunges with your arms overhead for both legs – it is considered one of the BEST hip flexor exercises
  • Hand walks (6 reps)
  • Walking quad stretch , 6 reps with each leg and squeeze your glutes for 2 seconds

One needs to focus on what muscles need to be stretched and mobilized the most when taking the upcoming workout into consideration. Glute bridges, for example, activate the glutes and stretch the hip flexors. Lunges and all their varieties also mobilize your hip flexors, as well as prepare your body for the workout, activating firing patterns. Hand walks activate your entire body, provide a good stretch in the lower back, hamstrings and calves, while the walking quad stretching makes sure your hip flexors and quads are relaxed and loose before starting some faster movement pattern.

Warm up and neural activation

Time: 3 minutes

Goal: Full body warm up and neural activation

Workout

Skipping rope, consisting of fast skipping for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of slow skipping, then repeating the fast skip again, totaling 3 minutes. In the fast phase, you should move the feet and the rope as fast as possible. You can include side to side switches like a professional boxer alternating his lead legs, b**t kicks, shuffles and high knee raises for the last 5 seconds. In the slow phase, move at a slower pace and do it as any regular rope skipping.

This type of training volume and duration increases the neural activation and slightly increases the body temperature, warming up the body just enough for the upcoming workout. It simply makes you ready for action. If you exceed the workout past 3 minutes, you would start to slow down and the quality of the movements will decrease and you would be basically doing metabolic conditioning.

Kettlebell Swings

Time: 3 minutes

Goal: The actual working part of the workout – endurance training for the glutes and hamstrings and metabolic conditioning

Workout

Perform 100 swings holding a 70-pound kettlebell with both hands without stopping or choose a weight with which you can do 50-100 swings.

Do not underestimate the intensity of this exercise. It may look fun and easy when you observe someone else performing it, but rest assured it will have you huffing and puffing by the time you reach 50 swings, let alone 100. It is most likely that your grip will be the first one to start giving up and begging you to put the weight down. All your other muscles will be screaming at you to stop. Keep at it and don’t give up.

There are numerous ways in which you can train using kettlebell swings. You can incorporate them into your workout in the form of regular sets and reps. Or you can try to finish a specified number of reps within a predetermined time interval. Either choice is fine as long as you follow the progressive overload principle.

Skipping

Time: 3 minutes

The goal is to actually repeat the skipping workout, including additional metabolic conditioning and promoting active recovery at the same time.

Workout

Skip a rope at a medium pace for 3 minutes. Of all the workouts this might be the most “cosmetic”, so if pressed for time it will be the first one you can ditch. However, if you think you have not quite exhausted yourself with the kettlebell swings, you can certainly keep this workout.

Pull aparts with a band

Time: 1 minute

The goal is to counter the negative effects of sitting in your office chair the whole day and introducing some volume work in the upper back muscles, targeting the mid traps and rear delts specifically.

Workout

Perform 100 pull aparts. Do them with your arms straight out in front of your chest, with an overhand grip, the starting position of the arms being at shoulder width. The bands can vary in tension.

Start by pulling back the shoulder blades and proceed pulling your arms apart. At the finishing position the band should touch your chest and your arms should end up on the sides and get slightly behind you. That constitutes one repetition. The way you can keep tension throughout the movement is by never quite returning the band towards the starting position length.

Different arm angles and hand positions will target additional muscle groups, so feel free to play with these variables to find what works best for you. If you happen to be recovering from a serious shoulder injury, you want to be on the safe side, so choosing the little pink band with the least tension, would be the wisest choice. Put your ego aside and start pulling.

Most of the people working office jobs, sit on their chairs all day with a rounded back and shoulders, which causes a weakness in the scapular retractors and external rotators. Considering that the same people have much stronger internal rotators, the need for a corrective exercise is essential. Incorporating 3 or 4 pulling sets as supersets in between your pushing sets might also be a good idea.

Band pull aparts are such an overlooked exercise, yet so phenomenal at the same time that  you should start doing them as soon as possible and make them a staple of your workouts. You can choose to do them whenever you please throughout the day or after the workout. There are literally hundreds of ways in which you can modify the intensity by repositioning your hands, changing hand angles or by changing bands with different levels of tension. It’s also worth mentioning it’s one of the best exercises for improving your posture.

Here are 5 different variations of band pull aparts :

It would be a good idea to go to a commercial gym that has these kinds of bands, so you can test the different tensions they have and get a sense of what is challenging for you if you decide to bye some at that moment. Sporting goods stores are always the best locations to purchase these products from. The tension range in which they differ is enormous.

They also come in different shapes and sizes. They can be in the form of a straight band line with handles at both ends or thick bands completing a full circle. They can also be used in a variety of other resistance/assistance exercises such as squats, deadlifts, bench presses, overhead presses, pull ups, push-ups etc, thus enabling slight modification of the original movement and targeting weak muscle links.

A recap

The entire workout that Novak Djokovic does, outlined above should take you around 15 minutes to complete. The ways in which you can shorten it is by going directly into the 100-swing workout which will last 4 minutes, but first by warming up with 20 swings with a lighter load. Ditching parts of the full workout is not advisable, since they all add up to give you better results in the gym, reduce your risk of injury and make you a happier person overall.


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