Novak Djokovic: All About His Training, Yoga, and Stretching Routine
Novak Djokovic is one of the greatest tennis players of all time. His success is due, in large part, to his commitment and consistency when it comes to training. One of the key aspects of his preparation is flexibility. To achieve it, Djokovic focuses on a combination of yoga, stretching, and tennis-specific training.
Despite the many obstacles he’s faced in his career, such as burnout and fatigue, Djokovic has managed to stay at the top of the tennis game through lifestyle changes. If you’re inspired by his story, you can follow his example and try some of these principles in your own training.
The importance of flexibility in tennis
In tennis, flexibility is important to allow for high-intensity and explosive movements, such as jumps, spins, and changes of direction. Lack of flexibility, on the other hand, can hinder these movements and limit the players’ range on the court. In short, it affects the ability to compete on equal terms with other elite tennis players.
This is explained in the article published by The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, which also justifies how flexibility, especially in tennis, is of vital importance to prevent injuries in players. The high physical demand that this sport requires is a risk factor for injury.
Djokovic has worked hard to optimize his flexibility through training and yoga. Let’s learn more about the relevant work he does off the courts to stay in shape.
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Djokovic’s training routine
The 35-year-old tennis player doesn’t stop working out for a single day. Here, we’ll tell you what his elite routine is based on that has helped him get where he is.
To start his workout regimen, Novak Djokovic focuses his attention on warming up. To do so, he starts with light jogging or a bike ride, gradually increasing the intensity.
Then, he proceeds with some stretching exercises, such as the following:
- Inverted hamstring stretch
- Lunges with a lateral tilt
- Squat thrusts
- Reverse lunges
- Scissor lunges
This can be part of your warm-up and stretching routine, with movements that mimic those normally performed in tennis. The combination of cardiovascular exercise and dynamic stretching adequately prepares Djokovic for his rigorous matches and helps keep his body in top condition.
After his stretching workout, Novak begins tennis practice with his coaches, which lasts at least two hours, and sometimes much longer. Before a tournament, the elite athlete makes his on-court workouts more intense.
Weights and strength training
Djokovic knows that, in addition to flexibility, a professional tennis player also requires a great deal of arm and shoulder strength to be able to hit accurately. For this, his training regimen includes push-ups, pull-ups, tricep pull-ups, and bench presses.
In addition, a tennis player also needs lower body strength and stability so that he can move quickly around the court. To do this, Djokovic performs exercises such as the following:
- Box jumps
- Lateral lunges
- Barbell squats
An article published by the Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte explains that strength training, in combination with exercises designed for tennis, is the most effective in improving the physical condition of tennis players. Over other alternatives.
Meditation is a practice that connects you with the here and now. In athletes, it has become increasingly important to help your concentration on the court.
A study published in BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine found that mindfulness-based interventions in athletes even improve their physiological and psychological parameters. As a result, they concentrate better on the game and have optimized performance.
Djokovic knows this very well. For many years he started practicing mindfulness and yoga as part of his daily routine.
This helps him to increase his awareness of the court and to work on his weaknesses. In addition, Djokovic practices tai chi, which promotes flexibility, balance, and agility; these are fundamental skills in high-level tennis.
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Healthy recovery time
Novak Djokovic understands the importance of regeneration in his training. Therefore, he puts a lot of emphasis on it.
For the tennis player, if the body isn’t respected when tired or sick, it won’t be possible to maintain the necessary level of fitness. Getting a massage or performing foam roller exercises are an important part of his recovery routine, both before and after matches.
A study conducted by the British Journal of Sports Medicine explained the different recovery methods used to improve performance in tennis. Among them is the use of cold treatments, something Djokovic often employs after his games or when he has an injury.
In addition, Novak spends a lot of time inside a personal hyperbaric chamber, which serves to increase blood oxygen levels and improve his circulation. Theoretically, it accelerates muscle recovery after the wear and tear of each day.
In this way, the tennis player ensures that he gives his body the time and care it needs to stay in shape and face the challenges of the highest levels of competition.
Novak Djokovic’s diet
Diet is a fundamental part of any athlete’s life and Novak Djokovic is no exception. In addition to being one of the best tennis players in the world, the Serb is also known for his rigorous eating plan and healthy lifestyle.
One of the particularities of Djokovic’s diet is that it’s gluten-free. Although he doesn’t have celiac disease, the tennis player discovered that he had a gluten intolerance that affected his performance on the court and his overall health.
So, several years ago, he decided to eliminate the gluten protein from his diet. Since then, he’s noticed a great improvement in his physical and mental performance.
Djokovic has been very open about how eliminating gluten has improved his life and career. He’s said that he feels lighter and more energetic, and that his focus and concentration on the court also evolved.
Her diet also includes organic and nutrient-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and fish. He avoids ultra-processed foods and refined sugars.
The goal is always to get to the next level
Novak Djokovic’s conditioning routine is the perfect combination of on-court training and off-court fitness exercises. His customized regimen, which focuses on strength, endurance, and flexibility, is what drives him to the top of the tennis world.
In addition, his focus on regeneration and recovery after a match is key to his long-term success. Added to that, his gluten intolerance led him to adopt a wheat-free diet, which has supposedly allowed him to reduce the levels of inflammation in his body. But beyond all that, his diet is based on whole foods that are rich in nutrients and low in added sugars.
Ultimately, to be an elite tennis player like Djokovic, it takes not only skill on the court, but also a total commitment to physical training, recovery, and healthy habits. If you want to improve your performance and even your own tennis game, adopting some aspects of Novak’s routine could be a great place to start.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- de Queiroz, M. J. M., Tubagi, P. L. F., Luksevicius, R. R., de Jesus M. M. L., Sales, B. D., & Figueira, J. A. (2020). Muscle strength training and prescribing in competitive tennis players: A systematic review. Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte. https://www.scielo.br/j/rbme/a/KJgZQm5x6HZyTgMzCwYhcJn/?lang=en
- Eat to win: Novak Djokovic reveals more about his gluten-free diet. Tennis.com. Consultado el 21 de abril de 2023. Disponible en: https://www.tennis.com/baseline/articles/eat-to-win-novak-djokovic-reveals-more-about-gluten-free-diet-bbc-interview
- Hoja, S., & Jansen, P. (2019). Mindfulness-based intervention for tennis players: a quasi-experimental pilot study. BMJ open sport & exercise medicine, 5(1), e000584. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6733327/
Kovacs, M. S., & Baker, L. B. (2014). Recovery interventions and strategies for improved tennis performance. British journal of sports medicine, 48 Suppl 1(Suppl 1), i18–i21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3995240/
- Sobel, J., Ellenbecker, E. T., & Roetert, P. (1995). Flexibility training for tennis. Strength and Conditioning, 17(6), 43-51. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/245762630_Flexibility_Training_for_Tennis