Ping pong is a racket sport that can be defined as a physically intensive activity. It demands its players to have a strong stamina, or else you could have really severe injuries. Similar to any other game out there, ping pong also requires you to follow a particular fitness program and lifestyle changes in order to last on that ping pong table!
Your body muscles, tendons, and ligaments need to be flexible and fit enough to handle quick movements. Needless to say, every ping pong player attends practice sessions, but what else is necessary? Are there any specific eating habits to follow? Any specific exercises that could help you build stamina? Let us see:
Ping pong is all about short sprints!
When you hear the word “ping pong” what activity do you picture first? That’s right- sprints! Ping pong game is all about intensive and short sprints with intervals in between. And, that’s exactly how you should perform sprint training!
Make sure you practice for powerful and speedy sprints with little resting time. Such sprint training will strengthen your muscles and also cause overall fat loss. Overweight and inflexible muscles are two major reasons of slow sprint speed.
Ping pong players need to master the skills of hitting and responding to the stroke. And, this is only possible when your arms and leg muscles are amply strong.
Another huge advantage of sprint training is that your cardiovascular health also improves. Running errands without taking any rest will lower your muscle strength, whereas sprint training makes you respond fast!
Don’t skip Lateral Training:
Nothing is more annoying than you not being able to change directions quickly in your game. Proper coordination and flexible change of your body’s directions are two major winning shots. And that’s exactly what lateral training does to your body!
Exercising side by side trains your body to improve its limb strength, stamina, balancing abilities and stability as well. Include lateral jumping and squatting in your exercise routine to make your movements more flexible and faster.
Strengthening your legs:
The strength of your legs decides your win in ping pong matches. Include jumping workouts into your daily exercise routine to enhance the stability and strength of your leg muscles, its tendons, and ligaments. Jumping is an activity that will help you work on your muscle coordination!
Something for your arms!
Just like leg strength, your arms also ought to be strong and flexible to handle shots with ease. Different arm exercises will train you to increase the speed of arm movements and make them flexible. The more you train, faster will be your movements in the game. Note that!
Make “speed” and “frequency” your main focus points during these training sessions. Resistance training works best in strengthening your bones and connective tissues (ligaments and tendons).
Now, that was all about physical training. But what about your diet? If you have been practicing sincerely, yet are unable to see any progress in your game, you know it’s time to change your diet.
We always tend to underestimate the significance of healthy and nutritious diet plan. As a ping pong player, you certainly have to switch your lifestyle and embrace healthy diet to improve your game.
So, what kinds of foods work best for you?
Foods that boost your energy levels:
Ping pong game requires you to be highly active. And, the amount of calories you burn during a standard ping pong match (over 500 kcal) is way more than what is burned with 1 hour of brisk walking.
That is exactly why you feel like your energy levels are draining as you reach the end of the game. This is only the case for players who don’t monitor what they are eating. If you are skipping foods that boost your energy levels, then you are missing out on something really valuable!
Try to focus on carbohydrates! Carbohydrates should occupy about 60% of your meal. During a ping pong match, energy supplied to your body mainly comes from glycogen stored in your muscles. If you consume carbohydrates adequately, they will be utilized to replenish this storage. All in all, carbs will boost your energy levels during a game.
Want to know amazing sources of carbohydrates? Whole grain cereals (wheat, oats) and brown rice work as an excellent booster of energy levels. Apart from this, whole-wheat pasta, whole-grain bread must also be included in your daily meals. You could also go for almonds, honey, sweet potatoes, apples, etc. to boost energy.
Carbs are really important for your game!
Few examples of meals you could take 24-hours prior to your ping pong match are baked potatoes with cheese (low-fat), pancakes with maple syrup, oats with milk and dry fruits, banana roll-ups, etc.
Foods that enhance your reflexes:
Quick action and reaction is a must during any ping pong match. Your reflexes need to be highly active and responsive. That’s where food’s role of enhancing your brain power comes in!
Try to include olive oil and coconut oil while cooking your foods. Fruits that are rich in antioxidants such as grapes, berries are also very remarkable. Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary to maintain your brain’s health for long period of time. So, don’t forget to eat foods like walnuts, eggs, and salmon that are excellent for your mind.
Developing Lean muscles!
Many people actually are unaware of the fact that being good at ping pong needs you to develop muscles! That does not mean you got to have huge bulking muscles, but building lean muscle is a must!
For that, protein is what you need the most. Protein not only helps to repair muscles but also creates new muscle fibers. Moreover, when the glycogens in your muscles are drained out, protein acts as a backing fuel.
Now you know the importance of protein as a player? At least 15% of your calories must come from protein. Hence, as a basic guideline, try to consume 1.2 grams of protein per kg/body.
Fish, poultry, and eggs are main sources of protein. Plus, chickpeas, nuts, and lentils also work excellently.
Stay hydrated no matter what!
Eating healthy food and following a nutritious diet is not enough when your body is dehydrated! And take heed, juices are not always as hydrating as the main star itself viz. water! Make sure you drink about 6 to 8 glasses of water every day.
As you sweat, your body loses a lot of water during ping pong matches. Dehydration might cause players to lose concentration and even faint in some cases. So, stick to hydration.