Venus Williams is a natural when it comes to swinging a racket on the tennis court. But being an Olympic gold medalist and a Wimbledon champion also takes hard work. Williams does whatever it takes during training to make sure she’s at the top of her game. That means regular conditioning for strength, flexibility, and plenty of cardio. “If I were to pick one [workout], it would be lots of cardio,” Williams tells SELF in an interview for the spring 2017 launch of her EleVen clothing line. “You can’t do your best at your match if you’re out of shape.” But there’s one type of cardio that she isn’t a big fan of: long-distance running. We totally understand. Running miles on a treadmill can get boring, and a marathon outdoors can be tedious. But Williams found a way to make her gym sessions fly by.
“I’m not a good distance runner, but I enjoy fast-paced plyometrics and sprints,” Williams says. Fast and explosive, plyometrics—or jump training—can be an effective way to build endurance, improve balance, and increase strength. “It’s a lot more intriguing and makes the time go by a lot faster,” Williams says. It’s easy to integrate plyometric moves into your own workout. But keep in mind: Plyo is not ideal for newbies and is best practiced at the beginning of your workout—when your muscles are fresh. Plus, it’s best to wait 48 hours between plyometric sessions to save your joints. At home, you can try burpees, jumping lunges, or a single-leg deadlifts with a hop. (Get more ideas from this 15-minute at-home workout).
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The best part about plyometric exercise is that it only takes 10 to 15 minutes a few times per week to make a difference, which definitely comes in handy for a busy athlete like Williams. In addition to killing it on the court, Williams just launched her Intrepid collection from her EleVen clothing line. The styles include athletic tops, bottoms, and accessories in fun prints and bright colors all designed by Williams. And the 36-year-old already knows exactly which items she’ll be wearing during the upcoming BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden on March 6. But choosing the right outfit is just one part of how Williams is preparing for the big tennis match.
“I try to visualize what my goals are, but more than anything, I just want to be confident and relaxed,” Williams says. “That’s when your best comes out, and you feel good about you.” Between her clever workout tips, smart mental training, and cool sportswear, we know Williams will kill it on the court.
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