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Racquet Sports for Cross-Training

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Tennis, squash, and racquetball all offer similar workouts but at different intensities, all with a focus on short sprints. This is fine for building strength in the quadriceps and buttocks, but doesn't do much for aerobic conditioning. This is especially true of doubles tennis which requires less constant motion than singles. In general, consider these sports more of a fun option than a major aerobic workout.

Not that you can't get some good conditioning out of these sports. Play at as high a level of intensity as you can with as little rest as possible between volleys. Squash and racquetball, while short on free public courts, tend to offer more intense workouts because of the speed of play. A 60-minute squash game, for example, is roughly the workout equivalent of a run between five and eight miles long.

Because of the stop-and-start nature of all of these sports, they are very high impact. And the constant pivoting tends to cause you to bear much of your weight up on your toes. These two factors may conspire to make things uncomfortable for you if you are suffering from shin splints or Achilles tendinitis. Go carefully.

The great thing about all of these sports, though, is that you can play them with as much intensity -- or leisure -- as you like. No matter where you might be in your training, you and your partner can adjust the intensity of your play to an appropriate level.


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