Saturday, February 21, 2009

Weight Training for the Modern Tennis Player

The argument is being made that current tennis players, unlike those of the past, are doing a lot of weight training and use this to explain the sudden change in the physique of your average tennis player. (If anyone has access to a specific weight training workout of any "suspect" top player - please bring it on). Let's take a look at something. Below is a picture of Rachel McLish, the world champion female body builder from the early 1980's (she was in a very interesting documentary called Pumping Iron II: The Women).

Now, it is widely felt that Rachel McLish is the last woman bodybuilder who did not use steroids. In fact, as soon as the beefed up steroid users came on the scene, she retired, stating she could not compete with them. So we can see pretty much the maximum amount of muscle that a woman is going to be able to build by spending most of her waking hours in the gym pumping iron. She has some good muscle definition all around, but you might find it surprising that she was the world champion.

Somehow, we are expected to believe that a woman who does a little weight training to enhance her tennis power could look like this:

Serena would not only win the pose down, World Champion Rachel McLish would be laughed off the stage. This shows to what extent we have been bombarded by images of steroid enhanced female athletes. A body like this seems to raise no eyebrows.  We have lost our sense of the natural body of a female athlete.


  1. I totally agree. I love the fact that you go back to Rachel McLish. Tennis is totally ignoring the drug situation. There are no records in tenis like baseball, so they figure why stop the money from flowing in?

  2. Let me see if I have your argument correct. Because Rachel McLish was the last verifiably steroid-free bodybuilder, every woman who is larger and more defined than Rachel is, de facto, on steroids. Rachel McLish was 5'5" and 129 lbs - even smaller than Chris Evert!

    Anyway, I believe that some tennis players have used or are using steroids. It's top-level competition and doping follows all professional sports.

    You would think "Tennis Has a Steroid Problem" would have unearthed something more in-depth to bolster its case, but the evidence you present is so lazy, it actually undermines your thesis. If someone with a blog devoted entirely to tennis doping has found no hard -- or even circumstantial -- evidence, it implies that there is, in fact, very little steroid abuse on the ATP and WTA tours.

    I guess what I'm saying is: Don't just go onto tennis sites and throw bombs. If this is an issue you truly care about, you should try harder than that to collect the evidence your missing to persuade others.

  3. oh dear.

    so, serena, who was famously out of shape and who is a big big girl, goes to the gym and emerges with some pecs. STEROIDS!!

    the natural body of a female athlete. and who's definition would that be? yours? who defines what this "natural" will look like? you?

    after reading through your "evidence" on these pages it's nothing more than speculation. by your reasoning bowflex is lying because there's no way in hell somebody can look like these people by working out. all those bowflex people are obviously on STEROIDS!

    knee problems. the number one reason people quit sports, at all levels of play. from the weekend warrior to the pro's.
    all of these people of course, are on STEROIDS! there's no other explanation.

    the type of body. again, who defines this? you? if they don't look like the typical athlete of their sport then they are on STEROIDS! no other explanation need be entertained. you have decided.

    a fact would be nice to have. one will do. i'll wait. until then you can speculate all you want. it's your right. go ahead. spout off like there's a fact involved. you'd make a great conservative.

    innocent until proven guilty. here's a clue: PROVEN.

    what rubbish.

  4. What people need to take into account is the player's busy schedule in a year-around sport. When would one have the time to build large muscles?

  5. Perhaps you should post picture of the old champions from the past. Show the old Chris Evert and Tracy Austin. How about a pic of Sam Stosur BEFORE roids? And one more thing, get pictures of typical college tennis players that all lift weights and see what they look like. They all carry a lot of fat. Roids adds muscles and reduces fat to the point where this vascularity is so evident. Normal, non-juicing humans aren't like that.

  6. wow, u really touched a nerve with some of these morons.

  7. "after reading through your "evidence" on these pages it's nothing more than speculation. by your reasoning bowflex is lying because there's no way in hell somebody can look like these people by working out. all those bowflex people are obviously on STEROIDS!"

    do u really have any idea how ridiciulous u sound?

    "a fact would be nice to have. one will do. i'll wait. until then you can speculate all you want. it's your right. go ahead. spout off like there's a fact involved. you'd make a great conservative.

    innocent until proven guilty. here's a clue: PROVEN."

    i'm sorry, but i really have to show u just how stupid u are.

    no one said these people ARE on steroids... just that they MIGHT be... and some other people, REALLY might be. that's a rudimentary explanation of relativity but i really don't think you could understand a more complex explanation.

    so it's nice to know that u watch csi or law & order, but that "innocent until proven guilty" or "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" stuff doesn't really apply here. you see, the person responsible for this site is just theorizing based on his/her medical knowledge and experience. an "educated guess" if that makes it more simple for you.

    besides, just because it hasn't been proven yet doesn't mean that it is not true. i could just as easily say the burden of proof is on you and that the people in question are "guilty until proven innocent" (certain non-american judicial systems operate that way fyi)

    so really, you saying "prove that she used" and me saying "prove that she didn't use" really doesn't have any meaning here. this is a forum of public opinion, not a courtroom. of course, if serena or anyone else was tried in a court, she would (most likely) be found innocent... but we're not interested in that here. we're just interested in knowing if she did in fact use or not. and in that case, ignoring circumstantial evidence just means that you are ignorant.

    here's a clue: OPEN YOUR EYES

  8. Do you think her US Open explosion towards the line judge could be best described as ' Roid Rage ? ' Isn't it possible ?

  9. I love your website!
    My kids are excellent junior tennis players and family just does not do drugs. And I wish my kids could have the chance to dream about competing professionally. But we don't cheat. It would be a dream if they kicked the cheaters off the tour.

    My dad worked hard all his life, he is strong as an ox and his muscles never looked remotely like the pictures you show here.

    Keep up the good work!

  10. You are missing a couple of things here.

    1 The number of women who get into bodybuilding is a very small percentage of women. To say that Rachel McLish is the top possible drug free body is impossible because there just isn't a good sample size of women to study.

    2 Some people are naturally large. Serena also happens to be 5"10. Venus is 6"2. most women are not even close to that size. Are there some drugs they took to get that tall that we just don't know about? Serena even as a girl of 16 winning the US Open was muscular then. She is naturally a muscular woman.

    You should right about something you know about. Steroids is obviously not it.

  11. Bringing together all the information regarding proactol has been a huge task and we've enjoyed every minute of it. Do go through what we have here, we're sure you'll find it very enlightening.

  12. The writer never mentioned anything about height. The writer is merely going back to the last woman world body-building champ who was verifiably not juiced, and showing Serena Williams' physique (nothing to do with her height), her PHYSIQUE to trump that of Rachel McLish. Now body builders devote their lives 24/7 to their physique, as that is their job. Not hitting a ball, running, or doing anything other than flashing their physique. They lift weights all day long, the way tennis players hit balls all day long, and Serena's physique just blows Rachel's out of the arena. As 1 that's got a mad crush on great big huge women of West Coast African descent, Venus Williams' looks natural, Serena Williams' does not.

  13. Wow, some people really are stupid! It's something called genetics! I did bodybuilding, drug free and built a lot of muscle, I'm naturally muscular. My daughter is 6 and since she was a baby had a noticable toned shape. But now as a young girl, she has toned defined arms, legs and abdominals. That is due to genetics. Some people are genetically fat, some people are genetically thin, some lean, some tall and some short. I think some of you need some educating! Also Serena is bigger because she has a bigger frame, and more bodyfat (take note her large breasts, thighs and bottom) Rachel was around 15% bodyfat there (small breasts and low fat all over) she was also originally a dancer so she was petite to begin with. Although she looks built in that picture because she us posing pulling our all her muscles but she was in fact very small. If you saw her in clothes she'd look smaller than your average girl. So one, bad comparison and two, you know nothing about bone structure, body building, body type or diet!