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How athletes train: Karolína Pliskova

The training regimen: 

"My gym routine depends on the tournament schedule. I log ninety-minute sessions twice a week if competition is still a few weeks away, then I'll scale my workload back in the days leading up to it.

I focus more on movement patterns like hip hinges, squats, pushes, and pulls than I do on specific body parts. My fitness coach, Azuz Simcich, often has me do push-ups, chin-ups, deadlifts, and split squats. For the core, my favorite exercise is the Turkish get-up because it improves overall strength and stability. Both elements are important for getting to the ball quickly. I maximize the power of my serve by doing a range of medicine ball moves, like overhead throws and slams. 

My on-court training also changes throughout the season. If I’m not competing, I’ll typically practice twice a day for ninety minutes each. I’ll do a bunch of drills that focus on setting up the point, approaching the net, or improving footwork. Once a tournament starts, each practice shortens to essentially a thirty-minute warm-up.

For endurance, I like to run outside rather than use cardio machines. My pace and mileage depend on which energy system we want to target.”

The nutrition regimen: 

“On match days, my breakfast is usually eggs, bread, and fruit. For lunch, I have some pasta with chicken—no sauce. Dinner is typically fish and vegetables. I try to mix it up a bit so I don’t eat the same thing every match day. For example, I’ll sub in risotto for the pasta.

On my day off, I’ll often eat foods I really enjoy, like Knedlíky dumplings, goulash (both staples of Czech cuisine), or pizza. Instead of traditional snacks, I’ll drink a protein shake in the afternoon or after my workout. I don’t eat red meat, so it’s a good way for me to get the macro.”

The recovery regimen: 

“My regular recovery routine consists of light cardio on the stationary bike, stretches, and a 10-minute ice bath. 

For the US Open specifically, I always try to drink enough water during changeovers since heat is an issue for players a lot of the time. I put an energy supplement called Cytomax in my bottle. If it’s extremely hot, I’ll drape an ice towel over my shoulders. After each match, I cool down on the indoor bike without cutting back on hydration. Even later, when talking to the media, I always keep a water bottle with me and sip it often. If I have a day off between matches, I’ll get a massage.”

What’s next?

“I’ll be in China this December for the WTA Tour. My schedule includes Open tournaments in Zhengzhou, Wuhan, and Beijing. If things go well and I qualify, then hopefully I’ll compete at the Shiseido WTA Finals in Shenzhen, too.”