There’s no denying that the game of tennis places great demands on your body. From the serve to running at full speed, to suddenly stopping in your tracks, your body calls upon a number of different muscles at any given moment to accomplish the seemingly impossible task. Therefore, it only makes sense to work those same muscles that will help you mimic real-game tennis situations the best way possible in order to fully prepare you for the rigors of the sport. Here are exercises that will help you perform aces above the rest.
No matter how quick and strong you may be, cardio is a key component to any player’s success. It’s recommend by several medical and fitness professionals that you partake in low impact cardiovascular exercises (to reduce the likelihood of injuries) such as power walking or elliptical training, for at least 30 consecutive minutes at a moderate-intensity level five days per week. Or, at least 25 minutes at least three days per week; or a combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity, according to the American Heart Association. I am stressing low impact cardio because of the pounding your knees and ankles take during a course of a match.
Lunges: Sets: 3, reps: 10
Tennis requires a lot of reaching and stretching for the ball, so you’ll often find yourself in a half or full lunge position in attempt to catch up with the ball. I like barbell lunges, but you can practice without any weight before your progress to barbell or dumbbell lunges. But make sure your knee never extends beyond your lunged foot, so you don’t injure your knee.
Chin-Ups and/or Pull-Ups: Sets: Three, Reps: 8-10.
Upper back and shoulder strength should be at optimal levels in order to serve the ball with a measure of velocity, and return it with a vengeance. If you can perform wide grip pull ups (palms-facing-away-from-you grip), because this is one of the best ways to work multiple upper back muscles in one complete movement. If not, flip your hands, with your palms facing you, and perform chin ups with a narrow grip. Most gyms have a pull-up assisted machine for novice of this exercise. But make sure you go through the entire range of motion — all the way up and all the way down — throughout the exercise.
Overhead Slams: Sets: 3, Rep 10-12
As the name implies, this will help you with your overhand serve, providing some explosive power to it. It works a number of back and shoulder muscles, including the rotator cuff–a vital muscle group in a lighting-fast, contained serve. Take a moderately heavy medicine ball (8-10 pounds), raise it over your head with both hands, and, while focusing on being tight and long, drive the ball down, hard enough to bring your feet off the ground.
You will need a strong grip, and even stronger forearms in any type of swinging movement in order to hit the ball with authority while maintaining ball control and placement. Pronated and supinated wrist curls will work each side of the forearm for muscle strength and balance.
Pronated Wrist Curls: Sets 3, Reps: 12-15
Hold a dumbbell or barbell, with only your forearm(s) resting on your knee(s) or the bench while your palms are facing the floor. First, lower the weight toward the floor. You will feel stretching in the part of the forearm facing you, and contraction in the forearm in contact with your knees or bench. Then, curl the weight until the back of your hand(s) are facing you. That’s one rep.
Supinated Wrist Curls: Sets: 3, Reps: 12-15
Supinated wrist curls start in the same position as pronated wrist curls, except that your palms are facing up.
You will feel stretching in the part of the forearm facing you, and a contraction in the forearm in contact with your knees or bench. Return to the parallel starting position. That equals one rep. Both exercises work the extensors and flexors of the forearm, aiding in better power, balance and elbow injury prevention.
Note: the information above is strictly for reference only. Please consult with a licensed medical professional or credentialed health and fitness professional for more information.
Written by Jerry Del Priore for bodono.
Jerry Del Priore has worked as a certified personal trainer, and received his degree in Physical Education from Brooklyn College. Jerry is also a veteran print and digital Sports Writer-Reporter-Author experienced in writing in-depth profile stories on a variety of high school, college and professional athletes and teams. He covers several Brooklyn areas including Canarsie, Bensonhurst, Old Mill Basin, Mill Basin, Bergen Beach, Gravesend, East NY, East Flatbush, Fort Greene, Georgetown, Marine Park and Gerritsen Beach, among other areas in NYC and Long Island. Additionally, Jerry has developed a presentation based on his book, Running Through Roadblocks, that encourages children to overcome obstacles and never give up…no matter what! Specialties: Baseball, football, hockey and basketball writing. Jerry also has covered lacrosse, soccer, golf and track and field, with ample experience cover women’s sports. Food Writer/Blogger experienced in venue write-ups and reviews. In addition, Jerry has ample experience working with medically fragile children, children with behavioral challenges and children with cognitively impairments. Read Jerry Del Prior’s book: Running Through Roadblocks and view his presentation.