If you are in the look out for a sport serving total-body workout, especially as you proceed with age, tennis is one such sport. The entire body is in use during tennis – legs, arms, shoulders, chest, core and back for powerful strokes – it’s all important.
Beginners, need to note that, Tennis is a sport that uses some muscles more than others. So do not rely solely on tennis to get fit, for this can lead to uneven development of the body. Rather, aim to build a strong foundation for playing tennis with minimal worry about the risk of getting injuries.
Exercises to Build Foundation Strength for Tennis
Foundational Strength exercises for Tennis aim to condition the muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments for the strains of playing tennis.
- Arm Swing: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and swing your arms forward simultaneously 10 times. Reverse the movement and swing both arms backward 10 times. Then, swing your arms forward 10 times as if you are swimming using the overhand stroke.
- High-step Trunk Rotation: Place your fists in front of your chest, with your elbows out at your sides. Raise one knee to your opposite chest and turn your torso the opposite way. Repeat 10 times. Perform butt kicks, jogging in place while kicking your heels up to your buttocks.
- Cross Medial Delt Swing: Begin by standing with hips neutral, knees slightly bent. Start with elbows fully extended, arms reaching toward the floor. Slowly lift the arm to the side utilizing control of the movement, to a height just below the shoulder. Return to the starting position, then switch hands and lift to the opposite side utilizing control of the movement, to a height just below the shoulder. Be careful to avoid using momentum, this movement should be about strength, not speed. Once you develop strength, you can do this exercise with weight or kettle bell. Repeat for 3 sets of up to 12 repetitions, each side.
- Butt Kicks: Jog, bringing your legs up to an exaggerated height as your foot comes back. Tap your butt with your heel.
- Lunges with Rotation: Lunge forward with one leg and rotate your torso to the opposite side and back. Switch legs, lunging forward and rotating your torso to the opposite side and back.
- Side Lunges: Start at the sideline but face the net instead of the other sideline. Take a wide side step out toward the far sideline and bend that knee into a side lunge position. Straighten your legs and pivot as you turn your body around with your back to the net. Perform a Side Lunge to the other side.
- Leg Swings: Do 10 reps in each direction on each side. For balance, you can use a fence, a wall or even the side of the net.
- Calf Raise: The exercise is performed by raising the heel as far as possible. Weights or other methods of providing resistance are commonly used, but the exercise is also effective with body weight alone
Tennis is a high-intensity sport that uses quick movements, calling on your high-twitch muscle fibers. Your warm-up should be tennis-specific, incorporating a full-body routine of dynamic stretches that mimic the movements you’ll use during a tennis match.