Spring Into Tennis

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Whether you’re a competitive or recreational player, tennis is such a fun activity to do with friends and family when the weather is nice. If you’re a strong player but haven’t done any pre-conditioning before you play your first match, you could be in for some disappointing performances, and if you’re not conditioned at all, you could put yourself at risk for injury.

On the other hand, if you follow an effective training program, you can expect improved technique and power, making you a better athlete. You’ll also avoid common tennis injuries, which mostly results from overuse, improper mechanics and a lack of sufficient flexibility and strength.

By strengthening the muscles surrounding typical injury sites, you can strengthen the area and enable it to withstand the repetitive stresses associated with tennis. Pre-conditioning also allows you to handle longer matches at a higher level of intensity without getting winded.

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You’ll definitely want to strengthen your muscles in your lower body, upper body and core but agility is also extremely important in a tennis match. In your next strength training workout, perform four traditional strength training exercises, then one of the following agility exercises.  Then another four traditional exercises, then one of the agility drills. Then another four exercises and the last agility exercise. Try to incorporate traditional strength moves like squats, lunges, chest and shoulder presses, back rows and pull-ups. But remember since tennis requires the body to rotate in order to generate force during serves, backhands, forehands and smashes, be sure to include torso rotational movements and stability work for a strong core.

Here’s some agility exercise ideas:

Side to Side Fast Feetwork

lateralshuffleaPosition 2 cones or props a few feet apart.  Now quickly step laterally to the outside of one cone and back to the outside of the other touching down towards the floor on each end.  Try to go as fast as you possibly can. Continue for 30-60 seconds.

Rectangle Sprints

square drill cPosition 4 cones in the shape of a rectangle so that the area within the cones is about 1/2 the size of a tennis court. Start at the base and sprint forwards staying outside of the cones. Now shuffle laterally. Shuffle backwards. Shuffle laterally. Reverse and go the other way. Do this for 1 minute.  Take a 30 second break and repeat in the opposite direction.

Monkey in the Middle

Stand in the middle of four marked spots, then sprint forwards to the top mark then back to the middle, shuffle to the left mark and back to the middle, backwards to the rear mark and back to the middle and finish by shuffling to the right mark and back to the middle. Do this for one to two minutes. See how many times you can return to the middle during the drill and try to get better over time.

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

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