The Best Exercises for Playing Tennis

The Best Exercises for Playing Tennis

Tennis is a popular and widely played sport in the World.  Usually played in singles (one player versus another), tennis is a tiresome and difficult sport to play and it is a great way to get bountiful physical activity.  In a single match, a tennis player runs, sprints, changes directions, swings, balances, and back pedals.  Whether you are a seasoned veteran or a recreational player, training to play tennis is a great way to tone the body and work the cardiorespiratory system.

Tennis players are in great shape and this is mostly due to the mix of sprinting, swinging, and directional changes one achieves during play.  In addition, the high-intensity nature of the sport offers health benefits such as reduced blood pressure, blood glucose control, and a better lipid profile.  Listed below are the best exercises for training to play tennis, regardless of your skill level.

The Top Exercises for Playing Tennis

  1. Dynamic warm-ups. Warming up is necessary for all exercise and especially before high-intensity exercise.  A Dynamic warm-up is when the body moves through a range of motion in a lighter intensity in order to elevate heart rate, blood pressure, and warm the body for exercise.  Some dynamic warm-up exercises recommended by the United States Tennis Association include light jogging, short quick runs (not sprints), carioca drills, knee-hug lunges, backwards lunges, leg circles, arm circles, straight leg marches, arm hugs, and elbow flexion [1].  Dynamic warm-ups should last 5-10 minutes depending on the activities and they should be light in nature in order to prevent draining energy.
  2. Lateral shuffles. Lateral shuffles, also known as lateral alley drills, are a great tennis-specific exercise to work the hips and legs [2].  When the body is moving laterally, the hips, legs, and calves all are working in a higher intensity.  In addition, when in a semi-squat position, the glute muscles get worked at a high level.  Try lateral shuffles over a span of about 10 yards each way and attempt to move quickly.
  3. Suicide drills. Generally something practiced in basketball training, suicides are a way to work on foot movement to add quickness and speed.  Attempt one set of suicides, with about 3-4 tiers, then rest for at least 60 seconds before another set.  Each tier should be at least 5-10 feet from the previous tier and it should cover at least 20 yards.
  4. Lateral Band Walking with External Rotation. External rotation exercises are important for tennis.  The rotator cuff muscles are used often in tennis, which means the shoulder area needs to be in great fitness to secure and protect from injury.  Wrap a band around the ankles and hold a resistance band with both hands with the palms facing the ceiling [3].  With each lateral band step, aim to perform one to two external rotations with a band.  Perform about 12-15 reps each.
  5. Rotational Cable Rows. A cable machine is a great way to work any muscle and adds a differing range of motion.  To perform rows with the cable machine, start with feet spread in an athletic stance.  Continue with a traditional row by shifting the body in the direction of the arm row, just as in this description.  Perform three sets of 10-12 to work the traps and rhomboids behind the body.  Your tennis swing and backhand will have you atop of your game following this exercise.


Your Challenge

If you are thinking about or have been playing tennis, now is your challenge to work towards elevating your game.  In order to look like a tennis player, one must train like a tennis player.  For the next two months, consider yourself on the tennis program.  You should do some strength based training every other day and the days in between are perfect for the above listed exercises.  Record your results as you continue over the next two months and track your mobility during your tennis game.







About the Author

, Celebrity Personal Trainer and Fitness & Nutrition Expert headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ. He specializes in helping men and women achieve weight loss, muscle building, toning and other customized fitness & nutrition programs to create a Healthy Lifestyle. James offers private luxury personal training, 12-week custom workout plans, and personalized nutrition meal plans. Follow on Google+.

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