Exercises To Boost Performance!
As tennis season draws closer, many people are going to start to prepare for the sport specific training they will do on the court. Tennis is a good type of sport to work on both your strength and anaerobic capacity. It's stop-and-go in nature and requires upper body strength to propel the ball across the court.
Take some time to devote some of your gym sessions toward preparing for this training. It is a smart move and it'll help get your body ready for what's to come, decreasing the chances you wind up injured. It will help boost your performance when you do get onto the court.
Here are some exercises to start doing regularly.
Tennis is a very good type of sport to work on both your strength and anaerobic capacity.
1. Barbell Side Split Squat
Since while you're out on the tennis court you'll often shift sideways to go after the ball, it's important that you strengthen the quads while working on your agility and balance in this sideways direction.
Barbell side split squats are perfect for this purpose since they will load the body with a weight while you perform this exact movement pattern. When performing these, just watch that you maintain an upright position as best as possible throughout the movement to prevent the development of stress on the lower back muscles.
Complete two or three sets of 8-12 reps leaning to each side.
2. Cable Lying Triceps Extension
To help strengthen the muscles for hitting the ball, lying triceps extensions will be a good option. These will feel slightly different than the traditional triceps extensions you may have performed in the past with a dumbbell moving toward the back of the body, so don't get overly concerned if the weight you need to use is lower.
To do these, lie on a bench in front of a cable machine holding a straight bar attached to the pulley over your head. From there, slowly begin to extend the elbow continuing along the diagonal path until it is fully extended but not in a locked position. Slowly move back to the start position to complete the rep. Perform 8-12 reps of these per set, aiming to complete 2-to-3 sets total each workout session.
3. Dumbbell Stationary Lunges
Another good exercise to add to your tennis training preparation program is stationary lunges. These are important because you utilize the quad muscles as you reach to receive the ball.
Holding a pair of dumbbells, stand with feet shoulder-width apart and then take one step forward bending both knees until the back knee almost touches the ground. From there, press back up again and return to the standing position to complete the rep. If you try and pause for a very brief second while you're in the lowered lunge position you'll increase the intensity of this exercise; it will eliminate the chances you will use momentum to carry you through the movement.
4. Cable Seated Rear Lateral Raises
Another upper body strengthening exercise to perform that will help with your tennis performance is cable lateral raises. Building strong shoulders will help you follow through with your stroke, allowing you to generate more power and hit the ball faster and harder.
Note that you can also perform these for the front deltoid by raising the cables up in front of you rather than to the sides of the body.
5. Ab Roller
You will want to do some exercises to work the abdominal muscles of the body. Having a strong core will prevent you from breaking as you go after the ball. It also helps provide a sturdier base of support when you rapidly change directions on the court.
One very good abdominal exercise to add is the Ab Roller. You will need this piece of equipment to perform this properly, but most gyms have one or else you can purchase it at a very reasonable price.
This movement is great because it will not only work the muscles deep within the muscle tissue, but it's also going to help work the shoulder girdle as you roll out, pause and then roll back in.
When first starting this exercise you may find that you aren't able to roll all the way out, so just go as far as you can with control. You're better off to roll a shorter distance out and be able to control it, than to try going farther and fall to the floor. As time goes on and the muscles grow stronger you'll find that you're better able to maintain control and go the full distance to the floor.
6. Arm Circles
Finally, at the end of each workout (and this is good to do before a match as well), perform some basic arm circles. This will help to keep the shoulder joint loose and limber, reducing the tension that develops in all the tendons, ligaments and muscles. Elbow problems are a big problem that many individuals deal with at some point during their training. Keep the shoulder joint loose and you'll also relax the muscles leading to the elbow and help prevent pain from developing.
If you want to increase the stretch on the shoulders when doing this exercise, you could hold very light 2-5 pound weights. Just be sure you don't start swinging the arms too quickly or you could pull a tendon or muscle.
Don't just dive right into your tennis training with little or no preparation. Take a few weeks beforehand to start doing some tennis-specific moves in the gym so you can transition easier, having better results and feeling more comfortable while you're out there.
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