Exercises and Routines for Better Tennis

In considering the kinetic chain, which begins with the legs, and the need for a strong core and shoulders, here are some exercises to improve your tennis game.

ankle flexion/extension: Do these exercises on a step or machine where you can get much range of motion. Add weight as you are able. Power starts from the ground, and these exercises strengthen calf muscles.

single leg squats: One of the most important moves on the serve is loading the back leg (right leg for right-handers) before exploding up and out. Single leg squats aid loading, balance and strength.

hip abduction/adduction: You can do these exercises lying on your side or on a machine. Abduction is movement away from your midline and uses gluteus medius muscles. Adduction is movement toward the midline with inner thigh muscles. These exercises support hips and promote balance.

Pilates and yoga: Strong core muscles are needed to transfer power to the extremities. Mat Pilates is one of the best routines to strengthen your abdominal muscles and support your back. Yoga classes include key exercises for flexibility, balance and focus. Pilates and yoga are a winning doubles combination.

parallel dips: Start with reduced body weight dips, e.g. on machines. Overtime, progress toward using your full body weight. These exercises target the chest, shoulders and arms.

45 degree incline row: Set up a bench at 45 degree angle and use dumbbells. This is a top exercise for medial and rear deltoids. Strong shoulders enable power on the serve – the most important shot in tennis.

external/internal rotation at 90 degrees abduction: Rotator cuff muscles are small and can be easily injured. Build strong rotator cuff muscles with these exercises that simulate take back and throwing motions.

jumping rope: If your joints can handle this jump rope for cardiovascular and agility training. If not, do lower impact cardio training. Progress to different steps, like jumping twice on one foot or double twirls.

HIIT training: When you have moderate cardiovascular endurance progress to High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This training works on anaerobic (without oxygen) conditioning and simulates tennis points with sprints followed by rest. Wear a heart rate monitor, and stay within your safe limits.

Clubs serve members by having certified Fitness Professionals who deliver sport-specific training. Work with the Golf and Tennis Directors to promote fitness training through their departments for best results.

Chris Hagman ACE, USPTA