Exercises for helping tennis players to improve serves as well as forehand, backhand and overhead shots. The exercises are designed to improve strength, speed and flexibility and help prevent injury.
Tennis is a dynamic sport. Moving quickly around the court and making. shots that seem just out of reach call for strength, endurance and great range of motion. The following exercises will increase strength, speed and flexibility at extreme range of motion, while helping prevent injury from a weak extended position of joints. Do three sets of each exercise, aiming for 10 to 15 repetitions per set. Work with a weight that allows you to complete at least 10 repetitions but brings on total fatigue at 15.
- Bent arm pullover: Lying on your back on a bench, use both hands to hold a dumbbell by its plate, positioning it above your nose. Your elbows should be bent. Make a big arc, bringing the dumbbell as far behind your head and as low as you can, then return. Always maintain the same flexion in your elbows.
- Overhead tricep extension: Sit, with your back supported. Hold a dumbbell above your head; your arm should be straight and your elbow by your ear. Keeping your elbow still, lower the dumbbell behind your head as far as possible; then raise to starting position. Work one arm at a time.
- Rotator cuff rotations: Lie on your side with your elbow bent 90 degrees and your upper arm close to your side. Hold a dumb-bell in your hand. Raise the lower part of your arm 90 degrees, keeping the upper part still.
Flye: Lie on your back on a flat or incline (to 45 degrees) bench; bend your knees and place your feet on the bench to protect your back. Start with dumbbells above your shoulders with elbows slightly bent, then arc arms out to the side and down as far as possible. Return. Keep elbows back, in line with shoulders and hands, slightly bent and fixed. The motion is like hugging a big tree.
One-arm side lateral: Standing, hold a dumbbell in your right hand with your hand resting against your left hip. Raise the weight laterally to shoulder height and return. Keep elbow bent but fixed, simulating a backhand stroke. Repeat on other side after each set.
- Straight leg crunch: For those with no back problems, straight leg crunches effectively strengthen abdominals over a wide range of motion. Lie on your back with your arms crossed over your chest. Squeeze your ribs toward your pelvis, lifting only until you’ve cleared the floor with your shoulder blades.
- Side sit-up: Lie on your side with your knees bent. Turn your upper body so your chest faces toward the ceiling. With your hands behind your head, curl up slowly.
- Back raises: On a Roman chair or table with someone supporting your legs, drop from hips about 45 degrees, then raise to normal degree of extension, maintaining slight lower back arch.
- Lunges: Step forward as far as possible with one leg and lower straight down until your back knee nearly touches the floor. Keep your back straight and weight your forward foot. Make sure the knee of your forward leg doesn’t extend beyond your foot. Change legs and repeat.
- Single leg squat: Place the instep of your rear foot on a bench with your front leg as far out as comfortable. Lower your body vertically, being careful not to let your knee move beyond your foot.