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Tip of the Week: Strengthening for Tennis

Strengthening for Tennis

As you recall we have been talking about the four elements to consider when getting back into great form before the summer season. The four elements are Cardio, Strengthening, Equipment Check and Strokes/Timing. This month we will talk in more detail about STRENGTHENING for tennis players.

The importance of strength training for tennis cannot be emphasized enough. Obviously, a strong player is one who is able to hit the ball harder. Aside from power, ball control can also be improved. This is because proper stroke mechanics can be more easily learned if the muscles and joints are well-conditioned.

Another crucial reason why strength training for tennis is now mandatory for competitive players is that it helps protect against injuries. Strength training for tennis is usually equated to weight training, whether with free weights, machines or resistance bands. Strength training for tennis is not body building. Instead, what you are aiming for is to condition the muscles and joints properly for the unique demands that the sport of tennis places upon the body. Strength training for tennis requires the formulation of a program that promotes total body development while at the same time targeting the critical areas that are placed under repetitive stress.  Areas to pay attention to include shoulder, elbow and wrist.

The chest and upper back are also important in tennis. Commonly recommended exercises for the upper body are the following:
  . Bench press
  . Push ups
  . Single arm dumbbell rows
  . Free Weights and Resistance Bands

Core exercises are another vital part of resistance training for tennis. The abdominal, oblique and lower back muscles are extensively used for the three basic and most important shots in tennis - the serve, forehand and backhand. Core exercises include the following:
  . Crunches
  . Twisting crunches or side crunches
  . Superman exercises

Lower body strength is also important for tennis. Aside from helping improve movement and balance, it can increase the power of your shots because the kinetic chain involved in proper stroke production starts from the ground up.

Better weight transfer can be achieved and injuries can be prevented. Today's players commonly suffer injuries to their lower extremities because of all the running and frequent changes in direction during long baseline rallies. The following exercises are commonly recommended:
  . Bent over rows
  . Squats
  . Machine leg presses
  . Split squats
  . Lunges
  . Hamstring curl
  . Calf raise

The frequency of performing strength training exercises should be limited to about 3 times per week to allow the muscles to recover. Enjoy the workout!

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