Competitive tennis is getting more physically demanding. Doing a thorough warm-up improves your performance and reduces the risk of injury. Here’s a series of simple warm-up exercises for tennis players.
Preparing your body and mind
Warm-up simply means preparing your body for training or a match by warming up your muscles. Moreover, a warm-up also prepares your mind by focussing on technique and coordination.
Some tennis players pay an almost obsessive amount of attention to their warm-up, while others just do a few chest twists and shoulder-loosening movements before starting to play. But both professional and recreational players benefit from doing a structured series of warm-up drills, including both striding and dynamic stretching exercises.
The following series of exercises are recommended to prepare for tennis training and matches in the best way possible.
A skipping rope can be found in most tennis pros’ bags, as it’s an easy but effective exercise tool. Skipping is something you can do almost anywhere with a bit of space, so you can do this exercise both at the courtside or in the locker room.
Carry out 30 to 50 jumps and vary the type of jump. Repeat for 3 to 5 sets.
Easy skipping variations include:
- With your feet together, apart or alternating
- On one foot or alternating
- Bringing your knees up or to the sides
- Standing still or skipping while jogging
As an alternative to skipping, you may also run around the court for 3 to 5 minutes varying the way you are facing, your speed and type of stride. After a few minutes of running, carry out some athletic strides.
Athletic stride variations include:
- Frontal, lateral, crossed and backward strides
- Skipping, kicking behind, take-off stride and bouncing run
- Adding arm movements both in front of you and up and down
Hip twists are great to warm up your core muscles and train your abdominal muscles.
While lying on the ground with your legs stretched out and apart, bring your right knee up to your chest and hold it with your left hand. Pull it towards your left shoulder, and without becoming locked in this position, carry out small twisting movements. Make sure that your other arm and shoulder stay fixed to the ground.
Carry out 2 sets of 8 to 10 twists on each side.
Shoulder band exercises
Instead of hip twists, or in addition, you can also do exercises with a shoulder band.
Loop the band around the net post and facing the net hold the ends of the band. Keep your arms flexed outwards at shoulder height and stretch them back while holding the band.
Carry out 10 to 15 stretches. Repeat for 3 to 5 sets.