With longer days and warmer weather just around the corner, many of us will be tempted to spend more time outdoors and maybe dust off that old tennis racquet and hit the tennis courts this spring and summer. Tennis is a great game for improving your strength, flexibility, hand-and-eye coordination, however, as in all sports, injuries can and do occur in all skill levels from beginners to pros.
In this article, we are going to talk about the most common tennis-related injuries and give you some work-out ideas that will help you prevent them.
Due to the fact that the game of tennis involves a lot of sprinting, pivoting, as a regular tennis player you are more susceptible to developing certain injuries such as:
- tennis elbow
- rotator calf tendinitis
- ankle sprain
- shoulder impingement
- lower back pain
- sprained wrist
- hip and knees problems
In order to minimise the risk of injury, there are certain groups of muscles that can be strengthened.
One area is the muscles around the thoracic spine which, when strong enough can help take the load off the shoulders and back, which will not only minimise the risk of injury but also improve your performance.
Here are some example exercises that you can try in the gym:
Explosive ball slams
Grab a slam ball, go up on your toes and slam it on the floor as hard as you can while getting into a squat position. Make sure you do not lean forward too much so that you do not hurt your lower back. Check out the video below to see how to do this exercise correctly.
Benefit for Tennis : Improve overhead and shoulder strength & stability which can increase power on your serve and ground strokes.
-kneel down on one knee with the left side of your body facing the weights
-while keeping a strong base, reach across your body with your right hand and grab the handle with both hands,
-rotate at the midsection from left to right, moving the handle across the front of your body
-rotate back and forth at the midsection for the desired number of repetitions
Benefit for Tennis : Increase rotation through your upper body which will allow you to generate more power (with control) on your shots, especially your on forehand shots.
-stand upright, feet together
-take a controlled step towards your side with your right leg
-lower into a lunge. (Ideally your knee shouldn’t travel forward beyond the line of your toes)
Benefits for Tennis : Strengthens your leg muscles for the many times that you move around the court in a side-ways movement; as the legs get stronger the easier/more quickly you will move around the court.
-fit a looped resistance band around your legs, just above both knees and stand with your feet together
-keeping your back flat and hips engaged, push your hips back, bend your knees and lower your body into a squat, shifting your weight toward your heels
-maintain the squat as you raise the hips several inches and step your foot out to the right, then lower your hips fully
– Again raise your hips several inches as you bring your left foot together with your right, and lower again fully, maintaining tension in the band so that your knees don’t cave inward
-Repeat to the opposite side, alternating sides for reps. Perform equal reps on each side.
Benefits for Tennis : Similar to the Lateral Lunge in that this exercise strengthens the legs in that side-ways movement, with the band offering resistance to increase strength for faster movement around the court.
Look out for the next post on our blog that will be about another important area for tennis players, which is the muscles of the so-called posterior chain ( the muscles at the back of your body, among others: hamstrings, glutes, trapezius and erector spinae).