Presented by Cam Hobbs our Tennis Guru
As we all know, a warm-up and warm-down are essentials before beginning any training session. Tennis is no different! So, how do you use the 10 minutes before you play to adequately prepare yourself for the physical onslaught ahead? Here is a simple routine to use that will ensure all the appropriate muscle groups are warmed up prior to play…
1. Half Court Jog (3-5 mins around Court): When performing this, ensure you face the net throughout the duration of the jog. As a result, the jog will essentially include forwards and backwards movement, and side-to-side stepping, which are all parts of tennis footwork patterns. Aim to gradually build up the speed or try intermittent sprint/jog, or occasionally add in a reverse step to simulate a change of direction. Crossover (Grapevine) stepping can also be used with the lateral jogging to help with lumbar/hip rotation. To further simulate tennis patterns, hold onto a racquet and practice occasional air swings.
2. Pendulums: Standing facing the net, swing either leg side to side in front of the body, like a clock pendulum. There should be a slight degree of hip and lumbar rotation, but don’t overdo this as it will limit the stretch and contraction through the glutes and hamstrings. Perform 20x pendulums each leg before standing perpendicular to the net to adjust the stretch and contraction to the quads and hamstrings. In this position, aim to minimise the extension/flexion of your upper torso and repeat 20x each leg.
3. Internal/External Shoulder Rotations with a Racquet: Holding your tennis racquet (or small weight) in your dominant arm, aim to the swing up and down as shown in the picture below. Progressively build up the speed as this movement simulates the serve technique and warms up the shoulder stabilising muscles. 50x reps
4. Wide Lateral Lunges: Start with your legs spread into a wide stance position. Bend down into a half or ¾ squat, and from this position transfer your body weight from one leg to the other. Repeat 10x reps each direction
5. Hugs: Start with your arms out to the side at 90° and palms facing away from the body, as if in a crucifix position. Perform 30x reps, bringing your arms in towards you to give yourself a hug, before returning to the start position. The idea is to keep the arms relaxed as you swing whilst the shoulders maintain the 90° position. This exercise targets the flexibility of the chest and upper arm muscles.