Whether you are an experienced tennis player or just learning how to play tennis, you probably understand how many muscles are used and necessary for hitting the perfect shot. While playing tennis alone is going to strengthen these muscles, there are a lot of awesome and easy exercises that are going to improve your game and overall abilities.
Tennis requires the use of many muscles and mobility, and while you might think arm and back muscles are the most important, there is a lot more that goes into your swing. Your chest, back, shoulers, and arms are going to be your key areas to improve strength but let’s not forget about our core and legs. Everything starts at your feet and moves up to your arms for that perfect hit so you are really using your entire body. Let’s look at some leg and core workouts to improve your skills!
Start building some strength in your calves, hamstrings, and quads! Your leg muscles are responsible for moving you around the court to get to that ball and we all know speed is going to be very important in tennis.
Walking lunges are one of my favorite leg workouts and they don’t require any equipment which is awesome. Just make sure to keep your body upright and get your back knee as low to the ground as possible. Your front thigh should be parallel to the ground and try to avoid having your knee go over your front toe. I try to do between 20 and 30 lunges for each leg. Lunges are going to use and improve your calves, hamstrings, and quads making it a perfect exercise to start with as it is going to warm up all three muscles.
The next leg workout you can try is step-ups. This is another great workout if you are limited on equipment. All you need is a sturdy box (if you have one), a bench, or chair of some sort!
Step-ups are pretty straightforward so you won’t be worrying about your form. Try finding something to step onto it that is about the same height as your knee. All you are going to do is step up onto your surface with one leg, pushing through that heel. Bring your other leg up so that you are standing on your surface. I try not to lock my knees completely. Then step down with the leg you stepped up with first. (If you stepped up with your right leg, you are going to step down with your right leg) I try to do around 30 step-ups leading with my right leg and 20 step-ups leading with my left leg but of course you can modify this to your liking. Some people like to hold a weight or dumbbell while doing these so you can try that too. Step-ups are a great workout for targeting quads, glutes, and hamstrings so it’s like a 3-in-1 exercise!
Once you have warmed up your glutes with some step-ups, it is time for squats! Squats are great for working out your glutes but what’s even better about squats is that there are so many different ways to do them. Here are just a few fun ways to squat.
The simple squat is always an easy go-to. Start with your feet about shoulder width apart and don’t worry too much about where your toes are pointing. They should naturally be pointing out a little bit and that is perfectly okay! Try to keep your chest up and your hips level, but most importantly keep your head facing forward and avoid rounding your back. Push your weight mostly through your heels, so much that you can lift your toes slightly. Bend your knees and lower your butt, keeping your hips square until your knees are just above your toes. Push back through your heels until you are standing up again. Now that you have a good squat form, you can try speed squats and jump squats. For jump squats, you just lower into a squat and jump as you are coming back up. You can also try pulse squats, where you will pulse into a smaller squat position.
When you are done with your leg workouts, move onto your core workouts. Your core is going to be extremely important in tennis. The core is your key to balance when trying to get to the ball and setting up your body for that perfect shot. Your core is also going to transfer power from your legs to your arms.
Core workouts might be challenging but they can also be super fun. Planks are awesome because you don’t really have to move, all you have to do is hold. Place your forearms on the ground with your elbows right under your shoulders and your toes on the ground directly behind you. Most importantly, you need to keep your back very flat and legs straight. To avoid hurting your neck, make eye contact with the ground and keep your spine straight from your tailbone to your head. Now all you have to do is hold that core in for as long as you’d like. A personal core workout favorite of mine is flutter kicks. Lie down on your back with your hands, palms down, under your glutes. Lift your legs a few inches off the floor and start doing some little flutter kicks. If you really want a challenge, stay in the same position but instead of flutter kicks, you are going to lift your legs slightly and move your feet across one another in a scissor motion. Try not to touch the ground with your feet! You can do both of these exercises for as long as you’d like, I try to do it for around 2 minutes. There are plenty of other core exercises you can do such as crunches, v-ups, and side twists!
If you are just getting into tennis and really looking to improve your skills, try doing these exercises a few times a week off the court and book a lesson with HOKALI to improve your skills on the court! Come back next week for some of the best arm and back workouts for tennis players.