Injuries suck, no matter what level of a tennis player you are. Strength training is one of the best ways to avoid nagging or serious injuries. Even more, it will help you become an even better tennis player. The better shape that your body is in, the higher level of tennis you will be able to play. Who knows, you may even start to look like a little like Djokovic.
The gym is not for everyone, though, and most of us do not have the luxury or really desire to spend a lot of time in the gym. So, what are the gym exercises tennis players should focus on during their limited time that they can and want to spend in the gym?
Before you begin your workout:
- 3-5 minute warm-up on a cardio machine.
- Stretching and agilities.
1. Band Work
Band workouts are one of the cheapest ways to get a great workout. You can buy mini bands with different difficulty levels for just a few dollars.
The band continues to warm up your body as well as strengthen your leg muscles, especially engaging your core, glutes, quads, and hamstrings. You will feel a deep burn during these exercises.
- Place band around your ankles.
- 3 sets of 10 steps on each leg for each exercise
- Forward Monster Walk: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, squat down and stay low the entire time. Step out as far as you can with your right foot. Follow with your left foot to get back into your starting position. Step out as far as you with your left foot and follow with your right foot to get back to starting position. Repeat for 10 steps on each leg.
- Backward Monster Walk: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, squat down and stay low the entire time. Step back as far as you can with your right foot. Follow with your left to get back into your starting position. Step back as far as you with your left foot and follow with your right foot to get back to starting position. Repeat for 10 steps on each leg.
- Remember: Never pop out of the squat, keep you head at the same level throughout the entire exercise. Keep your core engaged.
- Side step: Have your feet shoulder-width apart, squat down and stay low the entire time. Step sideways as far as you can with your right foot. Follow up with your left foot to get back into your starting position. Repeat for 10 steps. Then, do the same but with your left foot leading.
- Reminder: Never pop out of the squat, keep you head at the same level throughout the entire exercise. Keep your toes pointed forward, never to the side. Keep your core engaged.
2. Medicine Ball Smashes
This exercise focuses on strengthening your core, while also engaging other muscles and getting your heart rate up. A three in one exercise.
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold medicine ball in hands above your head. Turn to the right and bend your knees while slamming the ball down to the floor.
- Squat down and pick up the ball, and bring ball back overhead. Turn to the left and bend your knees while slamming ball down to the floor.
- Repeat 20 times total, 10 on each side.
- Perform 3 sets of 10 on each side.
3. Single Leg Dead Lift
- Stand with feet hip-width apart
- Hold a barbell or dumbbells in both hands
- Lift right foot slightly behind you. Keeping left knee relatively straight and back flat, hinge forward from hips, lowering weight down toward the floor in front of you. Slowly rise to stand. Repeat 10 times, then switch legs.
- Perform 3 sets sets of 10 on each leg.
- Reminder: This should be a slow and smooth movement. Keep your core and flutes engaged. Challenge yourself to stay balance on one foot the entire 10 reps.
4. Wrist Curls
As the name suggests, this exercise will strengthen your wrists and forearms, decreasing the risk of injury when hitting the ball and making your shots and spin more powerful and effective.
- Sit on a bench holding a lighter barbell or dumbbells in each hand. Engage your core, put your elbows on your thighs and your wrists right above knees.
- Palms up: Flex your wrist up and then back down. Repeat 10 times.
- Palms down: Flex your wrists up and then back down. Repeat 10 times.
- Perform 3 sets of 10 of each exercise.
Probably one of the best full body workouts out there. While you may feel it mostly in your core, your entire body from your shoulders to your ankles are working.
- Get into a push-up position, then bend your elbows directly underneath your shoulders.
- Keep your body in a completely straight line from your shoulders to your feet (do not let your back sag or let your butt pop up into the air).
- Hold for 1 minute and then rest for 30 seconds.
- Perform 3 sets of 1 minute plank.
- Reminder: Modify the time at first if you have too, and build up to 1 minute. The quality of the plank is top priority.