Five Targeted Exercises That Will Change The Way You Play Tennis

This specialized warm up will prime the body to move functionally through the myriad of movements required for a tennis match well-played.

April 12, 2018 | by

Tennis is an all-out, demanding sport. Just watch pros like Roger Federer or Serena Williams on the court. There is such an intensity to the game, each successive movement is lightning fast and unpredictable. Players sprint, swing and stop short. They lunge and twist in all directions—forward, back and side to side. If you think about it, tennis is an athletic expression of total body function, meaning the body moves in all the different ways it was designed to move. And moving in these varied directions with speed and power risks injury without a specialized, targeted warm up. This tennis primer is based in principles of alignment and functionality—each movement activates and strengthens the core muscles groups you need to play this game of agility. And, if you like to set things straight post-match, try our targeted cool down as well.

PRE-WORKOUT

Squatting Maypoles | 1 Minute:

Stand with a wide base, and bend your knees until you are in a squatting position, keeping your back straight and erect.

Hold the squat and rotate back and forth at the hips, allowing the arms to flail back and forth. Let the arms be straight as your swing them from side to side. You should be hitting your chest with your hands.

Video: Elev8d Fitness: SQUATTING MAYPOLES exercise.

Standing Arm Circles | 60x:

Hand Position: Put your thumbs up and fold your fingers forward so that your fingertips are on the top pads of your palms.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and pointed straight ahead. Extend your arms directly sideways and point your thumbs forward, hands down.

Pinch your shoulder blades back.

Move your arms up and forward in a circular motion sixty times.

Next flip your hands palms up, thumbs pointed backward, and move your arms up and backwards in a circle sixty times.

Video: Elev8d Fitness: STANDING ARM CIRCLES exercise.

Cat and Dog | 10x:

Get on your hands and knees.

Beginning the movement at the hip, roll your back slowly upwards so that it finishes in a rounded position like a mad cat, your head down, chin resting on your chest.

Then, beginning the movement with the hip, lower your back into an inverse arch, your head up, your shoulder blades pinching toward each other.

Video: Elev8d Fitness: CAT AND DOG exercise.

Side Unders | 8x per side:

With your feet together, squat with most of your weight loaded on your left leg. Your butt should be kicked back, your shoulders pinned together.

Then step the right leg out to the right. Your weight should start fully loaded in the left leg and then slowly transfer to the right as your move your torso under an imaginary limbo bar.

Switch your weight to the right leg and repeat in the other direction. It is okay to use your hands to keep balance.

Video: Elev8d Fitness: SIDE UNDERS exercise.

Mountain Climbers | 25x per side:

From the hands and knees position, pinch your shoulder blades together, then move into the plank position with straight legs.

Keeping your arms stable, alternate bringing your knees and feet forward one at a time, making sure the knees stay inside of the arms. Your feet should land just inside your hands.

Video: Elev8d Fitness: MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS exercise.

POST-WORKOUT

Inch Worm | 8x:

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and pointed straight ahead. Bend at the hips, keeping the legs straight, and walk your hands forward into the plank position.

Lower your legs and hips without touching the floor, lift your head and chest and pull your shoulders back, pinching your shoulder blades together.

Release your shoulder blades, pike your hips into a downward dog position, pull your hips back and walk your feet in, keeping your hands on the ground as much as possible.

Video: Elev8d Fitness: INCH WORM exercise.

Bird Dog | 8x:

Start on your hands and knees.

Lift the left leg and right arm and straighten both, reaching along the centerline of the body. Your head should be neutral.

Hold for five seconds each side. Switch.

Video: Elev8d Fitness: BIRD DOG exercise.

Front Unders | 8x per leg:

Stand with your feet together, slight bend in the knees, shoulders pinched.

Squat down with most of your weight on the left side and lunge your left foot forward.

Drop your hips to your back heel, bend your head and torso and go under and imaginary line, keeping your head down.

Turn around and repeat with the other side.

Keep your head up and spine straight as much as possible. It is okay to put your hands on the ground to maintain balance.

Video: Elev8d Fitness: FRONT UNDERS exercise.

Bird Dog | 8x:

Start on your hands and knees.

Lift the left leg and right arm and straighten both, reaching along the centerline of the body. Your head should be neutral.

Hold for five seconds each side. Switch.

Video: Elev8d Fitness: BIRD DOG exercise.
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