The Australian Open has come and gone for another year, and to be honest, it was a pretty underwhelming Grand Final. Djokovic was flawless and just too strong for Nadal… but that’s for another blog. Today I will go through some exercises to help you beat your friends at tennis and prevent injury. Every year, around January to February we see a spike in tennis related injuries, be it wrist, elbow or shoulder. I too dust off the racquet and hit the court with new inspiration, only to be unable to lift my arm the following day due to trying to beat Sam Groth’s 263.4 kph serve. Here are some exercises to try to reduce your risk of injury and improve your performance.
Overhead Tricep Extension/Serve Strengthening
To impress your friends, and beat them, you need to work on improving your service game. To serve as fast as the Pro’s you’re going to need to have explosive tricep force. The ability to extend the elbow with speed to generate power at the top of your serve will really increase your power and speed of serve. An exercise that is integral in tricep power is the overhead extension.
- Attach a rope to the bottom pulley of the pulley machine.
- Grasping the rope with both hands, extend your arms with your hands directly above your head using a neutral grip (palms facing each other). Your elbows should be in close to your head and the arms should be perpendicular to the floor with the knuckles aimed at the ceiling. This will be your starting position.
- Slowly lower the rope behind your head as you hold the upper arms stationary. Inhale as you perform this movement and pause when your triceps are fully stretched.
- Return to the starting position by flexing your triceps as you breathe out.
Wrist strength and stability is integral for not only protecting your wrist from overuse injuries, but also to develop effective topspin on the ball.
- Stand upright and bend your elbow to 90 degrees.
- Tie theraband to a stick or dumbbell as seen in the picture
- Starting with your thumb facing outwards
- Turn your hand and wrist to rotate the stick inwards.
- Aim to keep you elbow close to your side and avoid moving your shoulder or body during the exercise.
External Rotation/Backhand Strengthening:
This exercise doubles as not only an effective way to work on your backhand strength but also is a really effective rotator cuff exercise. Due to the high incidence of shoulder injuries in tennis, it is integral that you bulletproof your shoulders with this rotator cuff strengthening exercise.
- Stand up straight with your arms by your side.
- Tie a resistance band to a solid object to the side of your good arm.
- Hold the other end of the band in your affected hand and bend your elbow to 90 degrees.
- Turn your forearm outwards, pulling against the resistance of the band.
- Keep your upper arm by your side.
- Make sure your body stays still and does not twist towards your arm.