5 Core Exercises To Improve Your Tennis
Tennis is a great way to stay in shape and also improve your fitness in general. However the more tennis you play, the more stress your body will deal with especially if you play on harder surfaces such as hard courts.
Here are five core exercises that will help you maintain a good posture and core stability while you play tennis but also help you increase power through good rotational power.
The Plank – One of the best exercises that anyone can do for their core, this will help you improve the stability in your spine, glutes and abdominal muscles. It helps to build isometric strength which is crucial for having a good posture especially under the stress of explosive movement such as on a wide, running forehand.
How To Do – Start in a push up position and bend your elbows to a 90 degree angle. Your bodyweight is now being held up by your feet and elbows. Now squeeze your abs inwards (don’t let your stomach drop down) and hold that position for 20, 30 or 60 seconds. Increase time as you progress. Repeat for 3 sets.
The Side Plank – Similar benefits to the normal, front plank but this will target the obliques (side abs) much more. These muscles have a huge workload when we play tennis so it’s important that we keep them in tip top shape.
How To Do – Lie on one side and lift up your trunk by balancing your body on your elbow and feet. You should have a straight line between the feet and the shoulders. The body stays as straight as possible and don’t allow your core to tilt to one side. Hold for 20, 30 or 60 seconds and try to do 2-3 sets on each side.
The Bridge – This exercise will target your glutes, hamstrings and lower back but hits a bunch of other core muscles too. This will help keep your body stable when you load up for certain strokes such as an open stance forehand or the serve.
How To Do – Lie flat on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor around shoulder width apart with your hands by your side for added stability. Now lift your glutes off the ground until you make a straight line from your knees all the way to your shoulders. Once you reach the top, hold it for a second or two and then return to the floor. Go for 10 repetitions and try to do 2-3 sets.
Oblique Twists – This exercise is one of the most commonly used on both the ATP and WTA tours to improve tennis performance through an increase in rotational power. This will really target your abs and you’ll notice a big difference in power on court if you do this regularly.
How To Do – If you are in the gym, use one of the cable machines. If you don’t have access to a gym then you can also use a resistance band for this exercise. Start off with both arms almost fully extended out in front of your waist. The cable or band is now to the side of your body and you start the rotation forwards using the shoulders and hips to rotate the body. A common error is using only the arms to perform this so make sure to keep a good posture throughout. Rotate 8-10x and perform 2-3 sets on each side.
Medicine Ball Throws – Again this is loved by tennis pros as this will increase the explosive power in your trunk which equals more power for your groundstrokes and serve.
How To Do – Start off with the medicine ball in front of your waist and mimick your forehand and backhand swings (using both hands to hold the ball). Now throw the ball to either a partner or into a wall and repeat on both sides. Try to use the legs for extra power and work on moving to and from the ball. These movements will replicate what you are doing out on the tennis court.