When it comes to improving your game, a large proportion of tennis players think you need to spend endless hours only hitting tennis balls. This will no doubt help your ball striking, but your overall athletic ability will not necessarily improve at an optimal rate. This is where an off court workout become so important.
Regardless of your age or ability level, performing off court exercises with a specific on court goal in mind is a great way to improve your game. We all want to move better, reach more balls, improve our explosiveness and have less niggles & injuries. These 5 tennis specific exercises are a great addition to any workout program and best of all – there’s minimal equipment necessary. All you need is a skipping rope, resistance band, medicine ball and cones.
Developing the core isn’t just about planking and calling it a day! Rotating effectively on the court is important, but anti-rotation can be even more so. The aim with this exercise is to improve stability.
Wrap a resistance band around a fixed surface at about chest height. Stand with your back to the band and pull one end around to your front. Interlock both hands around the band and hold it in the centre of your chest. Using your interlocked hands, thrust the band out in front of you. Hold for at least two seconds, then slowly bring it back towards your chest to the starting position. Repeat for both sides.
Rotational Slams With Medicine Ball
From anti-rotation onto rotation! This exercise is ideal for developing power through the entire body whilst rotating effectively. The name of the game? Explode! Explosive rotation means more effective groundstrokes.
Hold a medicine ball with both hands in front of hips and stand with feet wider than shoulders. Pivot to the left as you raise arms overhead; then slam the ball down on the ground, catch it as it bounces up, raise arms overhead again, and pivot to the right. Repeat, slamming and catching the ball and then pivoting to the opposite side. Continue, rotating from side to side.
Banded Internal & External Rotation
A banded internal & external rotation a day keeps the doctor away! Well, something like that. In tennis it is vital you keep the shoulder, particularily the rotator cuffs, in great shape. They’re under so much duress, stress and excess workload a majority of the time in the sport. So it is vital you take care of your shoulders. We reccomended doing this before any hitting session or workout session.
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift
It’s an RDL, with a little extra balancing! It’s called a 3 way cross over hand reach and it is ideal for improving balance and stability on both sides of your body.
Place three (3) cones (targets) in a semi-circle 1-2 feet in front of you. Take on single leg stance position; knee and hip are slightly flexed; non-weight bearing knee is flexed at 90˚; back remains straight; face the cones; maintain neutral head position; keep looking forward. Use right hand, extend arm, and reach towards the cone in front of you (cone #2) without losing stability. Cross over and reach the cone to the left (cone #1) with the right hand. Use the left hand and cross over to touch the cone to the right (cone #3). Switch legs and start with the left hand
Skipping is one of the best ways you can improve your footwork for tennis AND a killer workout on it’s own. As you need to be light and use the balls of your feet when skipping, this mimics the exact motions we want to have when we’re playing tennis, light, and on the balls of our feet when moving on the tennis court.
Putting these 5 tennis specific exercises into an off court workout is a great way to improve your game. Try incorporating them into your weekly routine and watch your game go to the next level!