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  • Carol Michaels

Tennis Conditioning

As we get older it becomes very important to strength train in order to keep the body strong for sports and to prevent injuries. The following are several exercises that will help you to improve your game and are good for your muscles and bones.

Criss Cross Exercise

A strong core is needed because there are so many fast moves and weight shifts in a tennis game and a strong core is needed for balance. It will also help with strong torso rotations on a ground stroke. This exercise strengthens the rectus abdominus and the obliques in one exercise.

Lie flat on your back with your legs extended. Place your fingertips behind your ears. Contract your abdominals and raise your legs slightly off the ground, then pull one knee in toward your chest .Bring your opposite elbow toward the lifted knee. Reverse. Do not let your legs touch the floor until you are finished with your repetitions.

Calf Raises and Jump Rope

Calf raises and jumping rope strengthen the calf muscles which will help you to get to a ball quickly and improve general reaction time. Strengthening and stretching the calf muscle can prevent a pulled calf muscle which is a common tennis injury.

Stand up straight with your feet hip width apart. Slowly raise your heels until you are standing on the balls of your feet. Pause, then slowly lower your heels back down to the floor and repeat.

Variation: To increase the intensity, you may hold a light dumbbell in each hand while performing the calf raises.

Rotator Cuff Exercises

Tennis players should perform rotator cuff exercises in order to prevent shoulder injuries. The serving motion and overhead shots can be rough on the rotator cuff and strengthening it may prevent a torn rotator cuff.

Internal rotation: Anchor your band at waist level and stand sideways to the band, holding it in your inside hand with your elbow bent at your side. Exhale as you rotate your arm to bring the band across your waist, keeping your elbow in place. Inhale as you open your arm and return the band to the starting position. External rotation: Holding the band in your outside hand with your arm folded across your waist, exhale as you rotate your arm to bring your forearm out to the side, keeping your elbow in place. Inhale as you close your arm and return the band to the starting position. Without anchor: Hold your band in both hands, elbows bent, palms facing up and forearms extended in front of you. Exhale as you externally rotate your arms, keeping your elbows in place. Inhale and resist the movement as you return the band to the starting position.


Tennis players need strong glutes and legs. The squat strengthens the major muscles groups that are needed for tennis.

Stand with your legs hip-width apart. Slowly bend your knees and lower your bottom backward, as if starting to sit in the chair. Lower as far as you can, then stand back up.

Forward Lunges

A tennis volley is powered from the legs. By performing lunges in all directions, one can strengthen the legs in the way that they are used when volleying.

Step forward with one leg and shift your weight on to that leg. Lower your front knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Be sure that your knee does not push forward past your ankle. Press up with your leg to return to a straight standing position.

Carol Michaels

Owner Carol Michaels Fitness/ Recovery Fitness


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