Tennis may look easy when you watch the pros, but it is the ultimate game of skill and endurance which can last over five hours when two professional players are pipped against one another.
So, if you’re a serious player, you need to ensure you have great endurance levels as well as playing skills to get you to the end of a well-matched match.
Performing proper tennis exercises is pretty key then. Alongside endurance training there are also specific drills and exercises that will boost your fitness and prep your body for the demands of the game. These six tennis exercises are a must for players of all levels.
1. Lateral band walks
Strong and stable hips are essential to support the body as you manoeuvre your way around the court and the first of our tennis exercises is simple but effective and will boost your butt, hips and lower back.
Loop a resistance band around your ankles and ensure there is a little tension when the feet are hip distance apart. Then walk like a crab four steps to one side, then four steps back making sure that as you do so that both thighs are toned, both knees are extended and you have good flexion in both ankles.
Move slowly and take your strides as wide as you can. See if you can manage 20 sets.
This kettlebell exercise is great for upper body strength, torso rotation, range of motion with the shoulders and strength for the arms.
Stride the feet wide with the toes turned out and hold a heavy kettlebell in one hand. Rotate the torso down, crossing the body with the kettlebell and resting it lightly on the floor outside the foot. Then rotate the torso up, crossing the kettlebell back over and lifting it with the hand above and outside the shoulder.
Aims for three sets of 12 on each arm.
3. Deep Lunges
Lunging with the back foot above floor level maximises the strength required from the working leg, takes the leg through a greater range of motion and destabilises the body, so this is a great one for all those lunges you need when you play plus it improves your balance overall.
Rest one foot flat on the floor and the other behind you with the toe tips connected on a bench or step. Bend both knees and ensure you get to right angles at both knees at the low point with the front knee directly above the ankle and the back knee directly below the hip. If you’re strong make yourself work harder by holding some dumbbells.
Complete three sets of 15 on each leg.
4. Lateral jumps
Any high-intensity moves are great for building stamina and upping your fitness levels, so if you can get a HIIT workout in on top of everything else it’s recommended. Lateral jumps are good because in addition to the benefits of high-intensity training they take the body through a movement you may well need in a game.
Get a couple of parallel line markers, it could be tape on a studio floor or a line between floorboards, and stand with your feet together on one side then jump over to the other side. Try and bend the knees to kick the heels back when you travel and aim always to land the feet at exactly the same time.
Do three sets of 45 seconds with a 15 second breather in between. See if you can sustain the number of reps each time.
5. Grand Slams
The force of a fast tennis ball against a racket is huge, so having the strength to return it is a must.
Hold a medicine ball above your head in both hands and then dynamically throw it down while jumping the feet up. Be wary of it bouncing up and ensure you dodge it when it does.
Repeat 10 times and complete 4 sets.
6. Run arounds
Tennis players need to cover a fair bit of ground at speed and position themselves high or low to connect with the ball when they get there so this simple drill enables you to practise those moves.
This is a random exercise that involves you starting at a point, running four paces away and either tapping the floor with the racket hand or jumping and swinging the racket hand high then running back. It’s a great one to buddy up for, taking it in turns to shout the direction and the move at the end of it.
Do four 45-second sets with a 15 second break in between.
Incorporate these tennis exercises into your routine and let us know if you notice improvements in your fitness and performance!