7 Exercises Every Tennis Player Should Know
The serve can be a wonderful source of free points. Unfortunately, it can be for your opponent if yours lacks pop. Use the moves that follow to beef up your serve, and refine your technique with this tip from Justyn Schelver, co-director at the Van Der Meer Tennis Academy.
You should have your toss-side shoulder blade facing the net when you release the ball in order to coil your torso and generate the necessary force. “The toss dictates what you do with your service motion,” says Schelver. Put the ball 2-3 feet in front of your hitting shoulder. You’ll be able to explode up and forward, and with a relaxed arm and grip, you’ll transfer the weight up from your legs into your upper body as it unwinds into the ball.
As for the service-boosting exercises, be sure to include these in your routine.
Take an 8-pound medicine ball, bring it over your head with both hands, and, while focusing on being tight and long, drive the ball down, enough to bring your feet off the ground. “This is fantastic for explosive power through the upper body,” says Nick Anthony, a performance specialist at Athletes’ Performance in Arizona. One warning: If you use an air-filled ball, be careful of the potential rebound into your face. Do 2-3 sets of 8 reps. Watch the video below and click here for detailed instructions.
The serve is a twisting force and this exercise works that movement and generates the needed power. A sand-filled ball is preferable, but an air one will do just fine, Anthony says. Start with 2-3 sets of 8 reps. Watch the video below to learn to do it right.
For the upper and forward drive, the serve requires hip strength and balance. “Single leg squats improve balance, strength, and stability through your torso," Anthony says. Aim for three sets of 8-10 reps. Watch this video to learn how to do it.
While the majority of the power for your serve comes from the lower body and torso, your shoulder needs to be strong and stable. Done standing or lying over a physioball, these four exercises develop both strength and functional stability, helping to prevent injuries that would come from overcompensation, Anthony says. Start with three sets of 5-second static holds (squeeze your shoulder blades at the top of the move and hold for a count of five) and progress by increasing the time, adding reps, and using light weights. Click here for detailed instructions to learn proper form for each movement.
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About The Author
Steve Calechman – Steve Calechman is a contributing writer for CorePerformance.com. He has published articles for Men's Health, Natural Health, The Robb Report and Women's Health magazine.