Every year, as the weather warms up, the tennis courts tempt you to return, but if you're not in good shape for playing tennis, you can risk soreness, injury or, worst of all, the loss of a match. Get prepared for tennis season by getting into tennis shape. Start slowly if you haven't worked out in a while. Focus on building strength, cardiovascular fitness and flexibility.
Start Cardio Training
Begin by walking for 15 minutes every day. After one week, increase that to 30 minutes a day. Progress to jogging for 15 minutes when you're ready. Don't overdo it to start, or you'll get discouraged and quit.
Opt to swim laps in a pool for an excellent cardio routine that is easy on the joints. Sprinting and driving for tennis balls is hard on the knees and ankles; using water for your cardio can help preserve your joints if you have concerns.
Add sprint drills into your routine when your cardio fitness is improved. Set out three markers using T-shirts, hats or any other belonging on a track or just in your backyard. Run to the farthest point first, then back, then to the second point, then back, then to the closest point and then back to prepare yourself for the courts.
Jump rope to torch calories and challenge your heart and lungs. See how many times you can jump rope two times a week, and try to improve the number every week. This will also help strengthen your quads.
Beef Up Your Strength
Use free weights, which could be dumbbells, barbells or kettlebells, for biceps curls and triceps kickbacks. Upper-arm strength is important for forceful groundstrokes. Just 12 repetitions of each exercise is enough to build strength.
Do shoulder exercises that emphasize strengthening the area around your rotator cuff. Shoulder raises and dumbbell rows are effective for building up the muscles you use to smash serves over the net.
Do situps, crunches or planks on an exercise mat to build up your core. One effective exercise is to get into a plank pose and then twist your body from side to side as you bring your knees in one at a time. A strong core is fundamental for powerful hits.
Do lunge exercises to build up your quads and to improve flexibility. Grab a pair of dumbbells to add an extra challenge to this exercise.
- Perform strength-training exercises for 20 to 30 minutes two to three times a week to see significant improvement in your muscular fitness.
- Before playing against an opponent, practice hitting the ball against a wall to practice good aim and form.