Tennis is a sport with an emphasis on agility, shoulder strength, and stamina. Agility allows you to traverse the court in any direction at any given time. Shoulder strength lets you manipulate your strikes and make those powerful shots when it counts. Stamina ensures you can execute the motions over and over to make your performance as efficient as possible. At Gorin Tennis, we understand the physical requirements of elite tennis players and want to help you learn what it takes to reach your peak performance. With that in mind, here are some of the best workouts for tennis players that require minimal equipment!
The Leg Workouts
A healthy lower half is vital for your overall tennis performance. Powerful legs mean longer strides and leaps, allowing you to get around the court faster. You never know when speed might be key in allowing you to foil an opponent’s forced point.
The Lateral Lunge
- Assume a good, straight-standing starting position.
- Step out to your left.
- Lower your hips by squatting down with your left leg, keeping your right leg straight.
- Push up with your left leg to return to your starting position.
- Repeat for your right side.
You should feel this workout stretching your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and inner thigh. Start with 5 reps for each side to get a feel for your tolerance during your first workout. Then, gradually increase to 10 reps when you repeat the workout routine in the future. You can incorporate dumbbells in the future for an extra challenge!
The Drop Lunge
- Assume your good, straight-standing starting position.
- Step back with your left foot.
- Making sure your hips are square, gradually lower yourself into a squat with your right leg. Keep your knee centered above your foot.
- Push up with your right leg and bring your left leg back forward to your starting position. You should be back in your starting position.
- Repeat with your other leg.
Sprinting may seem a little old-school to some, but it is essential on the tennis court. Short bursts of speed are constantly required in matches, and sprints will allow you to handle them well. The kinds of sprints we’ll cover here are known as “Suicide Sprints” and are great for both speed and stamina training.
- Find an area with at least 50 feet of unobstructed space for you to run.
- Set distance markers, cones or whatever you have on hand, at 10-foot intervals. Start with three markers for a total of 20 feet between the first and the last marker.
- Warm-up by doing a full set of jumping jacks, going on a short, light jog, or another mild cardio activity.
- Set yourself up at the first marker.
- Sprint to the second marker, touch it, then sprint back to the first.
- Immediately sprint to the third marker, touch it, then sprint back to the first. You’ve completed one set.
Try to complete at least 5 sets without stopping your first time. Then, see how many you can perform in a 20 minute period. Make sure you give yourself a break when you need it, and drink plenty of water to prepare! Once your endurance is built up a little, you can increase the number of markers to extend your course. Make sure when you’re running that you’re focusing on your form and not how fast you’re running. Speed will come after perfecting your form.
The Upper Body Workouts
Your core and arm strength are also crucial to your tennis performance. They allow you to keep striking the ball back at your opponent time after time. Here are some of the best workout techniques to keep your upper body in excellent shape.
The Medicine Ball Exercises
Okay, so this is a pretty broad term to describe an array of things you can do with one object: a medicine ball. We’ll only focus on one workout here — The Granny Toss — but there are so many other ways to utilize a medicine ball in your exercise routine.
- Assume a good starting position. Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart, your knees are slightly bent, your hips are squared, and you’re holding a medicine ball below your waist.
- Perform a squat. Make sure your arms are straight.
- Using the depth of the squat, powerfully lunge out of it into a jump, throwing the ball into the air as you do.
- Catch the ball, return to your starting position, and repeat. This is one rep.
This exercise is really a full-body workout but really emphasizes your abdominal and shoulder strength. You should really feel in your shoulders, biceps, chest, abdominals, and legs. Start with 10 reps with a reasonably-sized medicine ball for your needs, then increase both each time you perform the workout.
Everyone knows what a push-up is, and most people know how to actually do one. However, regular push-ups are relatively inefficient after a while. With a little twist called the “Spider-Man”, push-ups can be used to not only increase shoulder and chest strength, but also flexibility.
- Assume a good starting push-up position. Lay on the ground with your palms flat on the floor. Make sure they’re just past shoulder-length apart and your fingertips are parallel with your body. Push-up, making sure your back and legs are straight.
- Reach forward with your left hand and step forward with your right leg.
- Perform a push-up in your current position.
- When you’re back at your starting point, repeat with your opposite hand and leg.
- You’ve completed one rep. Repeat the process.
This method of push-ups requires your shoulders, biceps, and abdominals to exert strength in the different directions that you use them. This enhances flexibility while also building lean muscle. You should feel the exercise in your chest, arms, shoulders, upper abs, and thighs. Start with 5 reps of this exercise to get a feel for it. Then, gradually work up to 20 reps or higher.
Tennis, like any sport, requires hard work and dedication. While you perform some of these workouts, you may feel wiped out. This is normal. If you remain diligent, the burning will reduce and you’ll be able to take your exercise sessions farther and farther. Physical fitness will not only make you feel better, but it will also enhance your skills on the tennis court. For other ways to reach your peak tennis performance, feel free to contact our championship team at Gorin Tennis!