Improve your tennis game

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Brian Sampson from St. Petersburg demonstrates a forearm board at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times ]

Tennis, one of the most popular sports in the world, is a sport for life.

Because tennis emphasizes rotational strength, rapid lateral movements, and shoulder stability, muscles in the upper and lower body must be strong and flexible. An off-court tennis workout will focus on the physical components needed to increase your endurance, agility, speed and balance, as well as to build the power of your shots and help prevent repetitive stress injuries on certain joints. .

Common injuries

Most tennis injuries are due to incorrect form and poor conditioning. Here are some places that are prone to problems.

ELBOWS: Tennis elbow is caused by overuse and muscle strain caused by repetitive arm and wrist movements and poor form when hitting the ball. Another possible cause is the repeated use of the backhand kick when using poor technique. Additionally, when the shoulders are tight, there is a tendency to overcompensate with the arms which can lead to elbow problems.

SHOULDERS: The rotator cuff muscle group is heavily involved in all racquet sports. It helps to position the shoulder correctly in the shoulder socket. When weak, the tendon or bursa can become inflamed.

LOINS: The lower back, which is part of the core muscle group, experiences some strain from all of the repetitive twisting movements. The obliques and lower back are in constant motion when hitting tennis’s three basic strokes: serve, forehand and backhand.

LEGS: A sharp and sudden change in direction in a deconditioned player can put too much strain on the calf muscle, causing the tendon and calf muscle to tear. This is called the tennis leg.

How to prevent injuries

SHOES: Wear tennis shoes that have good support to help prevent ankle injuries, as well as tennis socks, which have extra padding.

RACKET: Make sure your racquet has the right grip size for you and check the string tension with a tennis pro to reduce stress on your elbows and shoulders.

WARM UP: Increase your circulation with five to 10 minutes of cardio movement.

FLEXIBILITY: It is important to work on this. Lack of flexibility can limit your movement on the court. It can also lead to severe knee and back pain. Always include stretching in your workout.

KNEES: To protect your back when playing, be sure to bend your knees.

HEART: Strengthening your abdominal muscles will strengthen the muscles around the spine and reduce your risk of lower back pain or injury.

your move | Demonstration by Brian Sampson

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Brian Sampson from St. Petersburg demonstrates a bicep curl with a bow at Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club.
Brian Sampson from St. Petersburg demonstrates a bicep curl with a bow at Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times ]

Bicep Curl with Reverent Lunge: Strengthens the front of your arms and lower body.

Contract your abs and stand up straight with your feet together.

Hold a 5-10 pound weight in each hand at your sides with the palms facing inward.

Place your right foot diagonally behind you while bending both knees, as if doing a curtsy.

As you bend your knees, simultaneously turn your palms forward and curl the weights towards your shoulders in a bicep curl. Avoid rolling your wrists inward.

Without moving your upper arms, lower the weights slowly by pressing down on your front foot and return to a standing position.

Repeat eight to 10 times on each side.

Brian Sampson of St. Petersburg demonstrates a forward lunge tricep extension at Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club.
Brian Sampson of St. Petersburg demonstrates a forward lunge tricep extension at Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times ]
Brian Sampson of St. Petersburg demonstrates a forward lunge tricep extension at Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club.
Brian Sampson of St. Petersburg demonstrates a forward lunge tricep extension at Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times ]

Triceps Extension with Front Lunge: Strengthens the back of your arms and your lower body.

Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, abs tight, head and neck aligned with your spine.

Holding a single weight with both hands, extend your arms above your head.

Keeping your back straight, bend your knees and take a big step forward in a lunge position while lowering the weight behind your head by bending your arms at the elbows.

Straighten your elbows as you return to a standing position.

Repeat eight to ten times on one side, then switch sides and repeat with the opposite foot, stepping forward into a lunge.

Brian Sampson of St. Petersburg demonstrates a side elevation with side lunge at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club.
Brian Sampson of St. Petersburg demonstrates a side elevation with side lunge at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times ]

Side rise with side lunge: Strengthens the shoulders and lower body.

Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold a weight in each hand alongside your body, palms facing inward and abs tight.

Take a big step to the right in a side lunge position while slowly raising your right arm to shoulder height, parallel to the floor with a slight elbow flexion, palm down.

Pause, then slowly lower your arm back to a standing position.

Do eight to 10 repetitions, then switch to a lunge on the left side, repeating the pattern eight to 10 times.

Point: Do not use heavy weight.

Brian Sampson from St. Petersburg demonstrates a forearm board at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club.
Brian Sampson from St. Petersburg demonstrates a forearm board at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times ]

Forearm plank: Strengthens the whole body.

Lying on your stomach, place your forearms on the floor, elbows below your shoulders.

Contract your abs and extend your legs with your toes below.

Lift your torso off the ground without arching your back or letting it sag. Your body will be aligned from head to toe.

Hold this position for 10 seconds, increasing up to 60 seconds for three planks.

Consult your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Sally Anderson is happy to hear from readers but cannot respond to individual requests. Contact her at [email protected].


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