Whether you are preparing before a game or taking a regular training session, it is of vital importance that you perform an effective warm up before you play or train.
An effective tennis warm up increases the heart rate and blood through the body, it will also help help the muscles and joints for exercise and stimulates the nervous system.
Your club coach will advise you how to warm up before sessions and remember to include these top tips in your session.
A thorough warm up should include:-
A slow jog, moderate cycling or 3-5 minutes of skipping (forward, backward and lateral). The aim is to increase your heart rate, so gently increase the intensity of your activity during the session.
Activating your muscles works by stimulating certain muscles and getting them fired up. Many people have muscle imbalances or potential instability issues around certain joints, so it is important to stimulate the proper muscles and encourage them to move.
Do not confuse activation with muscle fatigue, activation works by stimulating the muscle and not by fatiguing it.
Starting on all fours, draw the navel to your spine and keep your hips balanced. Breathe out, raising your right arm up until it is even with your shoulder, at the same time lift your left leg up until it is even with your hip.
Lying face up, bend your knees, feet hip width apart. Push through your heels and lift your hips up off the ground. Squeezing your bottom muscles together and hold this position for 2-3 seconds.
Range of Motion
ROM exercises are an active stretch or loosening up of the body. The purpose of ROM exercises is to open up “chain of movement” rather than a specific area or muscle. This activity is really important in tennis as it is a multi-directional game.
With your feet wide apart, toes out, weight through heels, squat down ensuring knees are aligned with the little toe. You should feel the stretch on the inner thighs. Coming out of the squat and lift arms over your head so you can feel a stretch under the arms.
Step with one leg forward and lower the back knee towards the ground into a lunge position, hold this and rotate the upper body over the front leg. Return to the centre and repeat for the opposite side.
The final part of the warm up. As it sounds Shadowing mimics the movements that you would normally perform on court. This exercise engages the nervous system and leads the body to follow specific movement patterns. These rehearsals are an important part of your mental preparation as well.
Perform shadowing for three minutes, alternating between forehands, backhands, overhead or smash and volleys.
Do not skimp on your warm up exercises before a match, always leave yourself enough time for a proper session as you do not want to risk possible injury.