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Fitness for tennis

Fitness for tennis

Late June in southwest London – get set for Wimbledon! Here comes two weeks of tradition, strawberries and cream, unpredictable weather and of course top athletes in fierce competition. What a wonderful inspiration to start or continue with this great sport.

Tennis can be a demanding game at any level. Your tennis will make you fitter, but to improve your game and help to avoid injury you need to get fitter for tennis. Take a leaf out of the professional book and do some pre-game training.

WHAT ARE THE DEMANDS OF TENNIS?

Chasing that ball requires speed and agility. You need the ability to make sudden moves from a standing start, and to cover ground quickly. You need flexibility to stretch outwards, downwards and upwards.

You need sufficient stamina to finish the game – you may not be playing a five-set marathon, but an hour or two of tennis is an excellent workout.

WHAT CARDIO EXERCISE SHOULD I DO?

In short – anything that you enjoy! Running, cycling and swimming all raise the heart rate and get the blood pumping. Training for tennis is a great reason to try out a new cardio class at your gym.

HOW DO I STRENGTHEN MY RACKET ARM?

The triceps muscle is extremely important for tennis players, especially in the sudden movement of the serve. So make sure you include triceps dips in your workout repertoire. Once you are stronger, try some pull-ups and chin-ups to spread the effort to your whole upper body.

WHAT ABOUT PREVENTING INJURY?

Flexibility and strong joints are the absolute keys here. Ankles and knees are vulnerable due to the twists and turns, and that racket arm also needs looking after to avoid wrist injuries.

Try this sequence of moves to help strengthen and stabilise joints, and the supporting structures.

Don’t forget to look after yourself while playing. Suncream and a hat are essentials for the high UV levels in June, and keep yourself hydrated.

Finally, do some warm-down stretches after the game to reduce those next day aches and pains.

Tennis is excellent all-round exercise, whatever your level. So this year, resolve that tennis is for life, not just for Wimbledon!

 

the author

Jessica Ambrose

Jessica is a fitness writer who loves long distance running, yoga, strength training and healthy eating.

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