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Essential Gym Workouts For Tennis
It’s time to switch it up. Team up with professional trainer Dave Connor and learn six essential off-court tennis workouts.
Strength, agility, and flexibility go hand and hand in tennis. To pay homage to this trio, tennis players must switch up their workouts. Workouts for tennis should take place on and off the court. Gym workouts for tennis allow players to build strength, endurance and work on their agility and flexibility. We teamed up with EXOS professional trainer Dave Connor to teach us six essential off-court tennis exercises. “Off-court workouts are beneficial to tennis players because the stronger you are off-court, the more likely you are to be able to express that strength on the court,” said Connor.
GET OFF-COURT: TENNIS GYM WORKOUTS
Versatility in training is what separates good players from great players. Workouts for tennis need to enhance a player’s overall fitness, and gym workouts do just that. The tennis exercises below will improve your strength, speed, power, and prepare your mind and body for the game. Let’s spring right into it.
DRILL 01: SQUAT JUMPS
Why This Workout: This exercise fosters explosive strength to move around the court.
How Many: 2-3 sets of 3-5 reps
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands up to the sky.
- Lower into a squat position while throwing your hands down to the floor.
- Explode up and bring your hands back up to the sky.
- Land gently into your squat on firmly planted feet with your arms back.
- Repeat exercise.
DRILL 02: SPRINT TO BACK-PEDAL
Why This Workout: This exercise increases your speed and ability to accelerate and decelerate on the court.
How Many: 2–3 sets of 5-10 meters
Instructions: We are using lines for this move. If you don’t have lines in your gym you can set up cones 5-10 meters apart.
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and slightly squat down.
- Sprint forward three steps and plant your foot at a slight angle.
- Push off your plant foot to back-pedal hard and fast to the start line.
- Repeat exercise.
DRILL 03: CONTINUOUS LATERAL BOUND
Why This Workout: This exercise teaches tennis players to control their hips, knees, and ankles during explosive movements and to absorb impact.
How Many: 3–4 sets of 3–5 reps
- Start in a half-squat, loading your weight into your right leg.
- Push off your right leg and bound laterally to the left leg.
- Push off your left leg and land on your right.
- Continuously bound from left to right, aiming for distance and power
DRILL 04: Y, T, W
Why This Workout: This exercise helps with proper shoulder mobility and strengthening your tennis serve. Focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together at the top of each movement.
How Many: 3-5 reps of 2-3 sets
- Stand shoulder width apart. Shift your hips back, keeping your knees bent, and hinge your chest toward the floor.
- Raise your arms up at a slight angle into a Y position. Squeeze your shoulders & point your thumbs upward. Lower your arms.
- Raise your arms out to the side into a T position and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Your thumbs should be facing down. Lower your arms.
- Bend and raise your elbows into a W-position. Lift your thumbs as high as possible.
DRILL 05: 3-WAY LUNGE
Why This Workout: This exercise improves the strength of your entire lower body and your balance, coordination, and overall tennis fitness.
How Many: 2-4 sets of 3-5 reps
- Stand shoulder width apart.
- Step your right foot forward into a lunge, landing with a flat foot.
- Push back into your standing position.
- Step to the right into a lateral lunge. Return to standing position.
- Step into a reverse lunge and then return to standing position.
- Repeat movement on the other leg.
DRILL 06: PLANK WITH ROTATION
Why This Workout: This exercise will target the obliques. These muscles have a huge workload when you swing the racket and move around the court.
How Many: 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps each
- Start in a forearm plank position with your thumbs touching and feet slightly wider than your hips.
- Shift your weight onto your right side as you rotate your left arm to the sky, rotating to the sides of your feet.
- Contract your core to lift up through your right oblique.
- Rotate back down into a plank position. Take a beat and then rotate to the other side.
TENNIS WORKOUT FOR THE WIN
Rome wasn't built in a day, and you won’t become a tennis sensation overnight. Consistency is what matters when working on your tennis game. "Consistency is key," said Connor. “You don't get everything from one workout, from one meal, from one night of sleep. It requires a long-term commitment." Commit to yourself and your craft, and you'll see results soon!
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