Tennis Warm Up (Upper Core & Arms): Part One
Whether you’re getting ready for a match or just hitting with friends, following the advice below will help you optimize your on court time and prevent injuries. Part 1 of this 3 part series outlines upper core and arms warm-up. Part Two will outline lower core and legs warm-up and part 3 will outline on court warm-up strategies and post play stretching tips.
Since most of the effects of warm up are temperature related some form of general warm-up should be done before hitting a single ball. Slowly but methodically warming the body’s tissues helps prevent injuries that may be caused by going too hard, too fast, too soon with cold, un-lubricated muscles and joints. Start with an easy jog around the outside of the court and add in some crossovers and side shuffles drills.
One of the main contributors to injury in the club player is the complete absence of any Pre-Play Warm-Up Routine.
Upper Core & Shoulder Warm-Up:
Proper warm-up prepares the muscles you will use in training and prepares the joints for movement and dynamic stability throughoutÂ a full range of motion. Tennis specific movements to help improve the relaxation-contraction coordination of the joints’ prime movers and stabilizers leading to more efficient movement and performance. Try doing 10 repetitions of shoulder shrugs, arm swings and thread the needle rotation exercises. These warm-ups will help to get the correct muscle sequence firing, stabilize the shoulder girdle, improve deceleration control and lubricate the joints.
Try doing some dynamic push ups against the fence or wall. Do 2 sets of 6 reps with a narrow hand position, medium and wide. Also, take your stretch cord and do stretch cord rows, external rotations and diagonals to warm-up the mid-scapular and post cuff muscles. Try 2 sets of 5-10 repetitions.
To help improve the function and control of your upper core (scapula & shoulder) use your stretch cord and do exercises to form the letters IÂ & T.
Pre-Hit Conform Stretching:
Dynamic warm-up is your best activity before playing. However once you are warmed up you can do some gentle conform stretches to maintain muscle length or stretch out muscles that still feel tight. These type of stretches are not aggressive enough to tear and weaken muscle fibers. Hold the stretches for 15 – 20 seconds at the point of tension only (NEVER PAIN).
Proper dynamic warm up prior to playing will help prevent injuries and should be a part of every players routine. Good luck and see you on the court..