With Wimbledon in full swing and the UK experiencing a heatwave, you may want to don your tennis whites, dust off your old tennis racket and head down to your local tennis club for a game.
Whilst tennis is one of the most artistic and elegant sports to watch its high impact, stop-start nature, makes it one of the most physically demanding sports to play. Here at The Physiotherapy Unit, we believe you can minimise the risk of picking up an injury when playing tennis by strengthening and stretching specific parts of the body.
Follow our step by step guide to improving these areas and you can throw yourself around your local court like Andy Murray safe in the knowledge that you have done everything you can to decrease the likelihood of injury.
Step 1- Strengthen your shoulders
During a game of tennis repeated stress is placed on the shoulders as each stroke requires a long yet intense movement of either one or both arms. This can lead to a variety of shoulder related injuries. To minimise the potential of developing such problems you need to ensure your shoulder joints and muscles remain supple and strong. Here are four exercises that will help you achieve this. All you need is a resistance band, a pair of light dumbbells, an exercise ball and a foam roller.
Step 2- Stretch your back
A great stress is placed on your lower back muscles during a tennis match as your core supports every sudden forward, backward and lateral motion. Both forehands and backhands require a rotation of the trunk and the serve necessitates a hyper-extension of the lower back. To minimise the impact of these movements it is important to regularly stretch your back muscles. Here are two great back stretches we have picked out for you to try.
Step 3- Strong core
As eluded to in ‘Step 2’ the core supports every movement of the body during a game of tennis. It is therefore important to build and maintain the strength of your core muscles. Not only will this help prevent injury, it will also improve your overall tennis game and allow you to hit shots with more power as less kinetic energy will be lost from your body in the lead up to a stroke. Here are three simple core exercises for you to try that require no apparatus.