Blog

By Meggan Barnett, Personal Trainer

The Village Health Club and Spas, DC Ranch

You’re spending several hours a week on the courts; practicing your footwork, improving your fitness and perfecting your swing. Yet, you’re stalled, maybe plateaued, and not seeing much progress. Sound familiar? Maybe it’s what you’re not doing.

 

Many who enjoy racket sports neglect strengthening the muscles surrounding their shoulders and upper back. Take a look at Serena Williams, her powerful upper body is the result of strategic strength training and stretching for tennis, not just swatting at tennis balls. The addition of stretches and strength exercises to your weekly regimen will help stabilize your rotator cuff, the joint that gives your shoulders their amazing range of motion, and help prevent injury.

Incorporate the following exercises into your tennis routine to keep you in the swing of things and in winning form.

tennis muscles.jpg

Anterior Deltoid Stretch

Importance:   Helps release tension in internal rotators.

Muscles Involved: Anterior Deltoid, Pectoralis Major and Minor, and Biceps Brachii

Equipment: Ledge of wall, doorway, machine, etc.

Execution: Stand facing away from ledge. Arm is behind you and at shoulder height. Keep a slight bend in the elbow to keep from hyperextending. Palm should be flat on ledge and thumb pointed up. Slowly rotate torso away from hand, don’t lean. Hold 10-15 seconds, release and repeat on other arm.

Frequency: Daily, hold 10-15 seconds, 2-3 sets each arm.

Anterior Delt Stretch.jpg

Posterior Deltoid and Upper Back Stretch (with stability ball)

Importance: Helps release tension in upper back and neck.

Muscles Involved: Should feel stretch in posterior side of shoulder and upper back.

Equipment: Stability Ball.

Execution: Kneeling on floor 1 hand is on ball, palm pointed up. Slowly push ball straight across until feel light tension in shoulder and upper back. Head should be neutral. Other hand can rest on floor.

Frequency: Daily, hold 10-15 seconds, 2-3 sets each arm.

Posterior Delt Stretch A.jpg     Posterior Delt Stretch B.jpg

 

Scapular Retraction

Importance: Maintains good scapular position; helps prevent injuries and improves stroke mechanics.

Muscles Involved: Trapezius, Infraspinatus, Rhomboids, Latissimus Dorsi.

Equipment: None

Execution: Stand with feet shoulder width and knees slightly bent. Shoulders and elbows bent at 90° (arms make letter L). While slowly lowering elbows to hips, focus on contracting the rhomboids. Hold this position for 2-5 seconds. Slowly raise elbows to starting position and repeat.

Frequency: 3x week, 6-8 reps, hold reps 2-5 seconds, 2-3 sets.

Scap Retraction A.jpg  Scap Retraction B.jpg

 

90°/90° External Rotation with Abduction

Importance: Strengthens stabilizers to maintain shoulder position and increase serve speed.

Muscles Involved: Subscapularis and Anterior Deltoid.

Equipment: Light resistance band or very light weight. Focus on perfecting movement first.

Execution: Start standing facing anchor of band or cable. Arm should be shoulder height and elbow is flexed at 90° (letter L shape but parallel to floor).  Palm should be pointing down to floor. Slowly raise arm against the resistance until perpendicular to floor (letter L shape pointing up), hold in this position for 2 seconds. Slowly lower arm to starting position; don’t let the band pull you down. Repeat and complete on other arm.

Frequency: 3x week, 8-10 reps, 2-3 sets.

External Rot A.jpg  External Rot B.jpg

90°/90° Internal Rotation with Abduction

Importance: Helps with loading and deceleration during serves.

Muscles Involved: Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, Supraspinatus, Posterior Deltoid.

Equipment: Light resistance band or very light weight. Focus on perfecting movement first.

Execution: Start standing facing away from anchor of band or cable. Arm should be shoulder height and elbow is flexed at 90° (letter L shape but perpendicular to floor). Hand should be pointed towards ceiling. Slowly lower arm against resistance until parallel to floor. Hold for 2 seconds. Slowly raise arm back to starting position; don’t let the band pull you back up. Repeat and complete on other arm.

Frequency: 3x week, 8-10 reps, 2-3 sets.

Internal Rot A.jpg  Internal Rot B.jpg

Seated Row

Importance: Protects shoulders and upper back muscles, especially after ball contact. Focuses body posture to reduce over-development of the trapezius, and limit neck pain.

Muscles Involved: Trapezius, Rhomboids, Latissimus Dorsi, Posterior Deltoid, Biceps Brachii.

Equipment: Machine, cable, or resistance band.

Execution: Sit facing anchor point or machine. Handles should be at chest height. As you pull handle towards you, squeeze your shoulders blades like you are trying to pop a balloon between them. Don’t shrug your shoulders as you pull. Slowly release and return to start, without letting the handles pull you. Focus on shoulder blades doing the work.

Frequency: 3x week, 8-10 reps, 2-3 sets.

Seated Row A.jpg  Seated Row B.jpg

Reverse Fly

Importance: Strengthens scapular stabilizers by activating surrounding muscle groups;  improves endurance and simulates the backhand stroke.

Muscles Involved: Posterior Deltoid, Rhomboids, Trapezius, Latissimus Dorsi, Teres Major, Teres Minor, Infraspinatus, Brachialis, Biceps Brachii.

Equipment: Bench set at incline, light weights.

Execution: Lying face down on bench (aim for bench set 45-60°) with a light dumbbell (5–8 lbs) in each hand. Palms facing each other, arms straight. Slowly raise arms to shoulder height keeping arms straight and palms down. Slowly return to start. Again, focus on squeezing shoulder blades.
Do not perform with heavy weights.

Frequency: 3x week, 8-10 reps, 2-3 sets.

Reverse Fly A.jpg  Reverse Fly B.jpg

About the Author:  Meggan Barnett has a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology and is a Personal Trainer at The Village Health Club and Spas, DC Ranch. She can be contacted at: mbarnett@dmbclubs.com.

 

Subscribe to Our Blog

Latest from Facebook