Playing competitive Tennis places demands upon the body, the muscle structures must be strong enough for a player to maintain their balance and stability during play, enabling the player to compete at a high level throughout a tournament without injury.
Basic muscle strength is obtained by resistance training, for a Tennis player this should be a combination of resistance machine training and the use of free weights. The majority of the exercises should be done using free weights as this encourages the development of the smaller muscles groups which provides joint stability.
Resistance training programmes should be designed for the specific needs of the player.
When a player starts weight training the body will adapt and become stronger, the player will generate more power, run faster and will have to stop more quickly, this will result in more load put onto muscles, if a general conditioning programme has not been used initially to increase the strength of all muscles there is a risk of injury.
Therefore a general weighting training programme should be used initially with a strong focus on the correct technique to ensure correct development of muscles. Once the player can complete a series of exercises correctly the players programme should be modified to focus on the muscle groups used in Tennis. The major muscles groups used for each stroke are:
Consideration should then be given to the strength requirements to develop power for the player to start, stop and change direction quickly.
Due to the frequency of strokes Tennis players make their body develops asymmetrically, especially throughout the back, shoulders and arms. If a Tennis player attempts an exercise with a barbell where the barbell is raised overhead the one sided strength can be easily observed. This gives the Tennis player the problem of exercising correctly, they tend to use the stronger side. Kettlebells are useful for a Tennis player, two handed kettle bell swings ensure both sides of the back and the shoulders and arms are used equally throughout the exercise. Unilateral Kettlebell exercises e.g. Single Leg Dead lifts, Kettlebell Pistols, and Single Leg squats develop muscles and require high levels of stability which meets the demand of Tennis players moving around a court.
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