Hope all is well. While improving one’s technique hitting a forehand or serve is important, today I’ll be focusing on improving one’s preparation before even picking up a racquet. Below, I’ll be covering the importance of a strong dynamic warm-up, including five exercises. First, I’ll explain the importance of a dynamic warm-up.
Why a dynamic warm-up?
A dynamic warm-up is a series of sport specific movements that are designed to prepare the muscles for athletic performance. There are a few (of many) reasons to start a day of training dynamically instead of with traditional static stretching.
It prepares the joints and muscles in a more sport specific manner
It improves the coordination and jump starts the nervous system. This action is especially beneficial for younger athletes who are still developing.
It helps mentally prepare one for a match or practice than sitting a stretching.
This exercise is important when warming up the hamstrings and prevent injury. In tennis, we place our bodies under a lot of stress for hours at a time. Therefore, maintaining flexible hamstrings is vital to the lasting the success of one’s career.
With this exercise, you warm-up the inner thigh and outer hip areas. Further, as you raise one leg, the other works to maintain balance and tone your calf, hamstrings, quadriceps and gluteus maximus. Throughout training and matches, one can expect to change directions frequently. By warming up the inner and outer hip areas, this exercise will lessen the likelihood that players will face injuries to the hip flexors and increase running efficiency.
Similar to the previous exercises, this movement primarily warms up the hamstrings and secondly, the gluteus maximus. Both areas are worked hard in tennis so it's important to take our time with hamstrings and glutes.
This exercise is vital for tennis players as it not only warms up the quads, calves, hamstrings and hip flexors, but also works as a plyo movement for players to transfer their weight forward as they jump. This explosive exercise helps build power from the legs. This translates well when the athlete practices their serve and other techniques.
Lunge with a twist:
Maintaining balance is extremely important for most sports. Tennis is no different. This exercise isolates your hamstrings and quads during the lunge motion. By adding the twist, the athlete causes the glutes to contract and engage the core. Overall, there are many immediate applications of this exercise. For groundstrokes especially, there is a lot of loading from the legs and twisting of the core. Using this exercises during warm-up can only help improve one’s stamina on the court.
A special thank you to the young ladies demonstrating these exercises, Sophie, Lacie and Maggie!
By Steven Gilliam