Still Getting Into The Swing of Things? Try These Exercises to Improve Your Tennis Game

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With year-round sunny weather in Santa Barbara, tennis is an anytime game. That’s why our six hard courts and four Har-True clay courts are up and running 365. Here, the courts are hot, the drinks are cool, and the days are long. Whether you’re an aficionado or beginner, we’ve put together five exercises you can do to improve your tennis game.  

Why Improve Your Tennis Game Off the Court 

As with any sport, practice on the field or the court will only get you so far. If you want to see a real, overall improvement in your game, you need a well-balanced approach. The balance we’re talking about, of course, refers to training different muscle groups that improve your movement, flexibility, and strength when used in your sport of choice. If you’re a tennis buff, you know these movements center mostly around torso rotations, lateral movements, swing power, and reflexivity. 

Top Exercises For Tennis-Top Shape 

Get ready to improve your tennis games with these top five exercises. 

1. Torso Rotations 

Torso rotation is the key to power and control in tennis. Without getting too deep into the biomechanics of it all, leg and trunk rotations increase racquet and shoulder speed and help the racquet arm “work together as a unit.” To improve return shots with a torso rotation, keep your upper arms near your sides, elbows bent, and hands by the midline of your body. Next, slowly rotate your head, chest, and torso in one direction and then the other. Add a free weight or use a rotary torso machine for more resistance. Start with three sets of 10 reps and add more sets or more weight as your rotations get stronger. 

Video tutorial here

2. Lateral Banded Walks 

These admittedly-awkward walks help to strengthen your hips and legs and improve balance. Grab a resistance band (the resistance amount is up to you), step into it, and bring the band above your knees. Then, find a half or quarter squat position and take purposeful steps to each side, keeping your back straight and arms in front of you. 

Video tutorial here

3. Medicine Ball Throws 

When you need power for your swings, you need core and upper body strength. Medicine ball throws are great for improving both. While holding a medicine ball in both hands (whatever weight you’re comfortable with), drop into a semi-squat then thrust through your hips while extending your legs and releasing the ball. Catch and repeat, but don’t forget to maintain that good form! 

Video tutorial here (0:15-0:48). 

4. Kettlebell Swings 

If you’re a tennis fan, you’ve probably experienced getting lost in the hypnotic back and forth, and then BAM, an explosive movement by one of the players changes the entire game. Kettlebell swings can help increase your explosiveness on the court and improve your tennis game. Grab a kettlebell of any weight and stand tall. With legs hip-distance apart, hinge at the hips, bringing your chest parallel to the floor while keeping your back flat. Then explode through your hips to bring the weight swinging forward. Don’t forget to squeeze your glutes at the top of the exercise. Just be sure that you’re using the momentum from your hip drive to move the kettlebell and not curling it with your arms or shoulders. This exercise should primarily work the posterior chain (hamstring, hips, glutes) and not your arms and shoulders. 

Video tutorial here

5. Treadmill or Track Interval Training 

Lastly, cardio fitness is the ultimate go-to for any sports training. With treadmill or track interval training, you can improve your cardiovascular fitness and work on fast/slow recovery that translates onto the court. Interval training is all about pushing your body to an anaerobic limit and then recovering. Start slow then increase your speed for a burst of 30 seconds and lower back down for about two minutes (or less). Continue for as many intervals as you are able. 

Video tutorial here

Improve Your Tennis Game with Cathedral Oaks Athletic Club! 

To improve your tennis game, you need more than the best racquet and well-conditioned court. By performing these five exercises regularly, you can improve your power, explosiveness, and overall control when back on the court. And in addition to our expertly run tennis workshops and training clinics at Cathedral Oaks Athletic Club, we say game on!