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Off Your Chest: Using a Medicine Ball for Upper Body Strength

Choose a moderately heavy medicine ball (6 to 20 pounds), taking into account your strength, age and current physical condition.
Face a solid wall and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and core contracted. Hold the medicine ball in both hands, with your arms extended in front of your chest.
Quickly bend your elbows to bring the medicine ball to your chest, then explosively throw the ball against the wall by contracting your chest and triceps muscles. Retrieve the ball and repeat.
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By Paul Roetert, PhD, biomechanics and author of Tennis Anatomy
 
In tennis, the chest muscles serve several purposes. First, tennis requires balance. Proper muscular balance between the anterior (front) and posterior (back) of the body is critical for achieving good performances on the court and staying injury-free.
 
Strong chest muscles are also key when hitting balls above shoulder level, especially high bouncing balls with topspin. Significant strength is needed to hit these balls outside the typical strike zone and with enough force and spin to gain control of that specific point. This concept also holds while you’re reaching for a wide or low shot. The key is to train these muscles in concert with the back muscles and those that facilitate body rotation.
 
Even when they aren’t serving as the primary muscles in a specific tennis stroke, the chest muscles often play an important secondary role: preventing injury and encouraging proper posture, which may prolong your tennis career and increase the stroke velocity and power you provide to each stroke.
 
The chest throw is an excellent exercise that requires only a medicine ball. The focus is on the pectoralis major, triceps, and serratus anterior. These muscles are engaged particularly during the upward or forward swing of the tennis serve, but they’re also used in most other strokes. The secondary muscles provide stability and balance when doing this exercise, similar to the stability and balance they would provide during the service motion.
 
Chest Throw:
  
1. Choose a moderately heavy medicine ball (6 to 20 pounds), taking into account your strength, age and current physical condition.
 
2. Face a solid wall and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and core contracted. Hold the medicine ball in both hands, with your arms extended in front of your chest.
 
3. Quickly bend your elbows to bring the medicine ball to your chest, then explosively throw the ball against the wall by contracting your chest and triceps muscles. Retrieve the ball and repeat.
 
Variation: Supine Medicine-Ball Throw
 
Lie on the ground on your back. Bend your knees and plant your heels on the floor. Grasp a light medicine ball (4 to 8 pounds) in both hands and extend your arms straight up in front of your eyes. Bend your elbows to bring the medicine ball to your chest. When the ball touches your chest, rapidly throw it as high as possible over your eyes, making sure your partner is there to catch it. After catching the ball, your partner gently drops it over your chest. Catch the ball by contracting your chest muscles. After catching the ball, immediately attempt to throw it into the air again.

 
 
 
 
 

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