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NEWS

Shoulder the Load: Exercises to Control Your Strokes

October 23, 2012 05:10 PM
Front Raise
Lateral Raise
Bent-Over Rear Raise
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By Paul Roetert, PhD, biomechanics and the author of Tennis Anatomy
 
The shoulder may be the most important joint in the body for tennis players. It allows for a tremendous range of motion and is particularly helpful in stretching for wide ground strokes, lunging for low volleys and reaching up to hit big serves and overheads.
 
Although the dominant arm receives the bulk of the workload during play, I suggest training both dominant and nondominant sides of the body equally to promote balance and proper posture. Muscular balance is important between the left and right sides of the body, as well as the front and back.
 
Typically, the muscles of the upper chest and front of the shoulder get stronger because of playing tennis. Particular attention should therefore be paid to the muscles of the upper back, because those are the muscles responsible for controlling the deceleration phase during the follow-through of the serve and forehand.
 
These three exercises will strengthen the surrounding muscle groups of the shoulders and help you prevent injury while hitting bigger serves and ground strokes.
 
 
1.) Front Raise
 
Muscles involved:
Primary: Anterior and lateral deltoid
Secondary: Upper pectoralis major
 
1. Stand straight with your shoulders back, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold a light dumbbell (less than 10 pounds) in each hand. Rest your hands in front of your thighs, palms turned down.
 
2. While keeping the arms straight, elevate both arms to shoulder height, palms down. Lift the arms to the front of the body, out in front of your chest. Hold the weights at shoulder height for two seconds.
 
3. Slowly lower the arms to the starting position and repeat.
 
2.) Lateral Raise
 
Muscles involved:
Primary: Anterior and lateral deltoid
Secondary: Upper pectoralis major
 
1. Stand straight with your shoulders back, squeezing the shoulder blades together. Hold a light dumbbell (less than 10 pounds) in each hand. Rest your hands on the outsides of your thighs, with palms facing your thighs.
 
2. While keeping the arms straight, elevate both arms out to the sides, bringing the weights to shoulder height while keeping the palms turned down. Maintain firm wrists and straight arms. Hold for two seconds.
 
3. Slowly lower the arms to the starting position and repeat.
 
  
3.) Bent-Over Rear Raise
 
Muscles involved:
Primary: Deltoid
Secondary: Teres and rhomboid major, rhomboid
 
1. Stand with the feet shoulder-width apart. With a slight bend in the knees, flex at the waist while keeping the back straight. Hold a light dumbbell (less than 10 pounds) in each hand. Extend the arms toward the ground, palms turned down. Bend the elbows to about 90 degrees, knuckles toward the floor.
 
2. While keeping an approximate angle of 90 degrees at the elbows, slowly raise the forearms, leading with the dumbbells, to shoulder height. Hold for two seconds.
 
3. Slowly lower the arms to the starting position and repeat.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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