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Strength & Conditioning: Dynamic Warm-up and Flexibility Training

If you have been to sport science presentation lately it is likely that you have heard some information about dynamic warm-up and flexibility training.   This is an area of training that is receiving more and more attention in the sporting community and many of the conclusions that have been drawn about this type of warm-up are directly applicable to tennis.

Dynamic warm-up and flexibility training is an essential element of any pre-practice or pre-competition routine and helps prepare the body for the demands of today’s tennis game.  An effective warm-up does five very important things for tennis players.

1. Increases body temperature allowing muscles to work more efficiently.
2. Gets the heart and lungs ready for vigorous activity.
3. Stretches muscles actively, preparing them for the forces experiences during tennis.
4. Engrains proper movement patterns and the coordination needed in tennis.
5. Wakes up the nervous system and gets the brain talking with the muscles.

A dynamic warm-up, which involves stretching with movement, accomplishes all of these tasks. 

Pre-practice and pre-competition warm-up routines have typically focused on static stretching.  While this type of stretching is still important for maintaining flexibility and joint range of motion, it really should be performed after play, not before practice or competition.  This is a new way of thinking about stretching and flexibility, but recent research has shown that static stretching can reduce the force and power the muscle can generate and that this impaired function can last for over one hour.  A link to a research study on static and dynamic stretching is provided below.

USA Tennis High Performance is pleased to announce the recent arrival of a new educational DVD on the topic of dynamic warm-up and flexibility training.  Produced by the USTA, Dynamic Tennis Warm-Ups provides information on how dynamic warm-up can be used to optimize tennis performance.   Dynamic Tennis Warm-Ups presents three 10-minute dynamic warm-up routines that have been designed specifically for tennis and can be used “right out of the box.”  It also outlines how you can use the exercises presented in the DVD to develop your own routines that target the individual needs of your players.  The DVD can be purchased from Human Kinetics (www.humankinetics.com).

Warming up properly with a dynamic movement routine like the ones presented in the DVD will help you or your players prepare to play their best whenever they step on the court.

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