Dynamic Warm-up and
Flexibility Training for tennis
Courtesy USTA Player Development | October 6, 2017
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:
- Increases body temperature allowing muscles to work more efficiently.
- Gets the heart and lungs ready for vigorous activity.
- Stretches muscles actively, preparing them for the forces experiences during tennis.
- Ingrains proper movement patterns and the coordination needed in tennis.
- 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. 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.
To get you started, here is a list of dyanmic Warm-up exercises:
- Jogging with Progressive Arm Circles (jog or backpedal)
- Carioca (shoulders square, rotate from hips down)
- Knee-to Chest Tuck (maintain proper posture)
- Lunge with reach back (focus on balance)
- Side shuffle (Push off inside leg, swing arms across body)
- High step with trunk rotation (same side)
- Three-way jumping jacks (x 10)
- Inverted hamstring (flat back, hips square)
- Lateral lunge (push hips back)
- Walking spiderman with rotation (eyes follow hand)
- Leg swings (F/B/S - 10 times each)
- High knees (Knees up, toes up)
- Butt kicks (knees down, slight forward lean)
- Inchworms (hips up, knees straight)
- A-skips (aggressive march w/ rhythm)
- Reverse skip with hip rotation (knee up and out)
- Sprint 50/75/100% (proper running form)
Note: Perform ALL exercises in a controlled manner with abs engaged. Focus on deep breathing.
To print out a bag tag with the full list of dynamic stretches, click here.
And for more from USTA Player Development, click here.