Connor Hyde, DPT | February 7, 2019
Importance of a Warm-Up
One of my favorite sayings about tennis is that it is a ‘sport of a lifetime.’ It’s a game that combines exercises, competition and social connection from childhood through senior years. That being said, the body will go through hundreds of strokes per match, which makes promoting longevity of a healthy body imperative to continue playing throughout your life.
The combination of bending, twisting, reaching and moving in all directions puts tremendous stress on the upper and the lower body. To ensure the body is ready for this physically demanding sport, it is important to incorporate a full warm-up routine. Specific movement patterns and active stretching prime key muscle groups and joints to boost speed, power and agility on the court, while decreasing the risk of injuries.ADVERTISEMENT
Static Versus Dynamic Warm-Up
There are two main ways to perform stretching: static and dynamic. Static stretching involves a slow, prolonged hold as you stretch. It is primarily used to increase muscle length and range of motion. Dynamic stretching incorporates active movement while moving muscles in and out of stretching patterns and tennis-specific movements. While static stretching does have its place in sports and fitness, the dynamic warm-up is more beneficial in preparing your body for the rigors of the court.
The Dynamic Warm-Up
The dynamic warm up offers numerous advantages to your pre-match or practice routine. Here’s some of the science behind what’s going on in your body as you prepare.*
Increases the core temperature at least one or two degrees Celsius to improve muscle pliability
Increases heart rate and blood flow to skeletal tissues which improves the efficiency of oxygen uptake and nutrient transport
Increases your respiratory rate to expand the amount of oxygen utilized on the court
Increases the rate and force of muscle contraction to enhance your speed, power and overall performance
Increases the activation of the central nervous system responsible for coordination, reaction time and skill
Increases the suppleness of connective tissue to mitigate injuries and improve explosiveness
Stimulates synovial fluid in the joints to help lubricate and build the surrounding cartilage
Mentally prepares the mind to be centered, calm and focused
How to Perform
Before you start playing, spend 10-15 minutes combining movement and stretching to break into a light sweat. The key is to start with gentle movements and ease into a full range of motion. If space is not an issue, and you have either a full tennis court or area to warm up, the USTA has listed a comprehensive dynamic warm-up as well as post-match cool down, located here.
If you are short on space or waiting for an endless doubles match to finish at Ala Moana, a shortened warm-up as seen below may be the right choice for you. In the video I put together some movements and active stretching that I like to perform before stepping on the court. These can be performed 1-2 laps across the court or standing in one place moving back and forth. This shortened routine will combine mobility, balance and muscle activation through active movements.
By adding a dynamic warm-up to your tennis routine, you can not only enhance your game-playing ability, you can decrease the likelihood of being injured. In other words, a little preventive care goes a long way!
Andrade, D. C., Henriquez-Olguín, C., Beltrán, A. R., Ramírez, M. A., Labarca, C., Cornejo, M., Álvarez, C., … Ramírez-Campillo, R. (2015). Effects of general, specific and combined warm-up on explosive muscular performance. Biology of sport, 32(2), 123-8. Learn More
Gogte, K., Srivastav, P., & Miyaru, G. B. (2017). Effect of Passive, Active and Combined Warm up on Lower Limb Muscle Performance and Dynamic Stability in Recreational Sports Players. Journal of clinical and diagnostic research : JCDR, 11(3), YC05-YC08. Learn More
Connor is a New Hampshire native and state champion tennis player with over 20 years of experience playing and teaching tennis. A college tennis player at University of Redlands, he now resides in Honolulu and practices physical therapy at JACO Rehab.
For any questions or if you have an injury you want evaluated, please visit jacorehab.com or email us at info.jacorehab.com