Tennis and Golf Strength Training Tips

Tennis and Golf Strength Training Tips

Tennis and Golf Strength Training Tips

Tennis and golf each involve a lot of rotational movement, especially at the shoulder joint and through the torso. Complex movement patterns place a lot of strain on the stabilizing muscles in those parts of the body. In order to prevent unnecessary injury and gain strength to improve your performance, focus some extra attention on these key muscle groups involved in your game.

The shoulder is made up of a group of four muscles called the rotator cuff. This muscle group stabilizes the shoulder and allows it to move. These muscles need to be worked using light resistance and properly stretched to avoid common overuse injuries.

Tennis and Golf Strength Training Tips
Tennis and Golf Strength Training Tips

Lawn Mower Pull

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place one end of a resistance band under your foot. Hold the other end with the opposite arm so the band goes diagonally across your body.
  • Keeping your other hand on your hip, bend slightly at the waist (don’t lock your knees) so the hand holding the band is parallel to the opposite knee.
  • As if starting a lawnmower in slow motion, straighten upright while pulling your elbow across your body. Keep your shoulders relaxed and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you stand.
  • Repeat three sets of 10 on each side.

Your core is the powerhouse in tennis and golf. Both games require rotational movement, so adding specific exercises to strengthen the lower back and core can really boost your performance.

Side-Lying External Rotation

  • Lie down on your side.
  • Bend your elbow to 90 degrees and rest the elbow on your side. Your forearm should rest down across your abdomen.
  • Hold a light dumbbell and keep your elbow against your side, then slowly raise the dumbbell toward the ceiling. Stop rotating your arm if you feel strain.
  • Hold the dumbbell up for a few seconds, then return it to the start position with your arm down.
  • Repeat for three sets of 10. Increase reps to 20, after 10 gets too easy.

Tennis and Golf Strength Training Tips

Bicycle Abdominal Crunch

  • Lie on your back on the floor. Stretch your legs out straight and clasp your hands behind your head.
  • Raise your legs one at a time so that your thighs are perpendicular to the ground, and bend your knees so your calves are parallel to the ground. Keep your feet together.
  • Contract your abdominal muscles and touch your right elbow to your left knee. At the same time, straighten out your right leg, keeping it several inches off of the floor. Then alternate, bending your right leg and straightening your left similar to the motion you’d make while pedaling a bicycle.
  • Use your abdominal muscles to crunch your body forward so your elbow can reach your knee. Do not pull on your neck. If you can’t quite reach your elbow to your knee, that’s ok.
  • Aim to do 30 seconds of bicycle crunches 3-5 times.

Core Focus Obliques

The muscles at the side of your waist are called the internal and external obliques. The obliques are important for stability, especially for movements that involve lateral (sideways) movements.

To activate these muscles, you’ll need to perform exercises that involve side bending or twisting.

Core Focus QL

The Quadratus lumborum is a deep, stabilizing muscle that connects the upper and lower body. It’s an important muscle for stabilizing the hips and spine, and it also works with the diaphragm to allow deep breathing.

Back Focus Stretching

Perform a standing hamstring stretch to help loosen up your hamstring muscles to provide relief from tight lower back muscles.

  • Hold on to a supportive railing or wall. Place your right leg on a slightly raised surface, like a step or a curb.
  • Keep your hips facing forward and your standing knee slightly bent.
  • Slowly bend your left knee until you feel a very mild pulling or stretch on the back of your right thigh. Hold for 20-30 seconds and switch legs.

Side Plank

  • Lie on the floor on your side. Place your lower hand on the floor and straighten your arm, raising the top half of your body off the ground. Raise the other arm straight over you or let it rest on your side.
  • Keep your legs straight, resting the lower half of your body on your bottom leg. Raise your hips to hold a side plank position. This will engage most of your core muscles, including your Quadratus lumborum.
  • Hold this position for 45-60 seconds and then repeat on the other side.

Back Focus Strength

This exercise engages the muscles in the whole posterior chain, including glutes and hamstrings.

  • Lie on the floor face down, extending your arms and legs as far forward and as far back as possible, while keeping a neutral spine, head and neck position.
  • Engage your core to lift your arms and your legs off the floor. Be sure to have no arch in your lower back. You can achieve this by lifting your arms and legs up only an inch or so.
  • If you have weak muscles, lift one arm and one leg at a time. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat for 4-5 sets.

If you play tennis or golf and want to improve your game, adding some stability and strength training to your fitness program can help you get that edge.