Properly warming up before a tennis match or practice is essential to improve performance and also reduce the likelihood of injury. When asked, most young tennis players would say that the warm-up is to do just that, warm-up the body. But, there is so many more factors that make the dynamic warm-up such a valuable part of tennis preparation. With the speed of the game rapidly increasing, it is no longer safe or effective to go out on the court and just hit a few light rallies before jumping into the fast-paced game of tennis. A properly structured dynamic warm-up is important to prepare the body to perform at it’s best from the very first serve.
Research shows that the dynamic warm-up not only increases muscle and overall body temperature, but increases nerve conduction velocity, improves mental focus and responsiveness, primes the nervous system to create better fluidity of movement, mobilizes tight and restricted joints, increases rate of force development, and lubricates joint structures and the spaces between adjacent muscles. Doesn’t this sound like something that would benefit your tennis game? And, the great thing is it can all be done in 5-8 minutes before hitting a single ball. I highly recommend being assessed by a professional to uncover and develop a warm-up based upon your weaknesses. Regardless, there are several effective movement drills that will enhance your tennis game and prepare you for the physiological demands of the sport.
The following warm-up starts slowly with a walking dynamic routine and then progresses to various locomotor movements which prepare the body for the change of direction and explosive aspect of tennis. It is always recommended to foam roll any tight/restricted areas before beginning your dynamic warm-up.
For video purposes, this dynamic warm-up was done for an abbreviated distance. During your own warm-up, I would recommend using the entire width of the court. This should provide enough distance to get several good repetitions in. Remember, the warm-up is not something we need to rush through. Always focus on quality and mindful movement. If you feel like there are certain movements that are more difficult than others, run through those motions an extra time or do them on your off days, which will in turn improve that movement pattern.
I hope you enjoyed this post on developing a proper warm up for tennis. If you have any questions or concerns while completing the warm-up, or using some of these ideas to create your own, please contact me for any help.
By: Garrett McLaughlin, MS, ATC, CSCS, ART