Below are five staple exercises that will greatly enhance your tennis game at any age.
Let's begin with the powerful leg muscles that generate the force necessary for hard hitting ground strokes as well as fast movement across the court. The leg press is one of the best exercises to strengthen your legs to accomplish this. First, sit in the seat, positioning your feet about shoulder width apart and chest high on the platform. Adjust the seat height by pulling the handle and sliding forward until your thighs are parallel to the platform. This is your start position (make sure that your lower back is pressed firmly against the back of the seat). With your feet flat, slowly press upward until your legs are fully extended but short of locking. Slowly return to the position where the weight almost touch the weight stack. The breathing pattern for this exercise is to exhale as you press up and inhale as you return to the start. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions at a resistance which the last 3 repetitions are hard to complete.
Because of the stop-and-go movement that require almost continuous force production and shock absorption in the lower leg muscles performing an exercise to strengthen this area is critical. Standing calf raises is the best exercise for this.
Calf raises strengthen your calves and help keep your Achilles tendons healthy. First, stand on the machine and adjust the shoulder pad to a position where the weight comes about six inches off the stack when you are standing straight. Next, step onto the platform with the ball of your feet, and stand-up straight. (Do not lock your legs). This is your start position. Slowly lower your heels down as far as possible, and then come up on your toes as far as possible. Your breathing pattern is to exhale as you are lifting up and inhale as you are going down. Do 3 sets of 15 repetitions at a resistance which the last 3 repetitions are hard to complete.
Seated Ball Twist
The power generated by the large leg muscles is transferred to the upper body through the muscles of the midsection. Seated ball twist is an excellent choice for strengthening these muscles.
Sit on the floor with a slight bend in your legs. Hold a therapeutic ball with your arms fully extended in front of you. Lean back slightly, pick your chest up high and pull in your naval. Now, turn your shoulders to one side, and touch the ball to the floor. Then turn to the other side, and do the same. A complete revolution counts as one repetition. Be sure you arms stay extended throughout this exercise. Breathing pattern is to exhale as you touch the ball to the floor and inhale as you bring the ball across your body. Do 3 sets of 20 repetitions each way.
Dumbbell Chest Press
The muscles of the chest are heavily involved in the racket swing and the dumbbell chest press is a very good exercise for strengthening this area. Pick-up a dumbbell in each hand, and sit on the end of a bench. Place the dumbbells end-up on your knees, then lay back on the bench and position the dumbbells chest height at your sides. This is your start position. Press the dumbbells up over your chest until your arms are fully extended, being careful not to lock your elbows. Slowly return the dumbbells to the start position. Your breathing pattern is to exhale as you press up and inhale as you return to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions at a resistance which the last 3 repetitions are hard to complete.
Developing strength of the upper back muscles is crucial for a powerful racket swing. The seated row is a great exercise to develop and strengthen these muscles. Sit on the bench, place your feet on the foot rests, and grasp the handle (use the triangle shaped attachment). Now, slide back on the bench to where your legs are extended with a slight bend in your knees, and lift your chest high. This is your start position. Slowly pull your hands to your naval, while rolling your shoulders back and squeezing your shoulder blades toward your spine. Slowly return to you start position. Exhale as you pull the weight toward you and inhale as you return to the start position. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions at a resistance which the last 3 repetitions are hard to complete.