5 tennis warm ups the pros swear by
So you’re playing a ladder match this weekend and really want to up your game. Warming up is crucial to a solid performance, and these five videos offer all kinds of warm up ideas for pretty much every preference.
Try dynamic stretches instead of static ones
Ian Westermann of Essential Tennis has a five-minute routine of eight stretches including frankensteins, butt kicks and side shuffles. He points out that static stretches -- the ones you hold for prolonged periods -- have been shown to decrease performance.
Ian’s dynamic stretches are short, sweet and warm up the entire body. You can use it for any sport really, not just tennis. They’re worth incorporating into any warm up routine.
Incorporate elastic bands
This narrator-less video shows a player using elastic bands to free up shoulders and prep forearms. Front rows loosen the upper torso and get your limbs moving.
If you have an area to do some discreet stretches, by all means pack some elastic bands and use them in your warm up.
Jeff Salzenstein emphasizes extensions in your warm up. Why? It may seem like an exaggerated move, but extending out to the target builds muscle memory which helps enormously in improving your game.
Jeff says this is a favorite of tennis great Robert Lansdorp. Anyone who’s coached Pete Sampras, Lindsay Davenport and Maria Sharapova must know something we could all learn from.
Don’t forget the fundamentals
A short video by Brent Abel talks about internalizing and practicing the basics during your warm up. Determining optimal spacial distance, focusing eye direction at the contact point and committing to a finish position are essential to a good game, and doing them at warm up prep you for the actual match.
As Brent rightly mentions: ‘[During warm up] there is no consequence for missing shots’ so go ahead and build confidence in your game by doing the fundamentals.
Pressed for time? Go old school
If you’ve arrived late for your game (and we’ve all been there), do a quick warm up with tried and tested moves. Scott from Heartland, Michigan offers these as a precaution for ‘not pulling anything’, but they’re great standbys if a prolonged warm up is not an option.
Toe touches, running in place and twisting motions get you limber and gets the blood flowing. Now play!
Now that you're armed with some great warm ups, take that knowledge to the courts and practice for that next ladder match!