Tennis is a fun, recreational sport that can keep you active throughout your lifetime. At first glance, it can be misleading because it appears to be a relatively easy, low-impact sport that most people should be able to enjoy without pain or injury. On the contrary, tennis, like all racquet sports, is a unilateral sport that involves repetitive rotation and use of predominantly one side of the body. Over time, this rotational, unilateral demand will lead to compensations and eventually pain and injury.
Prep Your Body for a Long Tennis Career
In order to set your body up to be able to play tennis for a long period of time without pain and injury, it is critical to practice a regular routine of posture exercises that will reduce rotation and leave the body in a neutral, balanced position. I’d like to show you two exercises that are designed to remind the body’s eight major load-bearing joints, the shoulder, hips, knees and ankles that they are designed to work together and equally on both sides.
The exercises are:
- Upper spinal floor twist
For best results incorporate these exercises both before and after your tennis practice.
- Lie on your back with your arms at your side, palms up, and hands relaxed.
- Place the soles of your feet together.
- Center your feet along the mid-line of your body and let your knees relax down to the sides.
- Do not press your knees/legs to the ground. Just let gravity pull them down.
- You should feel a stretch along the inner thigh.
- Hold the position for two minutes.
- You will naturally have an arch in your lower back.
While you are in this position, look to see if one knee is higher than the other. If so, this means that your hips are not balanced.
Upper Spinal Floor Twist
- Lie on one side in the fetal position with your arms straight out from your shoulders in front of you.
- Stack your knees one directly atop the other, where they should remain throughout the exercise.
- Open the top arm, lifting it up and over your body to the other side, letting it rest to the floor or as close to the floor as you are able.
- Move your head to look in the same direction as that arm.
- Do NOT let your knees come apart while moving the arm to the other side.
- Use your bottom hand to hold your knees together and keep them stacked on top of one another.
- Remember to breathe.
- Allow your body to open up.
- Hold for one minute.
- Switch sides and repeat.
I hope this short routine helps you to remain balanced and injury free so that you can hit the courts feeling and performing your best. If you have any questions or comments feel free to send me an email.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this article is to promote broad reader understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.