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View Full Version : How does strengthening your wrist help your tennis game?


Babolatbarry
01-19-2012, 03:33 PM
just wondering! thanks

LeeD
01-19-2012, 03:42 PM
Well, the alternative would be to stay exactly the same, or get weaker.
I"ve tried the weaker idea for the last 15 years. It don't work.
I can't stay the same, as I"m looking at 63 next month.
So it stands to reason that getting stronger, more fit, better conditioned, is better than doing nothing, staying the same, or regressing.

Maui19
01-19-2012, 04:35 PM
Greater forearm strength gives you greater control of your racquet, better ability to volley hard shots, and--if you do it right--more zip on your serve.

Fedexpress94
01-19-2012, 04:59 PM
Stronger wrist=more power.

charliefedererer
01-19-2012, 06:39 PM
There is no muscle in the wrist. The wrist is a flexible joint with no strength whatsoever.

Muscles in the forearm control our hand movements. The muscles in the forearm narrow down to narrow tendons that act as cables that pass through the wrist and are connected to the bones of the hand.

http://images.apple.com/about/ergonomics/images/forearm5.gif



In addition to the tendons that control the movement of the wrist, are rope like ligaments that join the two bones at the end of the arm, the 7 small bones that make up the wrist, and the 5 bones at the base of the fingers.

http://www2.ma.psu.edu/~pt/wrstligp.gif



Bashing tennis balls involves large forces being generated from your leg push off, core rotation and arm movements.

But all of that force has to be transmitted through your forearm, wrist and hand.

The muscles that generate the force are elastic, but the tendons and ligaments are not elastic, and prone to tears.

Specifically at the wrist, tennis players are prone to Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC) tears at the wrist:
http://yanyanxu.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/trifibcc.gif


And at the other end of the muscles that control wrist movement is where the forearm muscles connect to the elbow, and tears in the tendon there result in "tennis elbow".

http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/287355/arthritis_tennis_elbow.jpg


Doing the last 4 exercises of the "Thrower's Ten Exercises" specifically strengthen muscles of the forearm that control the wrist:
http://www.muhlenberg.edu/pdf/main/athletics/athletic_training/throwers10.pdf

But why not do yourself a favor and do all 10 exercises, so that you can also protect your shoulder, the other joint that all too commonly is injured in tennis players?

LeeD
01-19-2012, 07:06 PM
Just hate it when the voice of reason and knowledge trumps us all.
Sorta hate my wrists getting tendonitis, or ligament soreness after hitting a couple of hours, but that's to be expected as I try to hit modern strokes with advancing age.

tsongaali
01-19-2012, 08:21 PM
Well said charliefedererer. I always have a good laugh at idiots who say how they work out their wrist muscles and stuff.

Zachol82
01-19-2012, 08:31 PM
Whether you're a proponent or an opponent of using your wrist, you can't deny that the wrist is used in a lot of different strokes in Tennis.

With that being said, strengthening the wrist should be obvious; it's like strengthening every other joints and/or muscles. If anything, a strong wrist will prevent wrist injuries.

Say Chi Sin Lo
01-19-2012, 08:45 PM
You mean, I've been doing my wrist curls for no reason?!

I've been working out my neck so I can keep my head still through out my shots. And so I can enjoy music at a whole other level.

rkelley
01-19-2012, 08:51 PM
While the wrist has no muscles itself, things like wrist curls strengthen the muscles in the forearm that control the wrist. The tendons can also be built up over time so that they can handle the pull of the stronger muscles, but since tendons have a very poor blood supply it takes a long time to build them up (and to heal).

If you start a weight program they tell you to not max out for up to six months, because the muscles can get stronger a lot faster than the tendons, and you don't want to pop a tendon.

Say Chi Sin Lo
01-19-2012, 08:53 PM
I was kidding, I don't do wrist curls -.-

stormholloway
01-20-2012, 01:23 PM
Believe it or not sometimes you may have to muscle the ball when you aren't allowed much preparation for a shot. Strong forearms can work wonders here (so I've heard).

bhupaes
01-20-2012, 01:36 PM
While I believe the wrist is not by any means the main contributor to power, forearm muscles still come into play big time for making critical movements for control such as forearm pronation. Since the wrist is the weakest link in the kinetic chain, it is most likely to feel the drag of racquet weight and swingweight... so having strong forearms is a big asset, IMO.

Limpinhitter
01-20-2012, 04:26 PM
just wondering! thanks

If you are using modern technique, then, IMO, wrist strength isn't that important. When you see 85lb 12 year old girls tearing the cover off of the ball from the ground and hitting sharp powerful volleys, you understand that wrist strength is not a crucial element of modern tennis. Not that wrist strength can't be of some benefit, but, it's not essential.

Leg and torso strength are much more important, IMO.

LeeD
01-20-2012, 04:32 PM
Hard hitting tennis does need somewhat big and conditioned forearm muscles, which translates to big and conditioned OTHER muscles.
Most long term tennis players have big hitting side forearms.
Those 12 year old are tearing the cover off the ball, but only in comparison to other 12 year olds. When compared to FernandoVerdasco, they are bunting the ball.
Stronger wrists...aka stronger forearms, are all tied into stronger everything else, which makes for better conditioning and more mass, which can be applied to hard ball striking.

Fearsome Forehand
01-20-2012, 06:27 PM
Some people will use any excuse to justify (and enhance) self pleasure. :)

bhupaes
01-21-2012, 07:29 AM
Here's an article from the NY Times that talks about arm strength in the context of a football quarterback (Eli Manning in particular):

Developing arm strength feet first (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/21/sports/football/giants-manning-develops-arm-strength-by-working-from-the-feet-up.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha27)

The bottom line seems to be that brute strength in the arms is not as important as conditioning, although strength is very important; and that the body and legs have a big role. Very similar to tennis, IMO!

5263
01-21-2012, 08:09 AM
While the wrist has no muscles itself, things like wrist curls strengthen the muscles in the forearm that control the wrist. The tendons can also be built up over time so that they can handle the pull of the stronger muscles, but since tendons have a very poor blood supply it takes a long time to build them up (and to heal).

If you start a weight program they tell you to not max out for up to six months, because the muscles can get stronger a lot faster than the tendons, and you don't want to pop a tendon.

Thank you rkelly! lol
I almost fell of my chair laughing about no muscles in the wrists as it relates to wrist strength.

Back to the real subject, wrist strength will help you to maintain desired wrist position while applying hard acceleration of the racket. Yes the racket head does lag,
but if the wrist joint (and the muscles that control it, lol)
is too weak, the lag can be too great compared to what is expected and throw off the shot and/or cause injury.

So in the end, strong wrist are not required and young girls can still hit very well, BUT

a strong wrist will allow you to do more via stability on some of quick movements required in big boys tennis.

5263
01-21-2012, 08:21 AM
Here's an article from the NY Times that talks about arm strength in the context of a football quarterback (Eli Manning in particular):

Developing arm strength feet first (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/21/sports/football/giants-manning-develops-arm-strength-by-working-from-the-feet-up.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha27)

The bottom line seems to be that brute strength in the arms is not as important as conditioning, although strength is very important; and that the body and legs have a big role. Very similar to tennis, IMO!

I agree it is often similar in tennis and an excellent reference you send us too, but in tennis often on quick exchanges like a net, the legs are taken out of it and this is a small example of where strong wrist can be helpful. It also helps to stabilize the shot on real big cuts and sometimes this being weak can be the cause a misses when you really load up for a big Fh.

Just a note on where that football piece misses the mark on football. Arm strength as a term is fine IMO, you just have to know what you are talking about. The real test of arm strength for a NFL QB is wide side out pattern, not so much throwing down field as they focus on.

WildVolley
01-21-2012, 09:09 AM
Stronger wrist and hand strength is important if you want to play at the best of your ability.

Greater strength actually allows you to maintain control of the racket with less effort. In a sense, you can relax more when you swing if you have a very strong grip. For volleying, grip and wrist strength allows you to more easily absorb and redirect the energy of the incoming ball. On the serve, the wrist appears to actually be active, and you can get greater spin and control if you are strong.

5263
01-21-2012, 09:17 AM
Stronger wrist and hand strength is important if you want to play at the best of your ability.

Greater strength actually allows you to maintain control of the racket with less effort. In a sense, you can relax more when you swing if you have a very strong grip.

Very good stuff here!