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syke
02-06-2012, 08:12 AM
Howdy,

Lately I've been working on taking my serve up a notch in the power department. Mainly focusing on keeping my 90 degree knee bends at trophy position. However, after an hour of practicing, my vastus intermedius (or simply lower inner thigh muscles) hurts like *****.

Is this normal? Besides, I find great difficulty in trying to maintain my balance when I slide my hips forward to mimick an archer's bow. I either keep falling backwards or forwards.

Am I in need to lose some of my upper body heft? LOL...

It will be great to hear your experiences, especially those with a platform stance.

mikeler
02-06-2012, 08:58 AM
That is a long time to be practicing serves. I'd shorten those serving sessions.

rufusbgood
02-06-2012, 09:00 AM
I think you are perhaps approaching this from the wrong direction. I have been working on my serve as well and my emphasis has been on improving my toss and I think more importantly getting and keeping my tossing arm vertical. What I have found is that getting the tossing arm up like that CAUSES me to bend my knees to KEEP my balance. I am not thinking consciously to bend my knees. I more or less have to.

rkelley
02-06-2012, 09:03 AM
Howdy,

Lately I've been working on taking my serve up a notch in the power department. Mainly focusing on keeping my 90 degree knee bends at trophy position. However, after an hour of practicing, my vastus intermedius (or simply lower inner thigh muscles) hurts like *****.

Is this normal? Besides, I find great difficulty in trying to maintain my balance when I slide my hips forward to mimick an archer's bow. I either keep falling backwards or forwards.

Am I in need to lose some of my upper body heft? LOL...

It will be great to hear your experiences, especially those with a platform stance.

When you say hurt, are you talking sore muscle hurt or torn muscle hurt? And how much have you've been practicing?

I use a platform stance. I don't consciously think about sliding my hips or the archer's bow, but one thing that helps with both of these is keeping your tossing arm up after the toss. Notice how the pros actually pull their tossing arm back behind the ball bit, as opposed to just pointing at it. I think that arm position helps your hips slide forward a bit.

Balance is important. I find if I'm falling off to one side or the other that everything starts to not work right. If I'm having balance problems I'll sometimes just simplify things and just bend my knees a bit straight down and not worry about leaning into the ball. I try to get the feeling back. Then I'll start leaning back in a bit once I've regained the feeling.

Shoulder turn is important for power too. But honestly, the biggest thing is just keeping your arm and wrist loose.

And as always with this type of thing, video helps.

Chas Tennis
02-06-2012, 09:10 AM
You probably have a complex issue involving your serving technique and your body. Serve technique? Take some videos of your serve. Maybe posture and some tight or weak muscles of yours? Ranges of motion for each joint OK?

Since you are experiencing pain - maybe injury also?- do not stretch or strengthen anything until you are certain of what is going on as you might do just the opposite of what you need.

To illustrate the complexity of one issue that involves balance -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trendelenburg%27s_sign

For balance this issue applied to me and is common. You need a Dr to evaluate something like this.

I had some tightness in the long central quad muscle, the rectus femorus (on top of the vastus intermedius). It is the only quad muscle to extend and attach above the hip joint. Tightness in the rectus femorus might affect your range of motion or balance when you do your service motion. I just posted some rectus femorus info in the Health & Fitness Forum under the "Knee Pain" thread.

Improving on the old saying, my sports medicine orthopedist now says - "No pain, no pain."

syke
02-06-2012, 09:19 AM
That is a long time to be practicing serves. I'd shorten those serving sessions.

I probably should... Although I spend most of my sessions doing air swings, getting my pronation right, walking thru what went wrong.

syke
02-06-2012, 09:26 AM
I think you are perhaps approaching this from the wrong direction. I have been working on my serve as well and my emphasis has been on improving my toss and I think more importantly getting and keeping my tossing arm vertical. What I have found is that getting the tossing arm up like that CAUSES me to bend my knees to KEEP my balance. I am not thinking consciously to bend my knees. I more or less have to.

Yes, my tossing arm always stay vertical at minimum... In fact, my whole tossing motion comes from my shoulders as I lean backwards, while I drop my knees forward.

Could it my excessive back bending that is causing my imbalance?

syke
02-06-2012, 09:41 AM
When you say hurt, are you talking sore muscle hurt or torn muscle hurt? And how much have you've been practicing?

I use a platform stance. I don't consciously think about sliding my hips or the archer's bow, but one thing that helps with both of these is keeping your tossing arm up after the toss. Notice how the pros actually pull their tossing arm back behind the ball bit, as opposed to just pointing at it. I think that arm position helps your hips slide forward a bit.

Balance is important. I find if I'm falling off to one side or the other that everything starts to not work right. If I'm having balance problems I'll sometimes just simplify things and just bend my knees a bit straight down and not worry about leaning into the ball. I try to get the feeling back. Then I'll start leaning back in a bit once I've regained the feeling.

Shoulder turn is important for power too. But honestly, the biggest thing is just keeping your arm and wrist loose.

And as always with this type of thing, video helps.

Sore muscle hurt. I could feel my knees quiver as I bend them forward.

I've got a crazy shoulder turn "John Daly" style, when I hit my driver off the tee box. And I trying to keep my shoulders simple with my tennis serve, to avoid any recurring golf injuries. Generally, my shoulders are turned pointed towards the target.

syke
02-06-2012, 09:48 AM
You probably have a complex issue involving your serving technique and your body. Serve technique? Take some videos of your serve. Maybe posture and some tight or weak muscles of yours? Ranges of motion for each joint OK?

Since you are experiencing pain - maybe injury also?- do not stretch or strengthen anything until you are certain of what is going on as you might do just the opposite of what you need.

To illustrate the complexity of one issue that involves balance -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trendelenburg%27s_sign

For balance this issue applied to me and is common. You need a Dr to evaluate something like this.

I had some tightness in the largest central quad muscle which I call the rectus femorus. It is the only quad to extend above the hip. It might affect your when you do your service motion. I just posted some info in the Health & Fitness Forum under the "Knee Pain" thread.

Improving on the old saying, my sports medicine orthopedist now says - "No pain, no pain."


I will shoot a clip of my serve in my next practice session. BTW, I tried swinging at home with a pinpoint stance, it felt remarkably better. There was less strain my knees, and I was finding better balance...

Darn... I've just changed to a 2bh, and if I had to change my stance, that would be like 2 major transformations in a week.

eidolonshinobi
02-06-2012, 11:00 AM
Howdy,

Lately I've been working on taking my serve up a notch in the power department. Mainly focusing on keeping my 90 degree knee bends at trophy position. However, after an hour of practicing, my vastus intermedius (or simply lower inner thigh muscles) hurts like *****.



Do you mean..vastus medius? Because the vastus intermedius is between that vastus medius and lateralis and is located in the middle of your leg.

As for your serve practices I agree that you should definitely film yourself.
I serve with a platform stance myself and the knee bend should not cause you to fatigue.

LeeD
02-06-2012, 05:23 PM
Forget the 90 degree knee bend. At least, until you get into better shape.
Archer's bow can be achieved by raising your toss hand for a higher release point. Raise one hand, hips tilt.
One hour might be OK, but don't swing much more than 100 times.

syke
02-06-2012, 05:45 PM
Do you mean..vastus medius? Because the vastus intermedius is between that vastus medius and lateralis and is located in the middle of your leg.

As for your serve practices I agree that you should definitely film yourself.
I serve with a platform stance myself and the knee bend should not cause you to fatigue.

The muscle strain's on all 3 areas, but mainly on the inter medius & medius.

Chas Tennis
02-06-2012, 05:55 PM
Where exactly is the pain? The rectus femorus lies in the center just under the skin.

syke
02-06-2012, 05:57 PM
Forget the 90 degree knee bend. At least, until you get into better shape.
Archer's bow can be achieved by raising your toss hand for a higher release point. Raise one hand, hips tilt.
One hour might be OK, but don't swing much more than 100 times.

Oops... I might have been a little over zealous.
I have been working religiously on my serve for the past 3 months, on average twice a week, an hour each session, hitting around 150.

Prior to that, I was away from tennis for 15 years.

syke
02-06-2012, 06:01 PM
Where exactly is the pain? The rectus femorus lies in the center just under the skin.

http://www.fitstep.com/Advanced/Anatomy/Graphics/quadriceps-anatomy.gif

Yes, pretty much so.

charliefedererer
02-06-2012, 06:47 PM
You don't say if you do off court conditioning. Do you?

LeeD
02-06-2012, 07:19 PM
You might consider striving for turning your shoulders closed, so your back is facing the target, at the trophy position. Back should face target, just like a 1hbh topspin backhand.

Fuji
02-06-2012, 07:35 PM
I use platform mostly, and I never get any leg pain.

Just my 2cents, I do lots of off court training, via biking and running however.

-Fuji

syke
02-06-2012, 09:00 PM
You don't say if you do off court conditioning. Do you?

Running would possibly be the only off court conditioning I'm doing.
I never had the habit of warming up, stretching etc... Even when I was in the army, that was more than a decade ago though.. LOL

LeeD
02-07-2012, 09:29 AM
If you don't warm up or stretch, you need the knowledge and maturity to NOT overstress your muscles and tendons going for too much too early.
Very few people can play with no warmup or stretching, but those NEVER start out hitting or running anywhere near 100%.
You don't need 100% to start a tennis match. The whole first two games can be sacrificed for your warmup. You don't have to lose the first two games either, because the begining is probe and search for weakpoints in your opponent and strong points in YOU.

charliefedererer
02-07-2012, 10:59 AM
Running would possibly be the only off court conditioning I'm doing.
I never had the habit of warming up, stretching etc... Even when I was in the army, that was more than a decade ago though.. LOL

When you squat down into your trophy pose, your legs have to support all your body weight.

When you push up out your trophy pose, your legs are pushing off with a force at least 4 x your body weight.

Plus the push off is not straight up.

If you've properly coiled, the powerful uncoiling motion will place eccentric stresses on your quads, with the greatest stress on the lower medial R quad (if you are right handed), especially coming out of a platform stance.


To generate these forces and not suffer an overuse injury, your muscles, tendons and ligaments have to be strong.

There is one specific exercise - the squat - that can best prepare you for the repetitive serving you will have to do in order to first get, then keep, a great serve.


Notice the squatting motion in the serve sequence below - in pics 3-7 going into a squat, and in pics 8-10 coming out of a squat:
http://news.tennis365.net/lesson/img/pro_gif/sampras_serve_04_0402.jpg


Notice how similar that squatting motion is to the squatting motion in the squat exercise:
http://photos-g.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v190/47/3/608192568/n608192568_489006_5773.jpg


The squat strengthens not only all your leg muscles/tendons/ligaments, but your core/back muscles/tendons/ligament and the muscles that connect the legs and core. And all in a coordinated fashion similar to the kinetic chain sequence of firing those muscles like in a serve.


You can get many of the benefits of barbell squat by starting with 2, then 1 legged [pistol] squats. (Or even doing dumbell squats.)



If you really would like to do barbell squats - the "king of exercises" - aside from a personal trainer, your best instruction would be Mark Rippetoes's Starting Strength Book and Video http://www.amazon.com/Starting-Strength-3rd-Mark-Rippetoe/dp/0982522738


A dynamic warmup both before tennis play, and workouts, should be considered an essential: USTA Strength & Conditioning: Dynamic Warm-up and Flexibility Training http://www.usta.com/Improve-Your-Game/Sport-Science/114698_Strength__Conditioning_Dynamic_Warmup_and_F lexibility_Training/

syke
02-07-2012, 05:35 PM
When you squat down into your trophy pose, your legs have to support all your body weight.

When you push up out your trophy pose, your legs are pushing off with a force at least 4 x your body weight.

Plus the push off is not straight up.

If you've properly coiled, the powerful uncoiling motion will place eccentric stresses on your quads, with the greatest stress on the lower medial R quad (if you are right handed), especially coming out of a platform stance.


To generate these forces and not suffer an overuse injury, your muscles, tendons and ligaments have to be strong.

There is one specific exercise - the squat - that can best prepare you for the repetitive serving you will have to do in order to first get, then keep, a great serve.


Notice the squatting motion in the serve sequence below - in pics 3-7 going into a squat, and in pics 8-10 coming out of a squat:
http://news.tennis365.net/lesson/img/pro_gif/sampras_serve_04_0402.jpg


Notice how similar that squatting motion is to the squatting motion in the squat exercise:
http://photos-g.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v190/47/3/608192568/n608192568_489006_5773.jpg


The squat strengthens not only all your leg muscles/tendons/ligaments, but your core/back muscles/tendons/ligament and the muscles that connect the legs and core. And all in a coordinated fashion similar to the kinetic chain sequence of firing those muscles like in a serve.


You can get many of the benefits of barbell squat by starting with 2, then 1 legged [pistol] squats. (Or even doing dumbell squats.)



If you really would like to do barbell squats - the "king of exercises" - aside from a personal trainer, your best instruction would be Mark Rippetoes's Starting Strength Book and Video http://www.amazon.com/Starting-Strength-3rd-Mark-Rippetoe/dp/0982522738


A dynamic warmup both before tennis play, and workouts, should be considered an essential: USTA Strength & Conditioning: Dynamic Warm-up and Flexibility Training http://www.usta.com/Improve-Your-Game/Sport-Science/114698_Strength__Conditioning_Dynamic_Warmup_and_F lexibility_Training/

Thanks charliefedererer!

Guess I'm just a lazy bugger when it comes to warm ups. Always wanting to jump right straight into action.

But you are right about strengthening my muscles. In fact, I have just completed 100 squats after reading your post. My knees felt like jello... :)

I will definitely make this part of my daily routine.

Cheers!