View Full Version : Heavy racquet bad for shoulder?

06-30-2004, 10:37 AM
Hi all,
I use HPS 6.1 and like it a lot. However, I have slight discomfort on my shoulder. So, I am wondering what is the effect of heavy racquet on my shoulder. My shoulder problem, though not serious, could be the result of bad form. However, I just want to hear your opinion about relationship between shoulder problem and weight of racquet. Do you guys think heavy racquet is bad for shoulder?


second set
06-30-2004, 11:34 AM
DK, my opinion is that a heavier racquet may be better for my shoulder. I've have two shoulder surgeries, some time ago. I specifically use a heavier racquet (HPS 6.1) because it slows down my swing a little. Every once in a while I pick up an older racquet that is slightly less heavy, but is more headlight. I get greater racquet head speed while serving, can impart more spin, etc, but I find it adds to the stress on my shoulder.

I suppose there is a point where "heavy" becomes "too heavy" and the above may not apply.

My $0.02.

Gaines Hillix
06-30-2004, 12:20 PM
A heavy racquet can make one's arm tire more quickly, but that is relative to the strength and condition of the player. If you feel like you're running out of gas in a long match and are struggling to generate your normal racquet head speed, then you could be over working your arm and that could lead to an injury.

06-30-2004, 01:35 PM
A heavier racket pulls your shoulder much more than a lighter one!
I have a lot of trouble using frames, that weigh more than 340g...

Steve Huff
06-30-2004, 02:10 PM
I use a 5g weighted to 12.1oz. When I try to go heavier, I too, get a sore shoulder. I think there is probably an optimal weight of a racket that is dependent on your arm's size and strength. Go too heavy and you're liable to put too much stress on the joint (similar to 'throwing your arm out' in baseball or softball).

06-30-2004, 06:50 PM
Heavy rackets, especially those which are headlight, are generally considered to be arm-friendly. But from my experience, a heavy racket actually causes a lot of pain to the shoulder. You may not feel this pain DURING a match, but for chronic shoulder sufferers, the pain AFTER a match (after having used a heavy racket) can be quite unbearable. I think Gaines and Steve have both hit the nail- it really depends on your conditioning and extent of shoulder pain. Too much heft will definitely cause pain, and too little will not give the solidity you want in your shots. Guess you have to experiment and see which weight will suit you. Also, it is important to use a dampener (preferably one that stretches across the width of the bottom head area of the string bed) to lessen the shock to the arm during match play.

06-30-2004, 11:33 PM
I'm with Steve 100%. Consider the combo weight+swingweight.

07-01-2004, 06:30 AM
Another thing to remember is that a lot of shoulder problems are cumulative, i.e. at some point years of micro trauma add up and you start to experience pain. Its not one thing that is causing the problem, like a heavy racquet, but it may be one specific movement, like serving or throwing, that is aggravating the area with scar tissue.

If the pain goes away after a few days rest, its probably just a strain. If you consistently have pain over a long period of time, even after giving the shoulder some time off to heal, you should have it checked by a physician. In most cases you can rehab using simple exercises to help strengthen the shoulder and minimize the pain. Ignoring it can lead to a catastrophic failure at some point like a torn rotator cuff, impingement, or other major injury.

Skinny Dip
07-01-2004, 06:46 AM
I used to have elbow pain, but now switching to heavier raquets, the elbow pain's gone but I'm getting shoulder pain. It's not cumulative or noticeable after the match, but exactly WHEN I'm playing with the heavier raquet.

I tried playing with a lighter raquet last week and was surprised by not only the lack of pain, but how much longer I could actually play without getting tired.

07-01-2004, 06:50 AM
Skinny Dip,

The extra weight is probably pushing you over the threshold required to aggravate your shoulder. Strengthening it may help this, but if lighter racquets solve the problem, I'd keep using them.

07-01-2004, 07:24 AM
I can speak from bad experience. I have shoulder impingement (overplay and too much typing) using the Pro Staff 85 for years... If you reach this point, a heavy racquet definitively will make matters worst. It is a persistent problem and difficult to cure - because your doctor will tell you to exercise frequently, even if it hurts - a pain in the ***.
However, if you are in great shape and don't have problems, playing with the heaviest racquet you can handle comfortably will be better for your shoulder. Obviously, if you listen to your body properly (which I did not) you will be able to detect problems early and correct them. And that is the trick, because tennis is highly addictive, especially when you start getting better. Easier said than done.

07-01-2004, 10:13 AM
Thanks for sharing your thought.
This board is wonderful.


07-01-2004, 12:05 PM
the other elements not mentioned so far that can contribute to injury are strings and stiffness of the racuet. i would choose a frame on the flexible side and use a softer playing string (a multi or gut and def not a poly) strung not too tightly and would use the racquet that i could swing fast for an extended period of time (one having a headlight balance). ed

07-01-2004, 07:32 PM
Another variable is the vibration that comes through the racquet through your arm and can irritate the shoulder.

You might consider a "softer" string to see if that helps.

07-01-2004, 08:15 PM
I agree that the heavier racquets tend to be easier on the shoulder. The one time I had significant shoulder problems was from playing a few set with a light racquet. Serves had a lot of spin, but the increased racquet velocity and lack of resistance hurt my shoulder. Here's something to consider. Natural gut strings make everything about tennis easier on the wrist, elbow and shoulder. If you're having problems please consider that.


Alley Cat
07-02-2004, 06:52 PM
I had never had shoulder problems until I hit with lighter racquets. I had always used sticks in the 11.8 to 12.2oz range and had no problems with shoulder or elbow. I briefly switched to a 300g and immediately developed shoulder tendonitis about 18 months ago (BTW, I really liked the 300g). After some physical therapy and switching back to heavier frames (HPS 6.1, Tour 10, LM Prestige) I have not had a problem since. My wife has a lighter racquet and I hit with it for one day and quickly felt shoulder pain. So in my experience, lighter racquets were the problem.