Chest/pectoral workouts bad for tennis?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by AndersonThrowingUp, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. AndersonThrowingUp

    AndersonThrowingUp New User

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    This question has been haunting me for a while.

    Are pushups, chinups, incline presses, cross pullovers, and fly workouts bad for tennis? Do they damage form (specifically on groundstrokes) and make you slower and bulkier?

    I believe I've heard that tennis players aren't supposed to have huge chests, and judging by the bodies of the top players, it seems accurate.
     
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  2. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Yes, very bad!

    Actually, probably not an issue unless you do them just before play. Agassi liked his bench presses and he seemed to be a fairly good player. Supposedly he was doing workouts with 300 lbs later in his career. My only advice would be to also include back work, shoulder work, and leg work. The chest muscles are used in tennis, but obviously they don't need to be very big in order to hit big.
     
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  3. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    big chest doesn't help your tennis... just added weight. might as well be boob rather than muscle.

    work out your legs and core more... much, much more important.

    No top 10 player has skinny legs.
     
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  4. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Here is site that will give you a good overview of the benefits of weightlifting for the tennis player:

    Sports Fitness Advisor Tennis Training Section: http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/tennis-training.html

    The problem is trying to fit a workout schedule into a tennis season that lasts almost all year.

    (Plus elite tennis players also do speed and agility workouts.)


    But the above site gives information on how to go about including a workout schedule into a tennis schedule.


    Notice specifically that having a shoulder and arm injury prevention workout is stressed, and even though the one provided there is good, the best may be to do the Thrower's Ten exercises: http://www.muhlenberg.edu/pdf/main/athletics/athletic_training/throwers10.pdf



    Here is another site that you might find useful (and notice the exercises are very similar to those found on Sports Fitness Advisor)
    Tennis Weight Training - Exercises of Weight Training for Tennis
    http://optimumtennis.net/tennis-weight-training.htm



    Still, there are some exercises that a tennis player needs to be cautious of to prevent shoulder problems:
    What Exercises Cause Shoulder Impingement? http://www.livestrong.com/article/395015-what-exercises-cause-shoulder-impingement/



    [It should go without saying, but it is very hard to "bulk up". Lifters who do so have specific regimens and work incredibly hard.
    On the other hand, even modest strength increases can be of benefit to a tennis player in terms of injury prevention and being able to play and practice longer and harder to develop the coordinated movements involved in playing tennis.]
     
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  5. Itagaki

    Itagaki Semi-Pro

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    It's doubtful you'd put on so much mass that it would really inhibit your tennis game unless you were specifically trying to do so.

    As was said, include a lot of back and shoulder work to go with it. Overdoing bench press will lead to shortened pecs (and lengthened back muscles if they aren't addressed) which can screw up your posture (if your posture is already bad, it just makes things worse) and shoulder position, which can likely affect your tennis game and/or lead to shoulder pain
     
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  6. T1000

    T1000 Hall of Fame

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    Lol I love it when people say lifting makes you Arnold. I wish it was that easy. I went from 135-190 (literally perfect diet, training/rest, and supplementation) in a little under a year and I was not that big at all. You aren't going to wake up with a 54" chest and 17" arms cut like diamonds after lifting for a year
     
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  7. Sumo

    Sumo Semi-Pro

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    This and what Charlie said need to be repeated around here daily.
    I'm amazed every time someone says they aren't going to bench or do squats because the don't want to bulk up. If anything, lifting weights for the normal person will actually lean them out and make them better on the court in every way.
     
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  8. mr_fro2000

    mr_fro2000 Rookie

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    In addition to all this, bodyweight exercises like pushups and pullups in particular will not add much bulk as they're typically done in high reps which increases endurance.

    Additionally doing bodyweight exercises will help strengthen ligaments in addition to your muscles... these types of strength exercises will help minimize tennis injuries.
     
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  9. brianb76

    brianb76 Rookie

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    I just concentrate on high reps of light or medium weights.
    Works for me. Im 5'11 1/2 and weight 175 lbs. I can bench 225 5 times but just do 25 reps of 135 when I do my chest day.
     
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  10. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    The pectorals are not a main motivator in chinups, your lats (back) are.

    http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/LatissimusDorsi/BWUnderhandChinup.html

    Also people act like its easy to get huge in the gym, while pushups (depending on how you do them) may not be great for throwing sports (including tennis) you're not going to get too massive to play unless you're just genetically inclined to gain muscle easily.
     
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  11. Mike Y

    Mike Y Rookie

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    I think that working out with weights helps to prevent overuse injuries. Developing those chest/pectoral muscles, along with the shoulder and the rest of your arms, helps to prevent tennis elbow. You develop tennis elbow when there is too much strain on your tendons. Building the muscle around the elbow helps to lessen that strain.

    I don't think any of us have to worry about our massive pecs getting in the way of our forehand.

    Actually, I have a habit of right before I leave for a match I will do about 10 pull-ups. It helps to get me pumped up for a match.
     
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  12. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Some references on the which exercise to use and avoid.

    The advice in any weight lifting magazine is to balance the muscles and, in particular, do not do the common mistake of developing muscles on the front of the body while neglecting the ones on the back. The most popular exercises seem to involve muscles on the front of the body.

    Recent thread on muscle imbalances
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=452565

    The Todd Ellenbecker video on the shoulder anatomy and avoiding shoulder injuries, particularly impingement, is very informative. He basically says for the serve that the shoulder external rotators have to be strengthened with light exercises to prevent injury (for high performance serving). The exercises that you list all strengthen the internal rotators of the shoulder. A well known tennis exercise to compensate for strong ISR are external shoulder rotations. Search TW - Todd Ellenbecker + video + Shoulder

    Pitchers and probably tennis servers also develop shoulder problems often because their scapula's (shoulder blades) are not held in the proper position by the several muscles that position the scapula to the body, such as the rhomboids and middle traps. The rotator cuff muscles are another muscle group that position the upper arm to the small shoulder socket that's part of the scapula. The rotator cuff muscles originate on the scapula and attach to the upper arm bone, the humerus. All rotator cuff muscles are on the scapula.

    Pitching and the tennis serving are very similar kinetic chain activities that result in a very high velocity of a light body part - the upper arm rotates rapidly for both actions driven by the strong lat and pec muscles.

    I am now reading a book, The Physics of Pitching, L. Solesky, J. Cain, R. Meachham. One chapter is written by Eric Cressey on "Twenty-first Century Strength and Conditioning for Pitchers". Cressey discusses the goals of exercising and shows some exercises and stretches. The pitching exercises are similar to tennis exercises in some ways including goals of high speed and injury prevention. Worthwhile chapter to read. Cressey has published a lot on the issue that you are asking about for baseball, weight lifting and possibly tennis. Search Cressey + pitching or weight lifting ( etc.) to find internet information.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2013
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  13. onehandbh

    onehandbh Hall of Fame

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    Are chinups bad for your rotator cuff? (hands facing away from you)
    Does going down all the way (arms straight) hurt the shoulder?
     
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  14. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    chin ups are awesome. make sure you do a bunch of shoulder muscles while hanging with different hand orientations. this means not pulling up but shrugging. try it also while hanging upside down.
     
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  15. onehandbh

    onehandbh Hall of Fame

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    Ok. I was starting question whether they were good for
    shoulder health after watching the Ellenbecker video.
    At the down, hanging position, is this bad for your
    rotator cuff?
     
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  16. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    That's a good question. I've been told that you shouldn't relaxed hang when doing pull ups, especially if you have shoulder problems. I've been doing pull ups lately and I either don't go all the way down, or keep the back and shoulders tight at the bottom of the movement, if that makes sense.

    As long as I don't relaxed hang from the bar, I find that doing pull ups seems to make my shoulder feel better, and I've been slowly gaining strength. For me, doing back exercises, and those which emphasize pulling is definitely helpful in avoiding tennis injuries.
     
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  17. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    I don't think it can be bad unless you find a way to twist your arms while doing it.
     
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