Medicine ball exercise to teach the kinetic chain

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by HunterST, Mar 30, 2013.

  1. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OV9boPlrlB4

    I was doing this exercise today and it occurred to me that I was forced to use a complete kinetic chain to throw the ball. I had to have a forward weight shift, torso rotation, and finally a swing of the arms.

    It's easy to get these out of sync with a 11 ounce racket,but the relatively heavy weight forces them to fire at the appropriate times.

    Thought?
     
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  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Could that be one reason most men's pros use 12 oz rackets?
    And most guy here on TW advocate using the heaviest racket you can handle.
    And, most on here say that one major problem with light rackets is that your swing can change to more of an armswing, and wander back to kinetics, if your swing is not grooved from years and years of steady play.
     
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  3. Tight Lines

    Tight Lines Semi-Pro

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    In the video, the trainer says the exercise will give you a "more power stroke". Call me skeptical. You may be correct that it may involve most of the kinetic chain. But, to me, it seems like he is mostly trying to isolate the back muscle.

    I don't know if it will give you a significant increase in the racket head speed (ie, more powerful stroke) because at the very least, it leaves out the crucial part of the chain which is the wrist action (ulnar deviation) most pros have just before the forward swing. JMHO.

    Harry
     
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  4. The Meat

    The Meat Hall of Fame

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    He was just advocating the use of the legs and core into the shot, which lower level players don't use as much. Power does come from a faster racquet head speed, but you get more control if you use your entire body instead of just your fast arm.
     
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  5. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    I do this regularly, and I agree it does help. You can hold the ball at the top with your right hand and bottom with your left. This allows you to simulate the ulnar/radial deviation.
     
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  6. Tight Lines

    Tight Lines Semi-Pro

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    Personally, I would rather do shadow strokes. Why bother with gizmos like this? I wonder whether this personal trainer did any scientific measurements of "more powerful tennis shots".

    Call me skeptical.

    Harry
     
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  7. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    I wouldn't call medicine balls gizmos. They're pretty standard in the strength/conditioning world.

    Shadow swinging is great, but it doesn't force a player to use the kinetic chain. When you're throwing a medicine ball against a wall, you literally can't do it without creating power from the ground up. A person can still arm a shadow swing. Most do, in fact.

    This exercise was really designed to develop more explosive core muscles. That applied to a stroke would definitely result in more power. However, a player would have to know or learn how to do it. The guy doesn't claim to be a teaching pro.

    I know I've seen Lleyton Hewitt do this exercise.
     
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  8. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    If it helps you use your legs and core, practice it.
    I think it helps, but so does playing baseball, basketball, and football.
     
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  9. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Around 2:19 he said 'and when he catches the ball in the back he's involving the lat there .... getting a good contraction .'

    I don't see the lat involvement. ?

    The exercises look well selected and useful for tennis strokes.

    Most medicine balls are larger diameter and can bounce but some don't bounce. For the exercises in the video a few kilograms/ 6-10 lb ball might be a good weight to train the stronger slower, trunk muscles for rotation.

    A smaller diameter ball of about 1 Kg/2.2 lbs or smaller might be good for some plyometric training of some smaller faster, muscles such as are used in the service motion. A 4" diameter ball fits in the hand. The smallest bounceable ball that I could find was 1 KG and 8" in diameter. If anybody has a link to a bounceable 4" 1 Kg/2.2 lbs or 1 lb ball please post.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2013
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  10. KineticChain

    KineticChain Professional

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    This is a good muscle strengthening exercise for tennis players.. but I don't think it actually helps you develop the stroke you want. You really need on-court repetition of the correct stroke sequence to build the muscle memory.
     
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  11. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    Yes, to clarify, I wasn't using it to learn the stroke, rather to build up the core and leg, and arm muscles which are used in the stroke. The side eeffect is that it does help you with the kinetic chain. Exercises with bands and pulleys are also helpful.
     
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  12. Tight Lines

    Tight Lines Semi-Pro

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    That is exactly what I think. The trainer in the video makes a bold claim that doing the exercise will help you develop a more powerful stroke. With all due respect, he is a personal trainer. The kinetic chain require to generate racket head speed is quite different from and quite complex than a simple isolated muscle strengthening exercise.

    You might increase your balance from it and build up physical endurance, which are important, but I highly doubt it will give you more rhs which is what the guy essentially claims. JMHO.

    Harry
     
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  13. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    The exercise is FAR from an isolated exercise. It involves the legs, whole core, and arms.

    It's not going to make a player go from 3.0 to 4.5 or anything, but players who can't visualize how the kinetic chain works might benefit from just getting a feel for generating power from the ground up.
     
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  14. Tight Lines

    Tight Lines Semi-Pro

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    Okay, if you are saying that the video could help a beginner who does not even know or appreciate what loading of weight and coiling the body mean, then yes I would agree with you. Anything more than that, I don' think so.

    IMO, even that could be better illustrated by watching a video like this one.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Wwg9DB8S8a8

    On the subject of the claim that the personal trainer makes regarding "more powerful tennis shot" in the video, see what you think about the following which was copied from this link. http://blog.tennisspeed.com/2009_09_01_archive.html

    "Is accelerating your 11 to 12 ounce racket to 75 MPH at contact in 0.12 seconds (or less) for every forehand the same as throwing a 10 pound medicine ball sideways (a commonly recommended exercise to add power to your groundstrokes)?"

    "Are the exact same muscles used in your forehand used at the same speed and same muscle contraction pattern and sequence as that side throw with the heavy med ball?"

    "The answer in both cases is a resounding “NO”, yet virtually every conditioning coach and personal trainer will make you do exactly those types of general exercises to help you “improve” your tennis-specific skills."


    The above quote is a high-performance tennis specialist with a hard science PhD. In fact, my forehand has benefitted tremendously from his blog. I trust the high-performance tennis specialist over the personal trainer guy.

    AJMHO.

    Harry
     
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  15. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    The trunk muscles turn more slowly in the kinetic energy chain and more massive objects might be suitable. A 10 lb ball (?) for the trunk plyometrics. For the arm at much higher velocity much less weight is necessary for higher velocity simulation. The nice thing about a medicine ball is that you can get it up to a high velocity and unlike a 1 lb dumbbell there is no stress to the arm if stopped and less impact issues if it is thrown. Resistance bands are also easy to more fast in a controlled way. But the force - velocity characteristics are not the same as for mass.

    See the ground force curve on page 4. The higher up in the kinetic energy chain the higher the velocity.

    http://www.revolutionarytennis.com/Rev Tennis/download/usta-high-performance-vol-8-no-2.pdf
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2013
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  16. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    Oh, that's the guy from essential tennis. He has a pretty good tennis podcast dealing with stuff for rec players.

    Love med ball tosses for strength training for tennis.

    Don't know how someone is saying this is controversial. Pretty standard training -

    Here's Rafa doing a series of med ball tosses with his trainer:
    http://youtu.be/uWv5KoX2ko0?t=7m15s

    You'll even find it in the USTA training resources: http://assets.usta.com/assets/1/15/ST_14_Medicine_Ball_Forehand_and_Backhand_Throw.pdf
    http://assets.usta.com/assets/1/15/ST_12_Med_Ball_Squat_Chest_Throw.pdf
    http://assets.usta.com/assets/1/15/ST_13_Medicine_Ball_Squat_Toss.pdf
     
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