Tennis has ruined my body!!

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by will3689, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. will3689

    will3689 New User

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    So i have played tennis on and off for about 10 years but only this last couple of years started taking it more seriously- entering tournaments, playing almost every day etc. I am an athletic 23 year old and have always been pretty healthy but this last few months i feel like im 50 something!! My back aches every morning, my elbow hurts for the first 10 minutes of hitting, ive had pain in my shoulder, ive recently pulled my groin so cant play at all now! why is this happening? What do you guys do to prevent aches/ injuries?
     
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  2. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Are you warming up your body prior to play. I am not talking static stretching for your warmup. You can perform some static stretches at home -- 30-60 minutes before you plan to start hitting. Once you get to the court, your warmup should be dynamic -- it can/should include some dynamic stretching.

    Have you been using a racket that is too light or too heavy for you? Perhaps the grip size is too small or too large for our hand. You may be squeezing the handle too tightly. Are you using stiff strings, such as polyester? 1-handed or 2-handed BH? You might consider switching to a more arm-friendly racket. What are you currently using?
     
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  3. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    I don't play everyday. And stretching. A lot. It may be overlooked, but it's a must.

    Elbow and shoulder ache could be either poor technique or dead strings. Are you using poly? Poly tends to be harsher on the joints.

    But back on topic: Warm up first and stretch for 15-20 minutes afterwards.
     
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  4. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    It could be just one of those phases where you rack up injuries like they're nothing.

    However, at 23 you should NOT be having back aches EVERY morning. I'm 27 and I play anywhere from 5-7 days a week on top of gym time (2-4 days). I had an episode of back spasms that essentially knocked me out for 2months when I was ~24-25, and I went into rehab to strengthen my core.

    But to answer your question about preventing injuries, here's what I do:
    - Though I play A LOT, I don't underestimate the benefits of adequate rest and recovery. Every half a year or so, I take an extended break from the game (~2-4 weeks). On top of that, it gives my mind a break and study the game and come back with a different perspective.
    - Stay flexible, I spend about ~15-20minutes stretching when I'm at the gym.
    - Stay strong in the core.
    - Lastly, I listen to my body. If something starts to ache, I'd shut it down before it gets worse.

    But a bad back at 23 on every morning? I suggest you have it checked out because you should not be getting back problems when you're in your 20's. I did however, and I got it fixed. I suggest you do the same.
     
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  5. will3689

    will3689 New User

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    Thanks for all the helpful comments people. I do stretch before playing but almost definitely not enough. Just a couple if minutes of dynamic stretching. I do need to get my back sorted out!! I used to do quite a lot of weight training and think I've picked this up from that. Thinking about it there is never a day I do nothing so I probably just need a rest. My racquet is a babolat aero pro drive (the original one) I do have a one handed backhand although its mainly serving that hurts my elbow so could be just bad serving technique
     
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  6. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    It's always refreshing to hear someone question their own technique/fitness versus blaming their equipment by default.

    Though a lot of people say the Aero Pro Drive line is not elbow friendly (I've never used one, so I can't say from experience).

    I don't know what your built is, but big bulky muscles do you no good in tennis. It robs you of your flexibility and places more stress on your muscles. Lastly, I'd strive for joint and muscle balance so nothing is overwhelmed by their counterpart. For example:

    Knee joint - The quads common overwhelms the hamstrings (good way to pull a hammy that way :) ). Also, stressed/tight hamstrings is a sure fire way of back problems!
    Shoulder - Internal rotators overwhelming the external rotators.
    Upper arm - Triceps overwhelming the biceps.

    Lastly, rest :)
     
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  7. UCSF2012

    UCSF2012 Hall of Fame

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    I think you're not recovering btwn sessions. You're tiring out, your muscles are getting weaker from overuse, and now they gave out.

    You must get sugar during long play. Gatorade, Goo, etc. Then, eat right off the court.
     
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  8. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    Telling someone he "should not" have back issues at his age is not helpful, because it's very real. A well controlled study in a pediatric journal a decade or two ago assessed spine films in a group of HIGH SCHOOL TENNIS PLAYERS and found markedly increased spinal arthritis (yes, arthritis) compared with age matched cohort of non-tennis players. Tennis is very rough on the back, stretching will not prevent spinal trauma, plenty of pros have quit the tour because of back problems at roughly the same age as the OP, and one should not ignore those types of problems if you have them.
     
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  9. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Tennis leads to muscle imbalances.

    Your "hitting muscles" get stronger and stronger from all that ball bashing.

    Your whole dominant side gets stronger and stronger - pulling your back out of alignment.

    To play as much as you do, you need an off court program to continue to play and not be plagued by a series of overuse injuries.

    (And yes, you need more rest now, and to build more rest into your program.)


    Here is a minimal off court program that should help:
    Thrower's Ten Exercises: http://www.muhlenberg.edu/pdf/main/athletics/athletic_training/throwers10.pdf
    Tennis Weight Training - Exercises of Weight Training for Tennis http://optimumtennis.net/tennis-weight-training.htm
    Tennis Elbow: Step-By-Step Instructions For Treating Elbow Pain Using A Flexbar (Tyler Twist) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2QQaVfeI4U


    You mention you used to do fairly heavy weight training.

    To prevent overuse injuries you don't have to "lift heavy". Even fairly minor increases in strength - especially in your non-hitting/non-dominant side muscles - can help prevent overuse injuries.
    (Of course if you have the time, or have an offseason, getting even stronger can help build up more of a reserve for the long tennis season.)




    Here's a good source if you want a balanced training program that will take more time:
    Sports Fitness Advisor Tennis Training Section: http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/tennis-training.html
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
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  10. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    You mention shoulder problems as well.

    It sounds like you are a good player with overall sound technique, but over time little changes can creep in that can be harming your shoulder.

    Are you doing anything that could be helped by reviewing these shoulder videos:

    Your serve technique doing more harm than good? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgdXawklcZk

    Preventing Rotator Cuff Injury http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTRvxaBMh8s

    Rotator cuff injury http://www.tennisresources.com/inde...ail&basicsearch=1&media_name=&rv=1&vidid=3712
     
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  11. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Specifically for your back, you need to do a course of back exercises to help you get "over the hump".

    These exercises seem rediculously easy to do, but will help get the para-spinal muscles that are tense to stretch out, and help build strength in the tiny back muscles that oppose the action of ones you have "strengthened" from tennis activities.

    Your back - like all your muscles - have to be evenly balanced between those that push and those that pull - or else the strong ones will pull your back out of alignment and result in pain.

    Slide show: Back exercises in 15 minutes a day http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/back-pain/LB00001_D


    Most find that if they are later doing more major exercise like squats that involve the back, that these "ridiculously easy to do" exercises no longer become necessary.
    (Most - but not all.)
     
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  12. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    #12
  13. will3689

    will3689 New User

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    Wow some really useful advice there. I already do core exercise twice a week and jog 3 times a week but looking at some of the exercises above I need to work more specifically for tennis and concentrate a lot more on stretching. Yeah I really need to improve my serving technique because this is most likely causing the problems in my elbow and shoulder. Again thanks for all advice and the video links
     
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  14. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Another great post by charlie, to the op follow this advise and you should be fine.
     
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  15. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Babolat racquets, in general, are bit hard on the arm (shoulder, elbow, wrist). The AeroPro Drive is rather stiff and may not have enough frame shock dampening or enough frame shock isolation to prevent a lot of frame shock from getting to your arm. Stiff strings, like polyester strings, can exacerbate the problem. What string and string tension are you using?

    I had some lower back problems in my late 20s and early 30s from weight training. Badminton and, to a lesser degree, tennis added to the problem. I improved my weight lifting techniques/practices and the problem subsided. Have experienced very few lower back problems from my late 30s thru my early 60s (now).
     
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  16. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    awesome advice... was going to ask about recovery, but this has answered a lot of my questions.

    any specific routines you guys use after a heavy practice* session or match?



    * My practice tends to be harder than most matches.
     
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  17. will3689

    will3689 New User

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    I do use polyester strings. What strings are recomended to help prevent problems like this? would using a vibration dampner help?
    Anyway i had a serving lesson with the club coach yesterday and he reckons my shoulder and elbow problems are down to my serving technique because alot of the power i generate is coming from my shouder and im not using my legs enough to push up.
     
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  18. jonahnaturals

    jonahnaturals Rookie

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    I would also look at getting deep tissue work to supplement your stretching. I find that doing both within an hour of a heavy hit can significantly reduce soreness and stiffness the following day. Foam rolling is a great way to simulate deep tissue work - it's free once you get an inexpensive roller, and you can do it anywhere and at any time. Just google "foam roller" and YouTube will show you the way.

    Good luck.
     
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  19. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    The Babolat frame with polyester strings is probably not an ideal combination. Stiff frame with inadequate shock reduction/isolation with a very stiff string can be a recipe for arm problems. The vibration dampener will not help much, if at all. It is frame/string shock, not string vibration that stresses the arm.

    Look for a softer string, perhaps a synthetic gut (nylon). You might check the Strings forum for some ideas. Another possibility is to go with a polyester/nylon hyrbid setup at a very low tension (below 45 lbs). However, it might be best to avoid polyester altogether with your Babolat frame.

    Using more leg drive and other corrections to the serve motion should certainly help. Again, make sure that you are not squeezing the handle too tightly.
    .
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
    #19
  20. goober

    goober Legend

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    I don't see you mention rest and recovery.

    You don't need to play every day. It is not like you are training to be a pro or for a college scholie. Take it easy, listen to your body. Let yourself completely heal and when you start again start slowly and do not play through pain. If your plan is to play 30-40 years more, you need to look at the bigger picture.
     
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  21. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Vibration dampeners do help. Natural gut is the most arm friendly string followed by multifilament strings. I've tried a few multis in my day:

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=352048
     
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  22. will3689

    will3689 New User

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    Yeah I do need stop playing so much I guess :( It's pretty easy to get addicted to playing tennis and it takes over your life without u knowing!! Ill definitely look into changing my strings then. Anyone got any suggestions?
     
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  23. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    That is exactly why I have my scheduled lengthy month-long breaks after every 5-6 months. I'm 27, and I want to maintain this level for 30-40years more :)
     
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  24. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Listen to all the boyz...
    Take up a new sport. Try windsurfing, kiteboarding, surfing, skiing, snowboarding, anything to take some time OFF just playing tennis and running on hard courts.
     
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  25. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Dampeners do absolutely nothing to protect against injury. Despite what some still think they only change the sound.
     
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  26. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    ^^ absolutely. The damaging action is the lever-arm torque the racquet exerts on your arm on impact. A dampener would have no meaningful effect on that.
     
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  27. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    They make a minor difference for me in comfort. In the Exo Tour, the dampener makes the string bed feel a little softer. If that is not the case with you then so be it.
     
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  28. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I agree with this.
     
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  29. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Sadly, that's why all the idiots think their dampeners do anything against tennis elbow.
     
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  30. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    It certainly won't cure tennis elbow otherwise I would not be icing my arm after each match!
     
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  31. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    No matter what you think the dampener does nothing for me you or anyone else. It only changes the sound which obviously has a placebo effect for you.
     
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  32. THESEXPISTOL

    THESEXPISTOL Hall of Fame

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    Eat and sleep well man. That's the most important thing.
     
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  33. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Thank you for telling me what my arm feels. I never used a dampener until I bought the Exo Tour. It helps whether you believe it or not.
     
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  34. mikeespinmusic

    mikeespinmusic Rookie

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    You are way out of balance with your muscles. its too late at night right now for me to go through details. So I'm just gonna say: Core stability, Work on the glutes and balance (e.g stand on one leg with your eyes shut - no shoes so you work harder) . Do not stretch the hamstrings or lower back just because they feel tight....trust me with this one. Most of it can be done with Pilates

    (Note: Joseph Pilates invented his excercises known as "Contrololgy" to rehab Soldiers and Boxers after the war-when he passed away people close to him decided to call it pilates to honour him and because they were dancers, made the routines very girly :( )
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
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  35. Triskadekaphilia

    Triskadekaphilia Rookie

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    See a sports medicine doctor. If you have chronic back pain you may have an anatomical issue. Hopefully not a herniated disc. You need to know what your dealing with so that you can do the proper exercises to prevent chronic inflammation. You are young so probably just poor warmup and rest like other posters have suggested.
     
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  36. tmc5005

    tmc5005 Rookie

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    What kind of racquet are you using? Have you tried one of these, or any racquet that is flexible, head light balanced and on the heavy side.

    Babolat New Pure Storm LTD GT (95)
    Dunlop Biomimetic 200 Tour (90)
    Dunlop Biomimetic 200 (95)
    HEAD-Youtek-IG-Prestige-MP
    Prince EXO3 Rebel (95)
    Prince EXO3 Tour (100) 16 x 18
    Volkl Power Bridge 10 Mid (93)
    Volkl Organix 10 325G
    Wilson Prostaff Six.One BLX (95)
    Yonex Vcore 95D
     
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