Lower Back Pain When Serving


Hall of Fame
I recently started to play tennis again (About 3 times a week now) and when I serve I get lower back pain. I assume this is from leaning backwards before jumping and hitting the ball. I never had this before, but I was in a lot better shape and probably stronger back and abdominal muscles as well.

I was wondering if I should be keep my abdominal muscles tighter in order to give my back some support, because right now I'm quite loose. I'm thinking in terms of lifting, similar to the deadlift you keep everything as tight as possible to not injure your back. Should I be doing the same for my service motion?

Be sure the bend in your trophy pose (pic 3) is at the ankles and knees - while the back is relatively straight.

There is a "squat" in every serve.
Consider doing squats (if they don't bother your back) to be stronger in the legs, core and back, and the muscles connecting the core and back.

You don't have to squat a pick up truck to have a strong back.

Even a very small increase in strength may be all you need to prevent a recurrence of your back problems.

You can start with body weight squats and add dumbbell weight to slowly increase your squat strength.


Bionic Poster
Toss out to our right more, so you don't arch your back.
Try serving twist serves, if you want to see what extreme arching does to your back.


Hall of Fame
I have problems tossing in front as well, been working on my toss for a while now. Only get about 1/5 right
Lower back pain from serving is almost always caused by one twisting their back too much during the service motion. When you get into trophy position, try to keep your back as straight as possible.

Chas Tennis

As Gut4Tennis says, get a video. 60 fps video, now available with fast shutters on many newer DSLR cameras, in bright sunlight should do to show your relatively slow trunk/back motions. Even a 30 fps Smartphone camera might be useful as most cameras select very fast shutters in bright sunlight - very little motion blur.

But if you are getting back pain stop serving. It may not take much to do damage to a disc.

If you look at pro serves in high speed video, many do not use exaggerated back positions. Djokovic, on the other hand, seems to use more trunk twist than most players for his forehand and serve and he has had occasional back tweeks.
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Chas Tennis

Earlier Threads on Serving & Back Positions

Deals with how much the back bends.

The phase of the serve with leg thrust, back bend and chest up, etc.

Most of the pro videos are intended to clearly show how internal shoulder rotation produces final racket head speed on the serve. The degree of back bending can also usually be seen.


Stosur uses more bending than most other servers.
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Hall of Fame
Thanks, I'll read those threads. For now, I think I'll just stick to worrying about my toss and try to keep my back from hurting