Quad engagement during serving

Bilders

Semi-Pro
I have just started putting work into my serve. I feel that my action requires a conditioned quad area, specifically the rectus femoris in the front leg. This comes into play when I am pushing off my front leg for the serve action. The day after it's feeling the effects of a good session and in recovery mode.

When serving, is this an area which should require to be engaged? Or am I potentially doing something wrong.
 
That is a very interesting question.

Remember about the rectus femorus that it is the only one of the quads that attaches above the hip joint. The bend in the hip is important for how the rectus femorus functions and the rectus femorus can bend both the knee and hip with individual timing. Other muscles also contribute to hip extension.
http://breakingmuscle.com/strength-conditioning/two-jointed-muscles-of-the-lower-body-what-they-are-and-how-to-train

My impression from looking at serves, but not having focused on the action of the hip joint, is that servers vary in hip angle around Trophy Position. Some have a bend (more flexed) at the hip joints and others may be more straight (more extended).

Also study the hip joints's positions, motions and timing relative to when the legs first thrust. I believe that I've seen the hips start to straighten first on some serves slightly before the legs thrust up. You probably need high speed video to see this small timing difference.

I believe that if you look at Sampras and others at the hips they may be more straight just before the legs thrust upward. Some other severs will be more flexed at the hips.

This picture has the right hip more straight (extended) than the left hip. What variation is there for Sampras?


Hips equally flexed. Is this picture right before leg thrust starts?


Google: Trophy Position tennis images
Collect some quick stats on what high level servers are doing with their hips. Always check what still pictures happen to catch with high speed videos of the entire motion.
 
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Bilders

Semi-Pro
@LeeD @Chas Tennis I have been bending the knees with each action. It is possible that I simply did too many serves in a row without a break. I was like a machine just serving over and over until the muscle started to fatigue. I was hitting most of them successfully and within my own capability.

I think I haven't been incorporating a lean into the action as shown above in both photos. I think I am too used to doing a straight down squat as I do with my exercises.
Sampras' action looks very low impact.

Bend ze knees, just like skiing, can you do that without using the muscles?
 
I like the Sampras action also in that none of the joint angles seem to get exaggerated during the service motion. Notice also the heels off the court - on balls of feet. The serve type here is not known.


I'd take some time and study these features on a number known strong servers. Use high speed videos as Sampras video above because the stills are just one instant during the motion - and possibly those instants are at different times of the service motion and might be misleading.
 
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GuyClinch

Legend
I think I haven't been incorporating a lean into the action as shown above in both photos. I think I am too used to doing a straight down squat as I do with my exercises.
Sampras' action looks very low impact.
This is not correct. The idea of the serve is not to squat down.

Two things you are trying to do is

1) Open your chest angle to the sky - this is why a server goes well over their toes. You do not do this in squat.

2) Cork screw yourself into the ground with your back hip lower then your front one - this is what forces your hip into the court. It's very different then a squat..or even preparing to jump..
 

Bilders

Semi-Pro
This is not correct. The idea of the serve is not to squat down.

Two things you are trying to do is

1) Open your chest angle to the sky - this is why a server goes well over their toes. You do not do this in squat.

2) Cork screw yourself into the ground with your back hip lower then your front one - this is what forces your hip into the court. It's very different then a squat..or even preparing to jump..
This is definitely going to help my action. And prevent fatigue from being as much of a factor for me from being able to work on the serve. Cheers mate.
 

tennis_ocd

Hall of Fame
This is not correct. The idea of the serve is not to squat down.

Two things you are trying to do is

1) Open your chest angle to the sky - this is why a server goes well over their toes. You do not do this in squat.

2) Cork screw yourself into the ground with your back hip lower then your front one - this is what forces your hip into the court. It's very different then a squat..or even preparing to jump..
excellent. I think bending the knees should not be thought about. It is a natural reaction to opening the chest and arching your hips into the court.
 
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