What strength exercise has helped your tennis the most?

VaMoose98

Rookie
I’m a 4.5 player and I just turned 30. I want to maximize my level for the next couple of years and have started weight training to that end. What single exercise do you think has benefited your tennis the most?
 

chic

Professional
When I was lifting and playing tennis, in order of most to least:
1split lunges
2squats or front squats
3med ball throw downs (need a bouncy med ball so they can be continuous)

More/varied leg work is definitely the most applicable to tennis, as that's where the power is. Full body chain workouts like the med ball throw downs are always good since most tennis motions include kinetic chains.

Other important things would be enough abs and lower back workouts to prevent injury. I like mason twists, straight leg crunches, etc.

Shoulder workouts help especially if you have a real serve. Again, also important injury preventers if that's a risk for you. Farmer carries, flys, shrugs, and sometimes full body motions that include shoulder like snatch presses or the med ball throws.

Then there's the 'major lifts' which are just generally applicable and hit most muscle groups:
Pull ups, bench press, squats, and deadlifts.
A lot of people could see huge tennis (and general life) improvement just doing these 4 and an ab workout a couple days a week imo. Less directed though
 

rchjr2091

Semi-Pro
I’m a 4.5 player and I just turned 30. I want to maximize my level for the next couple of years and have started weight training to that end. What single exercise do you think has benefited your tennis the most?
What Chic posted was so spot on not much to add. My personal experience as someone whose life revolved around a weight room now I loath going so when I’m there I want to maximize my time. It’s all about compound movements and core exercises. I’m visualizing every exercise I’m doing, trying to visualize it helping me with my tennis . If it does great , if it doesn’t it probably is going to bottom of the list.
If I had to just pick one exercise for someone to incorporate that currently isn’t training with weights for tennis , it would be tough not to put squats at the top. I’m not talking heavy weight eyes bulging ( unless that’s what drives you! ) . Find you a good trainer that can help you get started with some good exercises that can help take your tennis to the next level.
 

chic

Professional
Mostly been doing squats and lunges along with push-ups and pull-ups. Will incorporate some of these suggestions!
Another trick is to, on what can be fairly static or slow movements like squats or lunges, explode on the upward part of the motion.

That's the reason I like split lunges more than regular lunges. Form is like in the yt video (linked below) but holding hands at sides holding dumbbells.

 

WildVolley

Legend
...

Shoulder workouts help especially if you have a real serve. Again, also important injury preventers if that's a risk for you. Farmer carries, flys, shrugs, and sometimes full body motions that include shoulder like snatch presses or the med ball throws.

Then there's the 'major lifts' which are just generally applicable and hit most muscle groups:
Pull ups, bench press, squats, and deadlifts.
...
Shoulder workouts are the only reason I've been able to maintain a decent serve and continue playing.

I do pull-ups, deadlifts, farmer's carry, and external rotator exercises with a band. That along with hanging from a bar daily has allowed me to serve without pain after a shoulder injury.
 
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chic

Professional
Shoulder workouts are the only reason I've been able to maintain a decent serve and continue playing.

I do hanging from a bar, pull-ups, deadlifts, farmer's carry, and external rotator exercises with a band. That along with hanging from a bar daily has allowed me to serve without pain after a shoulder injury.
Internal and external rotator cuff with the band are, imo, something that should be done before mini tennis everytime one plays.

Especially if you have a real serve.

But most people don't even warm up and just wanna play, especially with doubles. So I've given up espousing that.

Didn't fit in as well to the hitting the weights schema here so I didn't list it, but good call.
 

Turbo-87

Legend
Lunges using a Gorilla Bow resistance band trainer have helped me a lot. I have noticed a significant change from concentrating on leg work. Lunges have given me a lot more explosive move toward the ball. My regular workout is a bodybuilding routine that isn't conducive to tennis fitness, but doing more resistance training on the legs has helped for sure.
 

Bagumbawalla

Hall of Fame
One excercise I might suggest is the "crab walk". Lay on your back and then push up with arms (overhead) and legs-
then crab walk as far as you can. Helps strengthen muscles not normally used- but good for tennis serve, etc.
 

pronostix

New User
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time_fly

Hall of Fame
Anything to do with Kettlebells...they strengthen, they protecc and help you attacc :cool:
Yes, I was going to mention doing single-leg and single-arm-loaded versions of exercises, which often use kettle bells. You can take something that is more a traditional iron-pumping exercise and make it much more complete, for example instead of doing a pectoral fly by lying on a bench with weights in each hand, you can do it standing with a cable column, one arm at a time. You can lunges or do split-squats with a kettle bell in one hand. These promote stability and balance as well as just strength. Another one I like is wood chops, usually with a cable column in my case. Finally, monster walks are great for building up functional strength in the muscles around the hips.
 

TagUrIt

Hall of Fame
When the pandemic hit, I had to find a new way to workout. I discovered jumping rope, it helped my tennis tremendously! My stamina, footspeed and footwork all improved. I did JumpRopeDudes workouts, they incorporated body weight exercises and jumping rope. It's an amazing workout and I certainly saw the difference on the courts. I highly recommend Crossropes too btw, they're a little pricey, but completely worth it. You can buy and open box set on their site and save money also.
 
If i had to rank them, it would go like this:

1. Squats - low weight, high reps at fast pace. Power comes from the ground up. Thiem does squats on match days. To me, its the best work out to stay explosive. Just remember to stretch after.
2. Jumping rope- footwork. helps a lot. quick twitch movements.
3. Plank work. core is huge for balance
4. Push-ups. Every human being should be doing 100 pushups every couple of days. its the best upper body workout and involves zero equipment. I honestly have zero sympathy for people who blame their weight gain on gyms being closed this year. all this stuff requires nothing but motivation and a hip-hop playlist...
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
I'm 54, I coach high school teams in the spring and fall, and I teach in the summers. Keeping after my strength and endurance has become pretty important as I've put further distance between me and my warrior years.

Sticking to a "basic" lifting routine is important, but everything in that routine is vital for me. I need some strength and endurance in my shoulders, abdominals, forearms, upper and lower back... Pushups, lifting moderate weights with higher reps, and even using a shovel handle to work my forearms - everything adds up for me.

I'm also a believer in the benefits of using a jump rope. They cost $2.50 at Wal-Mart and I have a bag with maybe a dozen of them for working out the teams through our seasons. I keep one in my racquet bag, too.

But I can say that the one most beneficial exercise for my tennis pursuits has been riding my bicycle. It's certainly not the same as running around on a court, but it gives me much better overall endurance and my legs are substantially more resilient when I'm on the courts every day through the warmer months. As long as I'm riding twice or occasionally three times a week, my knees and ankles are happy campers.
 

Blitzball

Professional
All the comments on strength are spot on. In addition to standard leg/core work I have been incorporating exercises that target the core sling system. I like these exercises because they target a series of muscles--all very important for tennis players--all at once. That, and I like to keep my workouts efficient and short lol.

From the videos I've seen more and more tennis pros are training their sling system. Check it out:

 

onehandbh

Legend
I swear single leg deadlifts made me fast.

J
How do you do single leg deadlifts? Do you hold a dumbbell?

I have only done single leg pistol squats, which seem to be more about balance than strength. I would guess most reasonably in-shape guys can probably do 5-10 on each leg.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
How do you do single leg deadlifts? Do you hold a dumbbell?

I have only done single leg pistol squats, which seem to be more about balance than strength. I would guess most reasonably in-shape guys can probably do 5-10 on each leg.
Yes, straight leg. You can do it just bodyweight to start depending on your ability and coordination. Then hold a dumbell in the hand opposite the foot on the floor and stick your other arm out for balance.

I did sets of 10 or 12.

Of course this was a part of a full workout and training routine, it's not like I just did a couple sets before my coffee twice a week and was instantly quick.

J
 

onehandbh

Legend
Yes, straight leg. You can do it just bodyweight to start depending on your ability and coordination. Then hold a dumbell in the hand opposite the foot on the floor and stick your other arm out for balance.

I did sets of 10 or 12.

Of course this was a part of a full workout and training routine, it's not like I just did a couple sets before my coffee twice a week and was instantly quick.

J
Thanks for the detailed description. I’ll give it a try.

I’ve found walking lunges to help with speed. I hold a dumbbell in each hand. I do them once a week or so. I do 4 sets. 2 warmup sets and then do 2 heavier work sets. For each warmup set I do 24 lunges (12each leg). If I get to 24 reps for my heavier work set, I increase the weight the next time. Legs are strong so you might find your grip strength being the limiting factor once you start increasing the dumbell weights.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Thanks for the detailed description. I’ll give it a try.

I’ve found walking lunges to help with speed. I hold a dumbbell in each hand. I do them once a week or so. I do 4 sets. 2 warmup sets and then do 2 heavier work sets. For each warmup set I do 24 lunges (12each leg). If I get to 24 reps for my heavier work set, I increase the weight the next time. Legs are strong so you might find your grip strength being the limiting factor once you start increasing the dumbell weights.
I usually do a star pattern for lunges, two sets each side, forward, and reverse.

For some reason barbell overhead reverse lunges are my kryptonite.

It's all pretty much the same I think as long as you mix it up every couple of weeks.

J
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
I’m a 4.5 player and I just turned 30. I want to maximize my level for the next couple of years and have started weight training to that end. What single exercise do you think has benefited your tennis the most?
I don’t believe there is a single exercise that you can benefit from very much, you need a combination of a
balanced good sound resistance training program. No such thing as one magic exercise.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
Anything that strengthens my core and leg muscles I have found to be most helpful for tennis.

As a recreational tennis player, my biggest focus has always been on keeping my weight down. The lighter I am, the quicker I am on my feet and the less strain I am putting on my joints. So I only lift weights to the extent that it helps me burn fat.

I know everyone always talks about how Agassi could bench 300lbs, but a pro player gets a marginal benefit from strength that recreational players don't see. I'm going to get a lot more out of my game by dropping 5lbs and improving my backhand mechanics than I am by putting on 5lbs of muscle and increasing my deadlift.
 

VaMoose98

Rookie
I don’t believe there is a single exercise that you can benefit from very much, you need a combination of a
balanced good sound resistance training program. No such thing as one magic exercise.
That’s obvious. I’m just canvassing for other exercises to incorporate
 
I think just not being fat is what matters the most for tennis. I've been lifting since I was 18 or so, but no consistent diet or exercise programs. Just going through the motions like most morons.

I've gone from 217 to 196 in the past 8 weeks. I've got another 15 to go to get to 10-14% body fat, but my movement is better and strength is the same. It is highly improbable any weight training in the gym is really going to hinder your tennis unless toy get real fat and strong whilst training with a power lifting coach.
 

Damotuky

New User
If there’s only one exercise you can do, it’s squats by a long shot. Be very strict with your form (have a trainer observe).
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
If I could only do one, I'd probably do deadlifts. But I do a bunch of things and I feel that there's a lot of synergy between various exercises.

Barbell: squats, shoulder press, deadlift
Dumbbells: front raise, lateral raise, russian twist, bicep curls

Yoga: Warrior I, II, III, Half-Moon Pose, Locust Pose, Cobra, Child's, Table Top, Plank, Side Plank, Pigeon, Runner's Lunge, Downward Dog, Upward Plank, Bound Angle, Easy Seated
Windshield Wipers

Split Squats.

I do these in my basement. There are a number of things that I'd like to do regularly in the gym but I'm wary about going there because of COVID. Our local numbers are at record high and I don't feel safe in the strength room.
 

Fintft

Legend
1split lunges
Jumps.
Semi-squats.

Other important things would be enough abs and lower back workouts to prevent injury. I like push ups, straight leg crunches, planks etc.

Shoulder workouts help especially if you have a real serve. Again, also important injury preventers if that's a risk for you. Chest expander and 20 lbs weights.
 

ezekiel114

Semi-Pro
Anything to do with Kettlebells...they strengthen, they protecc and help you attacc :cool:
been doing kettlebell for the last month or so. i am a big fan. scratches the itch of lifting and getting functional strength which is beneficial in life. i'm a big fan of mark wildman and his video tutorials.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Another trick is to, on what can be fairly static or slow movements like squats or lunges, explode on the upward part of the motion.

That's the reason I like split lunges more than regular lunges. Form is like in the yt video (linked below) but holding hands at sides holding dumbbells.

my knee just went on strike...
 

chic

Professional
my knee just went on strike...
Revised list for those of us no longer 26 years old:
1. Box squats or ⅓ squats. Interesting thing I learned in physical therapy: if you have RoM you don't need to use it all in your lifts. Strength can be built with much less movement, it's not poor technique unless your body is locking you out, then you should work on flexibility.

2. warrior poses (yoga) these are all lunge based poses but we're trading off explosiveness for stability and flexibility. The ability to hold the poses will strengthen the joints, the ability to move through them will keep up flexibility.

3. Abs, lower back, and ISR/ESR with a theraband get bumped up the list for injury prevention reasons. I think more dynamic abs are probably a better focus so bicycle crunches, good mornings, mason twists, back extensions and plank might be a good rotation.
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I got far greater benefits from plyometric and power (rather than strength) exercises. Jump squats and rope skipping are quite useful. You CAN do some of your weight training explosively / plyometrically. Here are some other ideas.

 
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