Back Care Tips for Tennis Players
Tennis is a sport that can keep you active and healthy throughout all stages of life. But, low back pain is a common complaint among tennis players. Here are some tips to lessen your risk of injury and keep you on the court!
Don’t Forget To Stretch:
Stretch before and after physical activity to prevent injury and decrease muscle soreness.
- Warm-up: Complete 5-10 minutes of low-moderate activity like jogging or cycling. Next, use dynamic stretching to prepare the muscles for activity. Examples of dynamic stretches are torso twists and walking lunges.
- Cool down: Use static stretching after activity to reduce the risk of injury and soreness. Bring your muscles back to their resting length by holding the stretch for 20-30 seconds. Examples of static stretches include hamstring stretch and standing hip flexor stretch.
Check Your Form:
Practicing good form is important for peak performance and for keeping you on the court. Keep your knees bent, your abdominals engaged, and your shoulders from rounding forward.
Choose Your Equipment:
To boost your performance and enjoyment you need to have the right equipment.
- Racket: Choose a tennis racket that is comfortable in grip and size. If the handle is too small, it can twist in your hand. If it is too large, you will spend more muscle energy trying to control it. Visit your local tennis pro shop for help in matching the best racket to your size and ability. 1
- Shoes: Wearing the correct shoes is another important consideration. It is best to wear shoes designed for tennis. Tennis shoes provide lateral support for a quick side to side movements on the court.
Include Functional Training:
Tennis involves quick movements and dramatic rotations. Training off the court can improve your strength, flexibility, and range of motion. Functional exercises build strength while increasing mobility to improve your tennis strokes. Below are some ideas of movements to help you get started (you’ll need a chair and a resistance band).
Core Stability Rotation
- Tie a knot in the middle of the band and close the knot behind a door to anchor the band
- Sit upright in a chair about 2 feet away from the door with feet on the floor
- Face sideways to the door so that the band is directly to your side
- Hold the band with both hands with your arms extended and count to 3 as you slowly rotate away from the door keeping your arms extended and in front of your chest
- Count to 3 as you slowly rotate back toward the door
Perform this 8 times, then take a short break (30-60 seconds). Switch sides and perform 8 more times.
- Stand with feet hip width apart
- Step forward with one leg and lower your body until your rear knee nearly touches the floor and your front thigh is parallel to the floor
- Press strongly into your front heel and back toes to stand upright
Perform this 8-10 times, then take a short break (30-60 seconds). Switch legs and perform 8-10 more times. 2
- Lie on your stomach with your hands directly under your shoulders
- Press into your hands and toes to lift your body away from the floor
- Squeeze your glutes, quads, and core muscles to hold yourself upright
Hold this for 10 seconds, then take a short break (30-60 seconds). Then repeat 2 more times for a total of 3 times.