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General Physical Conditioning for Tennis

There is really only one way to get good at playing tennis and that is to hit the court as often as possible.  This is a great way to get good of course.  You have to put racket to ball enough times and through this repetition you can improve your game.  In fact, for the longest time this was the only way anyone that played tennis ever trained at all.  They played.  That’s it.

But now things have changed.  The benefits to cross training, the method of training the entire body in order to garner increased performance in another athletic discipline, are astounding.  Cross training enables your body to fully realize its total potential, especially on the tennis court, where you wish to be at your best.  You can condition your entire body in order to improve your game with cross training.

Remember, you are only as strong as your weakest link and if one aspect of your game is under developed, your entire game suffers.  You also fall into the repetitive injury cycle if you keep repeating the same motion over and over again.  Ever heard of tennis elbow?  It happens all the time to players who don’t do cross training and develop their entire bodies because one side of the equation is out of balance. 

The body’s individual components work in harmony with one another but only if they are all in proper balance, with the right amount of conditioning and strength in each and every muscle group.  That includes your feet all the way up to your neck muscles.  Front, back, top to bottom, that’s the way to go with conditioning for your best possible tennis game.

Let us begin at the bottom and work our way upwards, shall we?  Your feet provide stability for the rest of your body so make sure you get the right footwear for your fitness level and have them fit your right or you will suffer later. woman-calf-muscles

Your calves, that lovely muscle on the back of your legs just below your knee, provide the ability of your feet to extend the toes and thus push off hard and fast enough to pivot and move at will.  So do not neglect your calves.  Do some calf raises on the edge of whatever your can find if you don’t have access to a gym’s equipment.  A set of stairs would work well.  Put the tip of your toes on the edge and go up and down as many times as you can until it burns.

Next are thighs and you can of course do your choice of cardio exercise like the trend mill or bike but you can also do resistance training.  Lunges are a simple, total lower body condition move that builds strength, endurance and even flexibility.  Start with your feet slightly apart facing forward and simply take a step with either foot and lunging forward, drop forward and bend both knees, lowering your upper body at the same time but not leaning.  Repeat with the other leg and you can even do walking lunges with weights once you build up your strength and endurance.

Next start slow with some simple crunches to build strength in your abdominal region.  Everyone knows how to know crunches, right?  Lie on your back and sit up, brining your shoulders slightly off the floor and your chest towards your knees, which should be bent.  Don’t forget to balance out the torso by working the lower back with some simple core exercises like prone cobra.  Lie on your stomach and lift your head and upper torso using your lower back.

Next is upper body and this is easy to work.  You can do push ups to strengthen your chest, triceps and shoulders.  This is a simple way to help improve your game and hitting the ball with power is important.

You can also run to help with general conditioning.  It’s simple and effective.

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