Strength Training

Stabilisation Strength
Stabilisation strength refers to the muscles and systems that support each and every joint, as well as make up the core/pillar strength.

Core strength refers to over 35 muscles that attach to the “lower core” lumbo-pelvic-hip complex and the “upper core” spine, ribs and scapula region. When activated, and recruited properly, the stability of the upper and lower core form the foundation to all movements.

Joint stabilisation of the rotator cuff (shoulder), hip complex, ankle complex, etc. is imperative because they assist in optimising joint function during every action in tennis.

The better trained these muscles are, the more efficient the transfer of energy will be throughout the body, making the players quicker, more powerful, and most importantly decreasing the strain experienced by these muscles.

Core Stability Exercises
Stabilisation strengthening exercises rely on the player’s ability to execute the recruitment and alignment perfectly, not just to do them.

This may be the most critical element of any young player’s physical development, and the foundation for all higher performance training throughout their playing career.

Exercise 1 : Ball Wall Squats

- Equipment
Physio ball

- Directions
Start with the ball against your lower back and the wall.
Switch on your lower core at a low level.
Keep knee behind toes. Keep load though the heels and compress ball into the wall.
Start with 1-2 reps x 10 sets

- Progression
Increase to 2-3 reps x 20 sets.
Increase leg strength and stability by gradually increasing number of repetitions and depth of squat.
Progress to single leg squats when able.

Exercise 2 : Side-lying Physio Ball Abduction

- Equipment
Physio Ball. 

- Directions
Lie on your side with a physio ball between your ankles
Switch on your core
Raise both legs up into abduction and hold for 2-4 seconds.

- Progression
Start off with 2 sets of 6 reps and progress as strength and ability allow to 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

Exercise 3 : Squat Thrust

- Equipment
Physio Ball. 

- Directions
Lie over a physio ball with arms in a press-up position with shins on the ball, hands shoulder-width apart under the shoulders.
Switch on your core to connect upper and lower body.
Place knees slightly apart for stability. Set lumbar spine in neutral and ensure shoulders are stable with shoulder blades down and chest out.
Pull knees to your chest and crunch the abdominals to get an extra flex of the hips and back.
Hold for 4 seconds.
Slowly extend knees back, using your abdominals to prevent the hips dropping down.

Start off with 2 sets of 6 reps and progress as strength and ability allow to 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

Propulsive Strength

Propulsive strength refers to the type of training that elicits greater and more efficient intra (within) and inter (between) muscular motor unit recruitment by improving the summation and synchronisation of muscle fibres.

This will facilitate the production of more force in less time (increased impulse), making players quicker and more powerful by storing and releasing greater amounts of energy than untrained muscle.

Given the proper hormonal response and nutritional support, the muscle will begin to increase its potential to generate force by increasing its size through a process of hypertrophy.

Hypertrophy in tennis players should be carefully guided so as not to put on non-functional weight. That is, every ounce of muscle added must produce more speed, power, or endurance for it to benefit the player.