Whether you are a professional or just testing your hand at Tennis, here’s the first thing you should do before even beginning to play. Stretching! Tennis is a game that can be hard on your entire body and leaving your muscles sore if you forget to stretch.
This sport demands energy from almost every muscle in the body. One of the best ways to avoid sports injury is stretching. It keeps the muscles strong, flexible, and healthy. Flexibility is necessary to keep the joints going and maintain their motion as well.
Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight and therefore affects your overall performance as they otherwise get weak and rigid. According to experts, inculcating stretching in pre-game as well as a post-game routine will not only increase athletic performance but also improve blood flow and reduce chances of muscular soreness.
Best Stretches for Tennis Players
Here are five expert-approved stretches that can maximize your potential at the game.
Disclaimer: Make sure you continue breathing normally while following the suggested stretches. Remember to take it slow. Do not hesitate to stop immediately if you feel any pain or discomfort while performing them.
1. Rotating Wrist and Forearm Stretch
Needless to say, Tennis demands a lot of movement from the wrist. It is therefore very important to strengthen and stretch the muscles around the wrist to ensure there is no pain or injury caused in the area.
Stretch your hands straight, parallel to the ground. Now slowly rotate your right wrist down and then rotate it outwards. Move your left arm to further rotate your right hand upwards. Hold and repeat on the other hand.
2. Assisted Reverse Chest and Shoulder Stretch
You will need a sturdy piece of furniture for this- a bed, study table or even a chair works. Stand straight, making sure your back faces the furniture.
Place your hands firmly on the edge of it, and when you are sure you have a good grip, slowly bend your arms at the elbows in such a way that your body lowers down towards the ground. This stretch will help relieve any pain or tightness in the neck and shoulder area.
3. Kneeling Heel-down Calf and Achilles Stretch
Stand firmly and establish your balance on the ground. Move your left feet forward and slowly shift your weight forward so that your entire weight is over the left knee. Find your balance.
Then, lean forward while making sure your heel rests on the ground. Relax and repeat on the other leg. Achilles is muscle present in the ankle. Stretching will not only stabilize the ankle but reduce foot pain or heel pain.
4. Elevated Hamstring Stretch
If all that standing made you want to lie down, here’s your chance. Lie flat on your back on a yoga mat with your legs stretched out. Now rest your left leg on a wall. Place your hand under the left knee and slowly bring the knee towards your chest and then straighten your leg. Hold the posture for 10-30 seconds and relax.
Repeat, and don’t forget to breathe correctly while stretching. Hamstrings are the most susceptible muscles to get injured. This stretch will help in loosening this much-used set of muscles, decreasing chances of tear and soreness.
5. The Spinal Twist
One of the most beloved and simple Yogasanas, this posture provides a top to bottom stretch to your entire spine, including your glutes, chest, lower back, and obliques. Lie on your back, with your legs straight and your arms extended at shoulder level, making a ‘T’ shape. Now slowly lift your right knee towards your chest while making sure your left leg, and your shoulder remains on the floor.
Slowly rotate your head to the right in such a way that you look over your right shoulder. Remain in the posture for as long as you are comfortable. Slowly return to the neutral position and repeat on the other side. This Yogasana is suitable to perform both before and after a game.
These stretches may add an extra 10-15 minutes to your daily pre-game routine but will undoubtedly make your performance painless and help you sustain in the game longer.
While preparing the body for stress, stretching improves mechanical efficiency of the body, increases range of motion (a welcome advantage in sports, especially Tennis), and by reducing post-performance pain, it will help you celebrate your victory!
Keep your body fit and healthy for your next match!