Tennis players need strong muscles to help power them through matches, but simply playing tennis doesn’t really make players stronger. We also need some strength training.
Introducing strength training into your workouts can seem pretty intimidating, but believe it or not, there are plenty of ways to ease into it. For one, you don’t have to jump straight into barbell work. Strength training also includes bodyweight exercises that can be enhanced with hand weights.
To help you narrow down your routine to the best beginner moves, Corey Phelps, nutrition expert, NASM personal trainer, certified BASI Pilates teacher, TRX and Spinning instructor, and creator of the fitness app Cultivate365 (in other words, Superwoman!), shared a strengthening workout that can help beginners master the fundamental movements.
Her biggest recommendation:
Keep it simple, start small, and build from there. If you do too much in the beginning, you may end up overly sore, which can be discouraging and ultimately hinder you from keeping a consistent schedule.
The workout below targets all of the major muscle groups and serves as a kind of guide to measure your progress. For the arm exercises, beginners should start with no heavier than 5-pound weights. Once you’re able to complete the workout with ease, you can move on to slightly heavier weights, starting with fewer reps.
- Walking lunges
- Shoulder presses
- Bicep curls
- Overhead triceps extensions
- Reverse abdominal crunches
Complete 10 to 12 reps for each move for a total of four sets. Not challenging enough? Increase your reps to 12 to 15 for a total of five sets.
- Stand straight up with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, with your hips, knees and ankles all aligned.
- Start the movement by inhaling as you unlock your hips, sending them back as your knees begin to bend.
- Make sure your chest and shoulders stay upright and that your back stays straight. Keep your head facing forward, looking straight ahead for a properly aligned spine. (Optimal squat depth is hips below the knees.)
- Engage your core and explode back up to standing, driving through your heels.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Start the movement by taking a step forward and lowering your body by flexing your hip and knee of the front leg until your back knee is just about to touch the ground and the heel is pointed up. Your thigh of your forward leg should be parallel to the ground.
- Push off the floor with your back leg and step your foot forward to meet your front foot.
- Repeat the movements, leading with the leg that was previously in the rear.
- Once you have done this leading with both legs, that is one rep.
- Begin standing with your feet hip-width apart, holding a weight in each hand, your arms bent to a 90-degree angle at shoulder height, and the palms of your hands facing forward.
- Now, exhale and push the wiehgts upward and overhead until they touch at the top.
- Slowly lower the weights back down to the starting position while inhaling.
- Stand up straight with a weight in each hand at arm’s length. Keep your elbows close to your sides and rotate the palms of your hands until they face forward.
- Keeping your upper arms stationary, exhale and curl the weights up while contracting your biceps. Continue raising the weights until your biceps are fully contracted and the weights are at shoulder level. Hold for a brief pause as you squeeze your biceps.
- Lower the weights back to the starting position.
OVERHEAD TRICEPS EXTENSION
- To begin, stand up straight with a weight held in each hand. Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart. Lift the weights overhead until both arms are fully extended, the palms of your hands facing up toward the ceiling.
- Keeping your upper arms close to your head with your elbows in and perpendicular to the floor, and lower the weights behind your head.
- Exhale as you press back to the starting position by using your triceps to raise the weights.
- Lie down on the floor with your legs fully extended and your arms at your side, with palms on the floor. (Your arms should be stationary for the entire exercise.)
- Keeping your knees together, lift your legs up so that your thighs are perpendicular to the floor and your knees are bent at 90-degree angles.
- While inhaling, use your core to pull your knees toward your chest. Move your legs toward your chest as you roll your pelvis back, raising your hips off the floor. Your knees should now be touching your chest.
- Hold for a second or two and move your legs back to the starting position while exhaling.