Tennis is a great way to stay active while indulging in some friendly competition. Unfortunately, improperly preparing for matches can result in players suffering injuries in areas like the elbows or ankles during play. These essential stretches to do before playing tennis can help you stay healthy and safe during each game.
Jumping jacks need no introduction. This combination of jumps and stretches isn’t just popular in the sports industry, but also in high school gym class. The reason people tend to learn this stretch at such a young age is that it’s great for strengthening the muscles and preparing your body for physical activities. Doing sets of jumping jacks prior to tennis matches is a popular way to get a player’s heart pumping and their body used to the motions they’ll be doing repeatedly on the court.
Lunges are a popular go-to activity for preparing your legs and hips for various sports—tennis is no exception. This stretch involves planting your right foot in front of you, bending it while stretching your left leg behind you. The name lunge comes from the fact it looks like you’re lunging forward when doing this warm-up, though you don’t want to lunge too far forward.
From here, there are a couple of directions to go. You can do the standing lunge, which involves holding that position for about 15 seconds before switching leg positions. On the other hand, you can speed it up a bit and switch legs every five seconds. Both options are effective, so which type of lunge you do ultimately depends on your personal comfort level.
Your shoulders play a key role in tennis matches, so ensuring they get a good stretch before each game is key. The perfect way to prepare your shoulders is with arm circles. As the name suggests, this activity involves standing straight and stretching your arms out from-side-to-side, forming a T-pose. Once in position, you’ll begin rotating your arms, as though you’re drawing invisible circles in the air. Every 15 to 20 seconds, shift directions, swapping from frontward to backward and vice versa for a minute or two. These circular motions will help you remain flexible and agile on the court.
Although these are some of the essential stretches to do before playing tennis, there’s a wide array of warm-up exercises you can try. Other great warm-up exercises for tennis include shoulder rolls and light jogging. Doing these stretches is one of the most important ways to avoid common tennis injuries. Although some injuries are common in tennis, that doesn’t mean you can’t successfully avoid them with the right preparation.