If you find yourself all fired up to play tennis after watching Wimbledon, let me remind you to warm up before you rally. Watching elite athletes can be really deceptive. They lunge, jump, and volley with such ease, but this is one game that can be hard on your body. One way to prevent injuries is to warm up properly. Here are a few things I think you should do before jumping onto the court with your racquet.
- First you want to prime your heart and lungs for all the running, bouncing, and sprinting you will be doing on the court. Jog for five to ten minutes to get your blood flowing. Your body should feel warm. I follow this with a minute or two of small jumps, like I'm working out with a fake jump rope. Then do a few grapevines the length of the court to prime your fancy footwork and wake up your coordination.
- Walking lunges are a great way to prepare your legs for tennis. This move simultaneously lengthens and activates muscles in your legs, priming them for the court. Follow these with some side lunges too, to warm up your reach.
- Twisting is the major action of the torso when hitting the ball. This standing twist stretch is easy to do against the fence of the court. Follow with some basic twisting from side to side to lubricate the joints in the back. You can try this with your racquet tucked under your arms, behind your back.
- Warming up your shoulders is essential. To do this, move your arms as if you're doing the backstroke, circling your arms overhead slowly at first and building up speed for 20 repetitions. Follow this by clapping your hands in front and in back of your body. Then pick up your racquet and hit some forehands and backhands with the cover still on the racquet to create some resistance. I do about 10 to 15 of each stroke.
What else should you do? Find out when you read more.
You should be primed and ready to play after completing this warm-up. Remember to get to the court early so you can prepare your body before you start to play. Don't forget to stretch afterward either. Game on!