How to Strengthen Muscles for Tennis

How to Strengthen Muscles for Tennis

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Work out in the gym before taking your racket to the court.

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Playing tennis well requires a combination of speed, strength and finesse. To build your strength, perform high-repetition resistance exercises that will firm up your body and increase your muscular endurance. Avoid heavy-weight, low-rep activities that can bulk you up and reduce your agility on the court. Strengthening your muscles can help you hit firmer groundstrokes and add zip to your serves. You can also improve your foot speed by strengthening your legs and core muscles, letting you chase down more shots and keep the ball in play.


Perform leg extensions and curls to target your quads and hamstrings, respectively. The same machine can typically be used for both exercises. Do presses on a leg-press machine to work your quadriceps and glutes. Do Standing calf raises -- on a machine or on the floor while holding dumbbells -- to strengthen your calves. Use hip abduction and adduction machines -- or a cable machine with a low pulley you can attach to your ankle -- to strengthen the muscles around your hips and upper thighs.


Work out your core by performing a variety of moves to work the abs, such as standard crunches for which you lie on your back and lift your head, shoulders and upper back off the floor. Also include bicycle crunches, for which you lift your legs, twist your torso and try to touch your elbow to your opposite knee as you ascend. The Russian twist is another type of crunch, for which you extend your arms in front of your chest and twist your torso laterally as you ascend. Perform extensions on a back-extension bench to work your lower back.


Target your upper body by doing bench or machine chest presses to strengthen your pectoralis muscles. Further strengthen your chest by doing prone horizontal abductions, or reverse flys, by lying face down on a bench with your toes on the floor and lifting dumbbells from below your shoulders up to your sides. Attach a lat bar to a high pulley and perform lat pulldowns to work the latissimus dorsi in your back. Use a seated-row machine or attach a bar to a low pulley to perform rows to strengthen your back. Perform biceps curls and triceps extensions with free weights to build your upper-arm muscles. Use a shrug machine or hold free weights in front of you to do shoulder shrugs. Do lateral raises with dumbbells for additional shoulder work.


  • Warm up before you work out by doing five to 10 minutes of light cardio exercise. Perform dynamic stretches of all the muscles you'll target during your session.
  • Do a 10-rep warm-up set of each exercise, using 50 percent of your standard weight load. For your remaining sets, use sufficient weight to make the final reps challenging. Perform 20 reps of your crunch variations and 10 to 15 reps of your remaining exercises.


  • Consult a physician before starting a new exercise routine, especially if you've been inactive or have any health issues. Stop performing an exercise if you feel pain.