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Tennis warm ups: the best exercises and tips to avoid injury
When summer gets going and the Wimbledon Championships start, tennis courts fill up across the country with people inspired to dust their rackets off and hit the court. As a result, we see a spike in clients coming to the Beyond Health sports physio clinic in Parson Green, London, with shoulder, back and leg injuries that need sorting out.
Tennis is a high-octane sport, full of short sprints and vigorous movements, so to help you prepare for your games, sets and matches, and help lessen the chances of injury, here’s our guide to the best tennis warm ups.
This may seem like a strange bit of pre-match advice, but warm ups need to replicate the kinds of movements you’ll be doing once you get going. Standing around stretching is too static to be of use before a tennis match.
It’s better to do movement preparation and get your body moving in the way that it will on court. Do dynamic tennis warm up exercises such as lunges, shuttles and rotator cuff warm ups.
Hit some balls
Once your body is warm, make sure you don’t cut corners on hitting some practice balls with your opponent to get your hand-eye co-ordination going – a vital part of any tennis prep.
Dehydration makes injuries much more likely, so ensure drinking plenty of water and electrolytes is part of your match prep and warm routine – and have enough to keep you going as you play. This is especially important when the heat is on in the summer. Refuelling properly afterwards is also important as you seek to maintain your physical health and avoid injury.
Finally, it is important when playing any sport to be mentally prepared to play at your best. Make mental preparation part of your pre-match routine in whichever way works best for you, whether that means visualising the shots you want to play, doing some mindful exercises or engaging in a bit of self-talk. Getting yourself into the zone will help you get ready for what’s to come.
Even with the most thorough of warm up routines, tennis injuries can still happen and shoulder issues are among the most common. Read our blog on the different types of shoulder injury, including information on symptoms, treatments and recovery times.