Top Six Exercises for Better Tennis Play

Use these off-court drills to strengthen your on-court game. Incorporate simple strength and agility exercises to make you stronger, faster and more flexible for your next match.

1. Basic Bench Press

The bench press is a classic compound exercise that isolates the shoulders, chest, forearms and grip, all of which can help create a killer serve and power with your strokes. As a bonus, this movement will create stability in the upper body that can prevent injury. Try three sets of 10 with a weight that’s appropriate for your fitness level.

Benefits: shoulder, chest, triceps, forearm and grip strength

2. Standard Squat

To address the lower body, the squat is king. Like the bench press, the squat is a compound movement, but it focuses on the hips, quads, glutes and core all in one efficient motion. This will help produce more power from the legs and core for your strokes while giving you a stable base for running on the court. Try three sets of 10 with a weight that’s appropriate for your fitness level.

Benefits: quad, hip and core strength and stability

3. Classic Wood Chop

This is the best twisting core exercise around, which is particularly important for tennis players. Forehand, backhand and serves all rely on strong, supple, flexible core muscles and spine. But sit-ups won’t cut it. To create truly dynamic strength and stability, master the wood chop. Try three sets of 10 with a weight that’s appropriate for your fitness level.

Benefits: oblique, shoulder and grip strength, plus spinal flexible and stability

4. Skater Hops

This exercise is great practice for moving laterally from one leg to the other with ease and explosiveness. Unlike the static strength exercises, this movement engages the lower body while in motion. This pattern mimics the unpredictability of playing a live match. In addition, you get the added benefit of some light cardiovascular training. Try three sets of 30 seconds.

Benefits: lower body speed, explosiveness, and agility

5. Fast Feet

Fast feet, like other footwork drills, is dedicated to increasing your speed and reaction time. When playing tennis, sometimes the difference between winning or losing a point is a matter of inches. This movement will help you get to the ball quicker and react faster. Try three sets of 30 seconds.

Benefits: increased speed and reaction time

6. Shoulder Rotation

This mobility drill uses a simple PVC pipe to work on your shoulder rotation and flexibility. While you won’t use this exact motion during a match, it will keep your shoulders and wrists healthy and happy so you can play for longer and avoid injury and soreness. Try three sets of 10 rotations.

Benefits: shoulder, wrist, and hand mobility

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