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Best Strength Exercises for Tennis Players

Best Strength Exercises for Tennis Players

Reading Time: 5 minutes 32 seconds


DATE: 2024-03-11

Tennis is an intense sport that produces a variety of physical and mental benefits. To maximize performance on the tennis court players must prioritize strength training exercises. This will boost their tennis game and prevent injuries. In this article, you will learn the best exercises for tennis players. Ones that focus on improving core strength, upper and lower body strength, and overall muscle strength.

Top 5 Exercises for Tennis Players

Tennis players require a unique combination of strength, endurance, and agility. Building muscle strength through weight training can significantly enhance power and stability. Some of the best strength exercises for tennis players mimic the movements made during a tennis match. Not just weightlifting exercises, but functional movements.

Med Ball Slams

One of the most recommended strength training exercises for tennis players is the medicine ball slam. This exercise engages the core muscles and enhances a player's power. This improves many performance traits including groundstrokes and serves. It also strengthens the rotator cuff, which reduces the risk of tennis elbow. This is a common injury among players. 

How to perform:

1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold the medicine ball at chest level.

2. Explosively raise the ball overhead, fully extend your arms and engage your core.

3. Forcefully slam the ball down to the ground in front of you, use your entire body to generate power.

4. Catch the rebound and repeat the exercise for the desired number of repetitions.

Lunge with Rotation

Another effective exercise is the lunge with a twist. This exercise improves lower body strength and endurance. The rotation is crucial for improving rapid lateral movements. It also indirectly helps with footwork drills on the tennis court by engaging the core. This leads to better balance and stability.

How to perform: 

1. Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart, hold a medicine ball in front of your chest.

2. Take a step forward with your right leg, rotate your torso to the right and extend your arms to the same side.

3. Lower your body into a lunge position until your front knee is bent at a 90-degree angle.

4. Push through your front heel to return to the starting position, and repeat on the opposite side.

Push-ups and Pull-ups 

Upper body strength is also vital for a tennis player. Push-ups and pull-ups are excellent exercises. They will strengthen the arms, shoulders, and chest muscles. These exercises are essential for powerful serves and ground strokes, and for preventing injuries.

How to perform Push-Ups:

1. Begin in a plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.

2. Lower your body to the ground, keep your core engaged, and elbows close to your sides.

3. Push back up to the starting position, extend your arms fully.

4. Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions, maintaining a straight line from head to toe throughout the exercise.

How to perform Pull-Ups:

1. Find a pull-up bar and grasp it with an overhand grip, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.

2. Hang from the bar with your arms fully extended, engage your core muscles.

3. Pull yourself up towards the bar by squeezing your shoulder blades together and bending your elbows.

4. Lower your body back down with control, fully extend your arms, and repeat.

Goblet Squat

Goblet squats are a fundamental lower body exercise. Not only do they target the leg muscles. In addition to the glutes, quads and hamstrings, they also incorporate the core. This is a well-rounded exercise for tennis players. 

How to perform: 

1. Hold a medicine ball close to your chest with both hands, stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.

2. Start the squat by bending your knees and pushing your hips back, keep your chest up and core engaged.

3. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the ground, maintain a neutral spine.

4. Drive through your heels to return to the starting position, and repeat the goblet squat.

Why is Strength Training Important for Tennis Players Performance?

When it comes to excelling in the world of tennis, efficiency of shots important as well as versatility on the court. The physical demands of the game require tennis players to possess a strong and well-conditioned body. That's where strength training comes into play. 

Performance and Explosive Movements

This helps with strength and agility. Incorporating a structured strength training program into a tennis player's routine has a huge impact on overall performance and success on the court. Tennis is a dynamic sport and demands explosive movements. This involves quick change of direction and powerful shots. 

Strength training helps to develop the power and explosiveness necessary to generate this force. By engaging in exercises that target the major muscle groups: legs, core, and upper body, tennis players maximize strength and explosive power. This allows for more forceful serves, faster court coverage, and the ability to recover quickly in matches.

Learn more: Agility Training for Tennis Players

Injury Prevention

Tennis players are prone to numerous injuries, especially those related to overuse and repetitive motions. Strength training plays a crucial role in injury prevention by strengthening muscles, tendons, and ligaments. 

By improving overall body strength and stability, you reduce the risk of common tennis-related injuries. These include tennis elbow, shoulder impingement, and lower back pain. Additionally, a well-rounded strength training program can address muscular imbalances, improve flexibility, and promote better body mechanics.


Tennis matches can be tough and physically demanding, often lasting for hours. Building endurance is vital for tennis players to maintain a high level of performance for an entire match. 

Strength training, when combined with cardiovascular exercise, helps to improve muscular endurance. This increases aerobic capacity. By performing exercises that focus on both strength and cardiovascular fitness, tennis players can enhance their stamina. This improves their cardio for long rallies in the match.

How Strength Training Promotes Injury Prevention

Strength training is a crucial component of any fitness regimen. It is not just for building muscle, but for injury prevention as well. It plays a crucial role in tennis, where the main goal of the game leads to repetitive use injuries. This causes immense strain on specific muscle groups. Strength training can help strengthen muscle groups that are underused in tennis. This leads to better conditioning of muscles that are used often.

For instance, tennis elbow, which is a form of tendonitis in the elbow, is a common tennis-related injury. It's caused by repetitive use of the forearm muscles, which results in inflammation and pain. Specific strength training exercises targeting these muscles can help prevent this condition:

  • Wrist curls

  • Reverse wrist curls

  • Forearm pronation and supination 

Shoulder injuries are also common in tennis. This is true due to the overhead actions like serving and smashing. Exercises that strengthen the rotator cuff muscles can help prevent various shoulder injuries:

  • Overhead press

  • Lateral raises

  • Internal and external rotations

Lower body injuries, such as ankle sprains and knee issues, are another common issue. This is usually caused by repetitive quick, multidirectional movements. Strength training can not only strengthen the muscles supporting these joints but also improve balance and proprioception. This in turn reduces the risk of inefficient landings. Landing wrong or simply moving incorrectly causes injury. To reduce these injuries, focus on exercises that improve lower body strength and stability:

  • Squats

  • Lunges

  • Calf raises

  • Single-leg balance drills 

Expand Your Fitness Expertise 

In the competitive world of tennis, strength training is an essential component of a player's training regimen. Boosting power and explosiveness, preventing injuries and increasing endurance is vital. The benefits of strength training for tennis players are incredible. A custom strength training program enables athletes to elevate their game to new heights. Whether you're a professional or an amateur player, don't neglect strength training to enhance your performance on the tennis court.

If you're a tennis player looking to take your game to the next level, check out ISSA's Performance Enhancement course. This course is also perfect for personal trainers ready to expand their expertise and training business. ISSA’s Performance Enhancement course provides knowledge on strength, injury prevention, speed, and agility training for all athletes.

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