- Strengthen your core muscles (and not just your six pack muscles, but all of the muscles that make up the core.)
- Strengthen your shoulder muscles and this includes the rotator cuff muscles as well.
- Strengthen your posterior chair, Ie: your glutes hamstrings and lower back.
Lets start with number one.
Your core muscles are involved in just about everything you do, so by strengthening these muscles you’ll be improving your whole game.
Most people only focus on the six-pack muscles however this is a mistake as the core is made up of rectus abdominis, external oblique, transversus abdominis, and the internal oblique.
In this article how to improve your serve in three easy steps I’m going to talk about the transverses abdominis because most people do not have sufficient strength in this area.
The transverses abdominis is responsible for helping to support the spine and fortunately is very easy to train.
Stomach vacuums are a great way to train the transverses abdominis, to do them simply stand with your hands on your hips and try and pull your stomach in a much and as far as your can.
Hold for a count and relax.
The best time to do these is on an empty stomach (so as to facilitate and further pulling in of the stomach.)
Build up (slowly) to doing 10-20 of these vacuums every-other day.
On to number 2!
The shoulders are used a lot in everyday life and a ton on the tennis court, so this is why they make the list.
One thing I will never understand is way so many people do bench presses, reason being is that they tighten the shoulders (which is not good for any sport not just tennis) and they are hard on the rotator cuff muscles.
However, do not despair there is a very suitable alternative which is the over head press.
These can be done either with dumbbells or a barbell; I prefer to do mine with dumbbells as they are easier on the shoulders.
It is beyond the scope of this article to lay out how they are properly done, however by simply doing a search in your favorite search engine or in exercise books at your favorite bookstore you will be able to find out how to do them right.
But before we move on to number 3 I want to highlight why I am a big fan of this exercise.
First they work the muscles of the rotator cuff which is great, and they work all three heads of the shoulders.
Plus they work the upper back and triceps.
Not to mention holding a heavy weight overhead builds strength is every muscle of your body.
Which is why I like to hold the last rep of each set for around 8 seconds to take advantage of this effect and while you’re holding the weight above your head, do not simply hold it there?
Continue to push up in the barbell or dumbbells as this works even more muscles of the upper back.
On to number 3!
Your posterior chain, the glutes and hamstrings, and I like to include the lower back into this group.
What does this group of muscles do? And why did I include it in how to improve your tennis serve in three easy steps?
Training them will make your more explosive and this is excellent for any athlete.
Plus training the hamstrings is great because most people have an imbalance between the quads and the hamstrings the result being a lot of hamstring pulls, which take forever to heal.
The best exercise for strengthening the posterior chain is the stiff legged dead lift.
This is an excellent exercise, but I must give you a word of warning the name is misleading, never and I mean never do them with locked knees.
Always keep your knees soft.
If you lock your knees you could hurt of lower back.
Also, keep your head up during the movement and keep the bar close to your body, do not allow the bar to drift away from your body.
Basically the bar should be gently brushing your legs all the way up your body.
This exercise works the hamstrings, lower back, glutes, abs, upper back, grip, shoulders and biceps.
All-in-all you will find that it will give you a great workout, oh and one more tip for both the overhead press and the stiff legged dead lifts keep your reps low at first around 5 per set until you learn the form really good.
Most people think that using lighter weights and higher reps is good. Sure it is when you know how to do the particular exercise, however when you are just starting out keep your reps low and do more sets if you feel you need more work..