Health & Wellbeing - Stretching Exercises

Stretching exercises are important in prevention of injury. The exercises should never be painful, but you should feel an uncomfortable stretch. The following 10 stretching exercises, set out below are designed to stretch the relevant muscles groups for tennis.

Ideally you should arrive 15-20 minutes or so before the game is due to start, or if you prefer, do the exercises at home just before leaving for your game.

Start with a light jog around the court or running on the spot, for 5- 10 minutes to raise the body temperature.

Stretching routine includes:

  1. Calf Stretches
  2. Hamstring stretches - Back of thigh muscles
  3. Quadriceps muscles - Front of thigh muscles
  4. Inner thigh stretches
  5. Shoulder stretches (1)
  6. Pectoral Stretches - Muscles across front of chest and shoulder
  7. Shoulder stretches (2)
  8. Trunk side bends
  9. Trunk back bends
  10. Trunk Rotations

Repeat each stretch three times to each side as applicable.

1. Calf

 Stand facing wall or fence, one foot in front of the other. Back knee straight, press that heel into ground and hold for 4 seconds, release pressure on heel but keep it on the ground and stretch forwards bending front knee and hips forwards. At full extent of stretch, gently bend the back knee keeping the heel down at all times and hold the ‘stretched’ position for 10 seconds as able. Relax, repeat stretch.

2. Hamstring  

Stand feet hip width apart. Gently bend forwards pointing finger tips towards left foot letting head drop down. Keep knee straight care with your lower back. Hold for 10 – 30 seconds as able.

Straighten up fully between each stretch. Repeat stretching right leg, work each leg alternatively, remember straighten up in between!

3. Front of thigh

Stand by fence so you can hold on for balance. Bend one knee behind and clasp ankle with hand. Push ankle gently into hand and hold for 4 seconds, relax and gently stretch front of thigh by bringing knee down and back and keeping body upright. Hold for 10 -30 seconds as able. Repeat 3 times, then other leg 3 times.

4. Inner thigh stretch

Stand feet well apart. Bend left knee about a quarter and hold position, gently press right foot into ground and hold for 4 seconds, relax and feel the stretch along the right inner thigh. Hold for 10 -30 seconds. Repeat 3 times, then other leg.

5. Shoulder (1)

Stand feet apart hands clasped and fingers interlaced. Reverse hand position maintaining grip (palms now face away from the body). Raise arms over head – bringing them back as far as possible. Hold for10 – 30 seconds as able. Repeat 3 times.

6. Pectoral muscles

Stand feet apart, right side to wall or fence. Place palm of right hand to wall/fence elbow straight and at about shoulder height. Contract, by pressing palm into wall/fence and hold for 4 seconds. Relax and rotate body gently away from wall/fence and arm as far as able (you will feel a stretch across front of shoulder) hold for 10 – 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times, and then repeat same with left shoulder.

7. Shoulder (2)

Stand feet apart. Hands clasped with fingers interlaced behind body. Extend arms backwards and upwards keeping body upright. Hold for 10 – 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

8. Trunk side bends

Stand feet apart, left arm by side, right arm stretched over head. Side bend to left side and hold for 10 – 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

Repeat to right side with right arm by right side and left arm overhead.

9. Trunk back bends

Place hands on hips. Bend body backwards to arch spin, gently letting head go back with the movement. Hold for 10 seconds, relax. Come upright, repeat 3 times.

10. Trunk rotations

Stand feet apart. Interlace fingers and bring arms up to chest level, elbows bent. Rotate body to right and hold for 10 seconds, then to left and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 3 times each side.

Enjoy your game!


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