15/Love Vol. 2: Shoulder the Load

September 27, 2011
by Justin

When the ball stops, and the crowd gives you and your opponent a round of applause, you both have to walk to the center of the court and shake hands no matter what. That walk could be the most torturous steps of your life if you have just taken a loss.  Sportsmanship never comes easier than when you win, and in a sport so heavily based on individual performance, there is nothing like dominating the competition. Tennis is a sport in which you must be quick and nimble. In the history of the sport, there has never been a bodybuilder type dominating the tennis world. On the contrary, there is nothing more intimidating than a powerful foe. If you want to bring your tennis game to the next level, you need to have strong shoulders. Here are few workouts that can fortify your shoulders and complete your game.


Workout (Warm-up) #1: Medicine Ball Tennis

What you’ll need: A medicine ball and a workout partner

Before you workout like a champion, you must warm up like one. Be sure to stretch out your shoulders as much as you can. If you have access to the rubber workout bands, use them. Push-ups are also an effective warm up in preparation for this rigorous workout. The ultimate goal is to not tear a rotator cuff or generate any scar tissue. Your range of motion will be greatly affected if you are not careful so be as cautious as you can.

If you have the luxury of having a workout partner, get a medicine ball and play a short game of medicine ball tennis. This can be used as a warm up or a great way to end your full workout. Be sure to challenge each other by playing a few sets. The games should be played in front of the service line, and with someone of comparable skills. Use all throws of the medicine ball equally, incorporating overhand, underhand and sideway patterns. If you are warming up be sure to work each side equally and integrate squat throws, which are shown on the video.


Here is a video of the warm-up being completed; take notice to the variations at which both players change up their throws:




Workout #2: Medicine Ball Wall

What you’ll need: A medicine ball and a wall

Find a solid wall to throw your medicine ball against. Square your feet to the wall at least shoulder length apart. Your base is important in this workout and only should move when you are throwing the ball. Your leg that on the side that you are throwing with, should drop back on each throw also. Ultimately, you don’t want to throw out your back or strain anything in your core or shoulders. Be sure to use a medicine ball that you can handle with relative ease, and do your progression with high repetitions until fail. Tennis is a sport where timing and rhythm are imperative, so alternate after each throw for proper equilibrium in the exercise.


Here is a video of the workout; pay close attention to his base and the deliberate follow through on each throw:




Workout #3: Medicine Ball Serve

What you’ll need: A medicine ball and a wall

Do you want to Ace the competition? A great workout for your serve is the medicine ball serve exercise. The same wall that you were using for the last exercise will be sufficient for this workout. Position your feet in the placement in which you serve. Bring the medicine ball above your head and extend the ball forward as hard as you can, against the wall. Be sure to lean far back with each rep. Fire the ball and attempt to catch each attempt to continue seamlessly into the next rep, to maintain your rhythm.


Here is a video of the workout being completed; you will see every step done all in one motion:




Because of the high volume of these workouts, you must be sure to rest in between each exercise. Tennis is sport more based on endurance than brute strength, so be sure to use a lightweight medicine ball. My suggestion is to use nothing more than four pounds for each exercise. After the entire workout, ice and heat your shoulders, for optimum healing. If you have cold or hot tub access use them in 15 minute increments. This method will shock your system and cause your body to focus on any possible strain or injury. I know I say this all the time, but the most important thing you can do is have fun. At the end of the day, that’s all that counts.


Yorick Hempstead is an ex-college athlete who is a sports blogger for Scoutme.com. He is always talking sports on twitter @HempsteadHuddle. 

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