Stretching after your tennis practice has enormous benefits. If you play on the hard courts a lot, the muscles and joints get a lot of beating. A thorough stretch afterwards will lengthen the tight and overused muscles and recreate balance between the left and right side of your body. Remember that you don’t want to do any static stretching before your practice; rather perform dynamic and ballistic movements that produce better results in speed, strength and power movements. Here is a sample of a dynamic workout to review, and the difference between static and dynamic stretching.
After your tennis practice, focus on all the major muscle groups with a center of attention on the hips. You can include as many stretches as you wish, or you can follow this example of an efficient stretching routine. It will take about 20 minutes to complete. You can hold the stretches longer if you wish.
- Child pose – kneel on the ground, sit on your heels, lean forward and rest your upper body on your thighs, arms and head on the ground, and relax. Feel how all the tension from your hip-flexors, thighs, low back and shoulder lets go.
- Glute stretch – hold it for 2 minutes.
- Hamstring stretch – remember that if you do this stretch regularly, you will be surprised how deep you can eventually go.
- Kneeling quadriceps stretch
- Lying groin stretch – one of the more comfortable ones, yet very important. Hold it for at least 2 minutes. Don’t force, just relax.
- Seated groin stretch – you can move your body to one leg or the other for different feel.
- Seated external hip stretch – stretches the outside of the hip, and the hamstring and calf of the other leg. Hold it for at least 1 minute. Don’t resist the feeling of discomfort, breathe and relax.
- Hip crossover stretch – not as painful but can reveal some imbalances of the left and right side.
- Crocodile stretch – harder than it seems.
- Spinal twist – one of more comfortable stretches, yet very beneficial.
- External rotator cuff – every tennis player should do this stretch regularly.
- Wheel – an extreme stretch for the daring and flexible. Once you are able to do it, it will feel really great because it opens all the front side of your body – a movement that we do very seldom.
Be disciplined in creating this new habit of static stretching after each tennis practice. It could be the most important 20 minutes in your tennis fitness and longevity.