In tennis, you need to start quickly, accelerate, stop, change direction, load and unload your legs and hips and for all this you need to strengthen your feet, hips and core. The modern tennis with the open stance forehand causes the right hip (for the right-handed player) to absorb huge forces during the loading and unloading phase of the stroke production. The repetitive nature of tennis works the right hip repeatedly and it is very common that you develop imbalances: overactive and tight right hip, and weak left hip, which often doesn’t fire. (the neuro-muscular connection is lost).
When the gluteus muscles in the hip get weak, other supporting structures such as hamstrings or lower back need to help during the movement and they get overused and tight. Weak glutes can also cause knee problems. When the running mechanics are not correct, (fore example the weak glutes make the knees buckle in) then each step you take, there are increased forces on your joints in your knees, feet, or hips, which over time leads to overuse injuries.
It is obvious that we have to pay attention to our glutes. One of the simplest exercises to execute is the tube walking, also known as monster walk. You don’t need any gym equipment and you can do it anywhere, anytime. You will feel a big difference in your movement on the court after only a few sessions with your rubber band.
Tube Walking aka Monster Walk Sideways
Place the rubber band around your ankles. Get into the athletic position with bent knees, neutral lower back and looking forward.
Start walking sideways maintaining a posture with bent knees. If you are strong, you can get even deeper. Open your stance wide and keep good tension on the band. Step out to the side with one foot and then step in with the other foot, without dragging it on the ground.
Make sure that your knees are always aligned in one line from the hips over the feet and the feet are pointing forward. If your glutes are very weak, the knees tend to buckle in to compensate. Don’t let them!
Walk 20-30 steps one way, and then return to the starting position working the opposite hip. If you want to increase the difficulty, put the band around your feet instead of the ankles.
Monster Walk Forward and Backward
In the same athletic position and the band either around your ankles or feet, widen your stance and start walking forward with small steps, about 3-6 inches. Make sure your hips and chest are facing forward, don’t rotate your entire pelvis while you walk. After 20-30 steps, reverse the movement and walk backwards. Your glutes should be on fire by now!
Pay attention to your body and learn to observe how it feels after your tennis practice. Is your lower back tight or sore? How about the hamstrings? Are your adductors (inside of the thighs) shortened? There is a big chance that your glutes are weak and/or not connecting. Pull out your band and do your monster walk. You will become strong and pain-free really fast, and your tennis game will follow and improve surprisingly a lot.
I like to shop online and I like the quality of Power-system’s products so I get my bands here at powersystems.com. If you like to go shopping, you can find the bands in many forms in any sport store of your choice, or on Amazon.com.
Two Enemies of Success in Training and Life
We all have ideas what we want to do and achieve — in life or on the tennis court. Often, we feel like we don’t have time to work on our goals now, or we still need to do something first, or we have to learn more how to do it. This thinking stops us from achieving. There will never be a good time to start. The time is now. You can do just a little bit at this moment, and another little bit tomorrow. If you keep doing this, suddenly you realize how far you have reached.
Do you want to become more flexible? (I hope you said “yes”). Do you want to get faster or stronger? Or you need to lose some weight? Your objection may be that you don’t have extra 3 hours a day to go to workout, then run and stretch and then eat a healthy meal. Well, start small. Do just one round of the monster walk, it’s 5 minutes. Stretch 5 minutes while watching the news on the TV. Eat a few apples and vegetables (5 minutes). If you do this every day, you will be amazed how far you will reach if you stick with it! Get inspired by these great words by Napoleon Hill:
This is one of the most common causes of failure. “Old Man Procrastination” stands within the shadow of every human being, waiting his opportunity to spoil one’s chances of success. Most of us go through life as failures, because we are waiting for the “time to be right” to start doing something worthwhile. Do not wait. The time will never be “just right.” Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.
LACK OF PERSISTENCE
Most of us are good “starters” but poor “finishers” of everything we begin. Moreover, people are prone to give up at the first signs of defeat. There is no substitute for PERSISTENCE. The person who makes PERSISTENCE his watch-word, discovers that “Old Man Failure” finally becomes tired, and makes his departure. Failure cannot cope with PERSISTENCE.
If you have been around my newsletters for a while, you may be familiar with the Tennis Forehand Solution program that my friend and exceptional tennis pro Jeff Salzenstein created. It helped me and many players improve our forehands dramatically. Jeff has been working on his Tennis Serve Secrets program and released it a few days ago.
Jeff had one of the biggest, nastiest left handed serves on the tour and even hit a 136 mph serve in the BNP Paribas Open at the age of 32 (like a fine wine, he is aging well!). His serve also helped him break the top 100 for the first time at the age of 30.
If you feel like you struggle with your serve, or you need to make some final improvements for it to be a real bomb, you may want to check out Jeff’s newest program on serving. You will discover the big ideas and proven serve lessons that work with all of his personal students giving them super fast results. Jeff has 100% money back warranty if you feel like you haven’t been helped. I just hope I won’t play against you in the future!
A picture is worth a thousand words 🙂
If you enjoyed this newsletter, feel free to forward it to your friends or post it on your Facebook wall.