For tennis players, the dominant side is often strong and too tight, and the non-dominant side is weak or non-functional. These imbalances can create many possible future problems.?
If you are getting small aches and injuries in your knees, ankles, shoulders, lower back and other places, the chance is that your glutes and hips are not functioning properly, and you need to get them back in shape. Try these great glute exercises to strengthen your hips. They'll have you playing better tennis, injury-free.
Squats1 of 8
Stand straight with feet hip-width apart. You can squat without any weights, with weights in your hands or with a barbell on your shoulders. Imagine you have a chair far behind you and you want to reach it with your glutes. Start sinking low, keep your chest and head up, and stick your glutes out toward the imaginary chair. Do not round your back. Sink as deeply as you can, then push yourself up to standing position. On the top, squeeze your glutes for extra stimulation. Do 15 to 20 repetitions.
Lunges2 of 8
Keep your body straight and your head up. Take a large step forward, transferring the weight onto the front leg, putting the pressure toward the heel. Keep your back leg relaxed and sink as low as you can without your back knee touching the ground. Keep your torso erect and the center of gravity evenly distributed between the legs. Bring the back leg up. Then step forward with the opposite leg. Do 20 to 30 repetitions.
Monster Walk3 of 8
Put a rubber band around your ankles, get into a low stance, and start walking sideways. Keep the tension on the band at all times. Make sure your feet are parallel and that you don't drag your feet. Walk at least 20 steps one way, then 20 back.
Glute Bridges4 of 8
Lie down on the floor on your back, bend your legs and bring your feet close to your glutes. Push the glutes up toward the ceiling. Squeeze the glutes on the top of the movement. Repeat at least 20 times. To increase the difficulty, lift one leg off the ground and use just one leg for 15 to 20 repetitions, then switch sides. For another level of difficulty, add a weight plate on your hips or, if you're in a gym, put a heavy bar across your hips. Always squeeze the glutes on the top of the movement.
Stiff-Legged Deadlifts5 of 8
Stand straight and hold the weight(s) in your hands on the sides or in front of you. Think about hinging in your hips, not bending in your back. Now with a straight upper body and shoulder blades squeezed together, hinge at the hip and let the weights sink low in front of you, close to your legs. Keep your legs as straight as possible, feeling the hamstrings and glutes stretching. When you reach the bottom position, squeeze the glutes and hamstrings and raise yourself up in an explosive manner. Squeeze the glutes at the top of the movement. You can also do this exercise on one leg, where the other leg moves back and up behind your body, staying in one line with your upper body. Do 15 to 20 repetitions.
One-Leg Press6 of 8
Lie or sit down into a leg press machine and turn your body 45 to 90 degrees so you are on your side. Fold the bottom leg under you and put the upper leg on the leg press platform. Now start bending the leg and resist the weight with your glute muscles as much as you can. Pause at the bottom position, engage the glutes and push through the heel to lift the weight up in an explosive manner. Complete 15 to 20 repetitions.
Butt Kicks (or Butt Blasters)7 of 8
Go down on all fours, supporting yourself on your hands and knees. Lift one leg and kick it high up in the air behind you with your toes pointed down. Do at least 20 repetitions. You can add weight or a resistance band to your ankles. Alternatively, you can hook a cable machine to your ankle and push against the weight resistance.