The No. 1 Exercise for More Powerful Tennis Strokes

Our modern day world has had major impact on the position of our bodies. When you're sitting at a desk, driving a car or watching TV, it's likely that your shoulders, arms and head are positioned forward and your lower and upper back are rounded.?

Years of this "forward" position can take its toll, causing a tight neck and shoulders as well as tension headaches. Our shoulders turn forward permanently, the chest muscles are shortened and the upper back muscles are weak.

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When you play tennis and hit thousands of forehands, backhands, volleys and serves during your practice, the movement of the arm originates in the shoulder. Since the position of your shoulders is more forward than it should be, you will experience stress on the shoulder joint every time you hit the ball. Over time, you can develop nagging pains and overuse injuries. Taking care of your imbalances now will help you avoid future pain and it will greatly lengthen your tennis career.

Channel Your Inner Cat and Dog

Our bodies work their best when the posture is erect, with a slightly arched back, a curvature in the neck and a head positioned directly over the shoulders. The shoulders are aligned over the hips, which are directly above the knees, and they are directly above the ankles.

Without this ideal position you're at risk of putting additional and unnecessary stress on your joints during? athletic endeavors.

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The so-called "cats and dogs" exercise will establish the proper position of your shoulders and back, and make your spine more flexible and supple. It's a simple exercise that you can be done just about anywhere and as often as you want.

The exercise will keep your shoulders healthy, improve your posture and prevent tension headaches and other problems. On the tennis court, a flexible spine will allow for better upper body rotation and your shots will be more powerful.

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Functional shoulders reduce the risk of injury and you will be able to train hard and improve your tennis game at steady pace. Do "cats and dogs" regularly, and watch your tennis game improve.

The Cats and Dogs Exercise

Your goal should be to adjust your posture to stay more straight and "backward" regularly. This exercise works your spine, hips, neck and shoulders in coordinated flexion and extension, and loosens up the stiff back, neck, and shoulders. Depending on your lifestyle, and how much you sit, you may need to do this exercise several times per day.

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Get down on your hands and knees, keep your weight evenly distributed, and align your hands, shoulders, hips, knees and feet in one line.

Visualize a happy doggie: take a deep breath and lift your tail (hips) and your head high up, while arching your lower back as much as you can.

powerful tennis strokes exercises

Now visualize a smooth cat: breathe out and round your back as much as you can while dropping your hips and head low. The middle of your back should be at its highest point, creating a pleasant stretch across your back.

Keep repeating the arching and rounding movement in a smooth continuous motion for 20 to 30 repetitions while breathing deeply. It will make you feel limber and energized.

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About the Author

Suzanna McGee

Suzanna McGee is a Ms. Natural Olympia bodybuilding champion and athletic trainer with a focus on sport conditioning and injury prevention. Visit TennisFitnessLove.com to learn more.

Suzanna McGee is a Ms. Natural Olympia bodybuilding champion and athletic trainer with a focus on sport conditioning and injury prevention. Visit TennisFitnessLove.com to learn more.

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