The chest stretch is very simple and almost everybody is familiar with it:
- Stand sideways by a wall, a tree or a fence.
- Lift your arm up so that it is parallel to the ground.
- While holding on to your support, turn your body slowly away until you feel a good stretch in your chest.
- For a different feel in other areas of the chest, change the height of your hand.
Unfortunately, only a few tennis players are familiar with this other simple, yet extremely efficient stretching exercise: the rotator-cuff stretch. It is easy to perform after your tennis practice while you're cooling down and reflecting on your game.
- Lie down on the ground on your left side.
- Stretch your left arm forward 90 degrees from your body and bend it in the elbow with the forearm vertical to the ground.
- Grab the left wrist with your right hand and start gently pushing on it toward the ground.
- Maintain 90 degrees in your elbow, which means that your forearm should be parallel with your body.
- Continue applying steady pressure, breathe deeply and keep your left shoulder on the ground. You will feel a nice stretch in your rotator cuff.
- Hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds and then switch sides.
- You'll notice that your dominant arm is most probably tighter. Give it more attention until both sides become evenly loose.
Remember that stretching is one of the most neglected techniques for improving performance and avoiding injuries.
Don't underestimate the power of stretching. Include it into your training regimen on a daily basis and watch your fitness and your tennis game improve rapidly.
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