The Best Ways to Strengthen for Golf and Tennis
Summer is upon is. This is great news if you love to play golf or prefer tennis outside.
Yet, winter may have left your muscles and joints a bit unprepared for the onslaught of the now unfamiliar actions these two sports require.
As such, we’ll look at some of the most effective ways to strengthen for golf and tennis enthusiasts.
Why You Need to Strengthen for Golf and Tennis
No matter what sport calls to you, it’s important to strengthen the body. When the muscles are strong, they better support and protect the more delicate fascia and joints beneath.
As we mentioned above, the long months of winter may have left your body a bit sluggish. Going right back into tennis or golf could leave you with an injury that’ll take you off the course or court before you even finish your game!
Even if you were active, there’s a chance that many of the movements found in golf and tennis were not emulated in the exercises you did over the winter.
This is not the case with Pilates, however. There are MANY movements in Pilates that help prepare the body for the months of tennis and golf that lie ahead. So what are some exercises you can do to get started? Unless otherwise instructed, each of the following exercises should be done as three sets each with ten repetitions in each set.
Core stability is the name of the game with this first set of exercises that focus on the abs and glutes.
For the first part, you’ll need a physio ball (also known as a stability ball). Begin on your back, knees bent and feet on the floor. Put the ball between your hands and knees and press your hands into the ball. You’re attempting to keep the elbows straight and hold there for five seconds. Release.
If you were good with the above, you can move to a posterior pelvic tilt. While still on the floor, you’ll imprint your lower back into the floor by tilting the pelvis and engaging the muscles of the core. As above, hold for five seconds and release your spine slowly back to the neutral position.
To advance from there, return to the above pelvic tilt and now lift the legs into a table top position (which hips and knees each at 90 degrees). Without losing that imprinted spine, slowly lower one leg and tap the heel. Lift it back up and do the same on the other side. Repeat 15 times for each leg.
Both tennis and golf rely heavily on the shoulders. So the last thing you want is a partial or full rotator cuff tear. Strengthening the shoulder requires attention to both external and internal rotation.
For external rotation, tie a resistance band to a stable object and stand sideways next to the object. Take the resistance band into the hand farthest from the object and place a rolled towel under your arm. Keep your elbow bent at 90 degrees with the hand on the chest and slowly rotate the forearm outward until your hand and elbow are in line. Return to the starting point.
For internal rotation, it’s the same action except the hand is straight in front of the shoulder rather than on the chest. Slowly rotate the forearm toward the chest and then return it to in line with the elbow.
Every one loves to squat. Not. Regardless of your stance though, squats are a powerful exercise for building up strength in the knees and quads.
To keep it simple, you can start in a chair, sitting at the edge of the seat so that your knees are directly over your feet. Stand up until the legs come straight, then sit back down. You’re trying to do this without using your hands but at first, you may need them.
Once that no longer feels challenging, you can move onto squats. Keep your feet shoulder-width distance apart and hands directly in front of your shoulders. Rather than bending the knees to start, begin by hinging your hips back and then bending the knees so they stay behind the toes. Rise back up.
You can start working the hips and knees with a movement known as clamshell.
Lying on your back with knees bent, place a resistance band around both legs just above the knees. With the feet hip width distance apart, slowly press one knee out to the side while the other knee remains aimed toward the ceiling. After finishing your sets and repetitions on the one side, switch to the other.
Side-lying clamshell is the next progression where you roll onto your side, still with the band, and then rotate the top leg toward the ceiling and then back down to the leg on the floor. Pay attention to the core to keep the trunk stable.
Meanwhile, to work your hip abductors, come to standing and place the feet hip width distance apart. Keeping both hips pointing straight forward, slowly lift one leg directly out to the side and slowly lower. To increase the challenge you can do this same move with a light resistant band just above the knees.
Finally, to add another challenge, keep the band placed around the knees, engage the core, and bend the knees. Staying low, begin to side step to one side with control – keeping the feet from fully coming together. Take ten steps to the left and then to the right. To deepen the challenge, move the band to the ankles.
Ready to Hit the Course, Court, or Both?
It’s not too late to start strengthening for golf and tennis! Try the above exercises or seek out the help of our highly trained Pilates instructors.
Contact us today to get started with a Pilates regimen that will help you bring your A-game to the court or course this summer!
And stay tuned for our next post that will look at the importance of stretching for golf, tennis, and all your outdoor activities.