Total Gym Exercises to Help With Your Tennis Serve

One of the things I love most about the sport of tennis is it truly is a sport of a lifetime.  Whether you are new to the sport or have been playing tennis for years we can all probably agree playing tennis requires plenty of overall body strength and high endurance. In this post, we will begin with an intro to the sport of tennis and review how performing specific exercises on Total Gym can increase body strength and improve endurance leading to a faster more powerful serve.

To begin playing tennis you need two people, two tennis racquets, a can of tennis balls, and a court. It is a good idea to invest in a pair of tennis court shoes as walking and running shoes do not always provide the needed support for various foot movements.  Tennis involves learning different strokes including groundstrokes, volleys, serves and returns. Exercises performed on the Total Gym offer the versatility needed to target specific muscle groups used during the serve which can lead to a stronger and more effective service motion.

Unilateral Squats with Variations

Target Muscles Groups: Quadriceps, Glutes, and Hamstrings

  • Disconnect the pulley from the glideboard, push the glideboard halfway up the rails and slowly straddle the rails while sitting towards the bottom edge facing away from the tower.
  • Place your feet toward the top of the squat stand, positioned shoulder width apart and slowly lie back ensuring your head is fully supported.
  • Slowly lower the glideboard by bending both knees and hips to around 90 degrees. Press one foot into the squat stand and ensure the knees track over the feet throughout the movement.
  • While keeping one foot on the glideboard begin to drive the knee in and out from the chest while keeping it above the squat stand on the descent.
  • Add more variation by driving one leg up and down while the other foot remains on the squat stand.
  • Perform two sets of ten to twelve reps on each leg with a short break in between

Plyometric Squat for Upper and Lower Body

  • Disconnect the pulley from the glideboard, push the glideboard halfway up the rails, and slowly straddle the rails while sitting towards the bottom edge facing away from the tower.
  • Place your feet toward the top of the squat stand, positioned shoulder width apart, and slowly lie back ensuring your head is fully supported.
  • With a neutral spine position, slowly lower the glideboard by bending both knees and hips to around 90 degrees.
  • Quickly press feet with force into the squat stand and reach arms out to the sides to accelerate up the rails in a jumping motion.
  • Try to land softly and ensure knees track over the feet throughout the movement staying in control throughout the exercise.
  • Perform two sets of ten to twelve reps on each leg with a short break in-between.

Pullover Crunch with Variations

Target Muscle Groups: Latissimus Dorsi, Abdominals, Obliques, Triceps, Pectoral Group

  • With the cable pulley attached, grab handles to bring the glideboard halfway up the rails.
  • Facing away from the tower, straddle rails and sit towards bottom edge of the glideboard.
  • With tension in the cables, lift feet off the floor and position heels at bottom edge of glideboard.
  • Slowly extend arms overhead with slight bend in elbows, palms facing up.
  • In an arc motion bring handles over the chest and reach over knees by raising the head and shoulders off the glideboard.
  • Keep abs engaged as hands return in an arc motion back to starting position.
  • Add variation by driving both hands to the right side of the body while lifting shoulder blades and returning to the start position and then drive to the left side of the body in a similar motion.
  • For more challenge lift both feet up off the glideboard to a tabletop position while performing the same movements.
  • Perform two sets of ten to twelve reps on each leg with a short break in between.

Internal Shoulder Rotation

Target Muscle Groups: Pectoralis Major, Latissimus Dorsi, Deltoid (Anterior), Teres Major

  • Grasp one handle to bring glideboard up the rails.
  • Stand facing away from rails and anchor the handle down near top edge of the glideboard. Sit back facing sideways in a secure position.
  • With tension in the cable, slowly raise feet from the floor and left handle from the glideboard.
  • Pull elbow into side of torso and position handle directly in front of the abdomen.
  • With elbow bent 90 degrees keep the upper arm tight to torso and slowly lower glideboard down the rails by externally rotating the shoulder until mild stretch is felt in the shoulder.
  • Pull glideboard back up the rails by internally rotating the shoulder inward in arc motion until hand touches abdominals.
  • Perform two sets of ten to twelve reps on each leg with a short break in between.

Seated Lateral with Full Circles

Target Muscle Groups: Abdominals, Obliques, Latissimus Dorsi, Deltiods

  • Grasp one handle to bring glideboard up the rails.
  • Stand facing away from rails and anchor the handle down near top edge of the glideboard. Sit back facing sideways in a secure position.
  • With tension in the cable, slowly raise feet from the floor and left handle from the glideboard.
  • Sitting straight with shoulders away from the ears begin to draw a full circle with your hands in front of your body.
  • Perform two sets of ten to twelve reps on each side with a short break in between.

In order to begin a point in tennis one needs to be able to serve the ball over the net, and therefore the serve has often been called the most important stroke in the game.

Remember, tennis is a skilled sport and the serve can be one of the most challenging strokes to learn and improve. By using the Total Gym, one can increase overall body strength, flexibility, and endurance by targeting muscles groups needed for a better and faster serve.

Now go grab a racquet, some tennis balls, and a partner to put these exercises to the test!

Keep Moving,

Cara

Cara Beltran
Cara Beltran, CPT, is a NCCPT certified trainer, GRAVITYTrainer, and tennis teaching professional. She completed her undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley where she competed on the women’s tennis team throughout college. Her fitness experience has also included working as the Education and Training Coordinator for Total Gym Global Corporation. Cara currently works as a GRAVITYTrainer for the YMCA of San Diego, where she enjoys teaching classes and encouraging her students to reach their strength and fitness goals. She enjoys inspiring those around her to stay active and be the best that they can be.

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