Tennis Forearm ExercisesJun 22, 2018
Strengthening up specific areas of our bodies can help prevent many tennis-related injuries. Stability, Strength, and flexibility play the biggest part in reducing the risk of spending time off court. Strengthening the smaller “stabilizing muscles” around joints can eliminate a lot of joint-related tennis injuries e.g. tendinitis.
Muscle tissue strength helps prevent muscle tears and connective tissue injuries by providing a more robust athlete, the stronger the muscle tissue the more resilient it will it be. Having the flexibility capacity to get into certain positions, more positions and utilize more muscle is what you need to prevent flexibility related injuries (muscle tears, overuse injuries, etc.)
Due to the physical complexity (strength, stability, flexibility, agility, power, high aerobic capacity, etc.) as players we need to deal with and given the time constraints most players have. More often than not our recovery and injury prevention regimes get put at the back of the line. This opens us up for the possibility of injury. We tend to go straight for what we feel will boost performance over what will keep us playing longer and feeling better on court.
One heavily neglected area for most players is the forearm muscles.
Forearm muscles link directly to your hand and fingers; this alone shows you how important getting them strong is. Specific forearm exercises are something you should perform on a weekly basis. For tennis athletes, they play a vital role in - grip strength, racket control, force absorption. From an injury perspective having good forearm strength reduces the risk of tennis elbow and wrist injuries.
The stronger and more robust the forearm, the more support and protection the wrist and elbow get. This is due to the fact that most wrist and elbow injuries are overuse injuries. Overuse injuries are generally associated with an overworked muscle/joint, weak muscle/group of muscles, and fatigue. This leads to tears in connective tissue, causing pain, inflammation, and weakness.
Forearm muscles consist of;
Brachioradialis - The muscles of the forearm that flex the forearm at the elbow. The brachioradialis helps support the elbow and plays important role in the kickback on the serve.
Flexors - Forearm flexors are a group of muscles found on the underside of the forearm. They are responsible for the flexion of the wrist and fingers. They also play a vital role in gripping and squeezing the hand.
Extensors - A group of muscles located on top of the forearm. They are involved with wrist extension and also wrist abduction and adduction (moving the hand side to side)
Implementing Tennis Forearm Exercises into your program will have a large impact on many levels, by;
- Boosting racket control and giving you more shot /serve options. The forearm muscles are largely responsible for gripping the racket handle, movement of the wrist, and stability of the elbow joint. Having adequate strength allows better control of shots, more shot versatility, and can enable more serving options.
- Protection and injury prevention of the elbow and wrist. Most people wait to strengthen their forearms until they have elbow or wrist injuries. Trust me when you get tennis elbow or wrist pain, you will not be happy. These injuries often come with lengthy recovery times. Prevention is the best cure.
- Playing consistency. All muscle tissue has a fatigue point. The forearm muscles are no different. Playing long matches will lead to muscle fatigue throughout our bodies. The forearm muscles are utilized in every shot and serve on court, this can highlight their importance. So they are heavily involved, that means they need attention (Strengthening and recovery)
Players are always amazed at how much of a difference they feel when we implement these Tennis Forearm Exercises into their routine. We often get feedback like “I have so much more control at the net” “I can do more with my serve now” “I can feel my racket better on contact” “I have more finesse and softer hands when needed” “My arm doesn’t feel tired and numb during long matches”
You might be someone who has never trained your forearms or done it consistently.
Check out some introductory Tennis Forearm Exercises to get you on your way. We have found the best approach is to get players to do the exercises post-practice. What this does, is fatigues the forearm muscles once they have already been pre-fatigued, it finishes them off. This ensures you have the longest recovery time before your next hit. It also saves you having to train them at another time, so it doesn’t cut into your training.
Tennis Forearm Exercises
- BALL SQUEEZE – Use a small ball (or medium size ball to mix it up) and squeeze in different positions (palm facing up and palm facing down) Repeat 20-30 squeezes and then repeat on the opposite side and repeat for 2-3 sets.
- RESISTED BAND WRIST EXTENSION – Holding a resistance band with the palm facing the floor, pull your wrist uphold and slowly return to that starting position. Repeat 15-20 reps then repeat on the opposite side and repeat for 2-3 sets.
- RESISTED BAND WRIST FLEXION – Holding a resistance band with the palm facing upwards, pull your wrist up, and slowly return to that starting position. Repeat 15-20 reps then repeat on the opposite side and repeat for 2-3 sets.
- DUMBBELL ULNA & RADIAL DEVIATION – Ulna deviation, hold a dumbbell in the hand with the arm by their side so that the palm faces inwards. Tilts the wrist so that the little finger moves upwards. To work radial deviation, the arm stays in the same position but the wrist is then pulled up so that the thumb moves towards the wrist. Repeat 15-20 reps then repeat on the opposite side and repeat for 2-3 sets.
- DUMBBELL WRIST EXTENSION – Placing your forearm over a flat bench for support holding a dumbbell with the palm facing the floor, pull your wrist uphold and slowly return to that starting position. Repeat 15-20 reps and repeat for 2-3 sets.
- DUMBBELL WRIST FLEXION – Placing your forearm over a flat bench for support holding a dumbbell with the palm facing upwards, pull your wrist up, and slowly return to that starting position. Repeat 15-20 reps and repeat for 2-3 sets.
- GRIPPER – Holding tight onto a gripper, squeeze handles together, hold for 1 sec, and release. Repeat 20-30 squeezes and then repeat on the opposite side and repeat for 2-3 sets. (You can pick up one of these grippers at most sporting stores or shop online)
To help you out even more - Here is a video with some additional exercises you could introduce into your program.