Best Tennis Stretching Exercises

15 Minute stretch series to improve your game.

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15 Minute stretch series to improve your game

Photo by Renith R on Unsplash

Why Should Tennis Players Stretch?

Mobility and flexibility are seriously impacting tennis players’ the ability to do their best in games and training. Here are the common times when tennis players should consider stretching:

  • You are looking to up your tennis game but can’t figure out what you’re missing.
  • You have chronic tennis injuries or pain that’s inhibiting your ability to win.
  • You suffer from tennis elbow, rotator cuff injuries, back pain, or other discomforts.

The Kika Method has a series of stretches that were designed for athletes that can provide you with stretches you can do for warm-up and cool-down, and help combat soreness and injury prevention, in order to improve your playing.

Perform these 15 minute series of stretches that will help you improve all around, from just holding your racquet, to winning a tournament.

Key Flexibility Exercises for Tennis Players

Neck Stretch

Neck stretch demonstration

Tennis can have a big impact on the mobility in your upper body, which often manifests as stiffness in the neck. Tightness in larger muscle groups can cause your neck to tighten up, even if you aren’t doing movement that directly impacts it. This static stretching of the neck will allow you to have more range of motion throughout your entire game. 

Step 1. Begin by standing straight up with your arms down by your side, looking straight ahead for the starting position.

Step 2. Reach your right hand over your head to your left ear, and gently pull your head towards your right shoulder. 

Step 3. Drop your shoulders and allow the weight of your hand and gravity to stretch the side of your neck.

Step 4. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

Step 5. Repeat the stretch on both sides when done.

Lying Spinal Twist

Have you ever felt like your backhand doesn’t have the range it could? This may be because the muscles surrounding your spine are tense. This can affect your game more than you think, so it is important that you focus on releasing this tension. The spinal twist is a great back stretch, opening your lower back, upper back, upper body, and your chest. 

Step 1. Begin by lying on your back, with both legs extended straight out, and your arms out in a T for the starting position. 

Step 2. Pick your right leg up to a ninety degree angle, parallel to the ceiling and place your left hand on your right knee. 

Step 3. Slowly twist your right leg to the left side of your body, while turning your head to the right. 

Step 4. Make sure to stop when you feel a light stretch, and ease slowly into a deeper stretch.

Step 5. Allow gravity to pull your knee towards the floor, while keeping your right arm and both shoulders on the floor. 

Step 6. Hold until the spine has released and repeat on the opposite side.

Standing Side Bend

Tennis takes a toll on specific parts of the upper body, as you are holding the racquet in one hand. You have to make sure that you are stretching out both sides of your body, as it can be hard to tell sometimes where the pain is coming from. Dynamic stretching like this can help to relieve pain in the rotator cuff, tennis elbow, back pain, and is a great shoulder stretch to improve your backhand.

Standing side bend stretch demonstration

Step 1. Begin by standing straight up with your arms down by your side, looking straight ahead for the starting position.

Step 2. Reach your right arm up over your head, and your left arm down towards the ground.

Step 3. Bend and arc over to the left side, allowing your right side to stretch and make space.

Step 4. Continue to reach the arms away from your center.

Step 5. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

Step 6. Repeat the stretch on both sides when done.

Seated Side Bend

Seated Side Bend stretch demonstration

Similar to the standing side stretch, the sitting side stretch is great to release muscle groups in the upper body. However, it also can help with the lower body and back because of the seated position. It is great for lower back pain, side tightness, and is also a hamstring stretch. 

Step 1. Begin by sitting with your right leg extended straight to the side, bending your left leg into your right knee.

Step 2. Stretch your left arm up over your head, and slide your right arm along the inside of your right leg.

Step 3. Reach your left arm towards your right foot until you feel a stretch.

Step 4. Allow gravity to pull you closer to that leg, and make space in your left side body.

Step 5. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side. 

Step 6. Repeat stretch on both sides when done.

Knees to Chest

Tennis may be causing your back and hip pain, even if it doesn’t seem like it’s directly affecting it. Your hip flexors can become tight and cause a lot of other problems, which could affect your backhand eventually. This stretch is great for both warm-up and recovery. 

Step 1. Begin by laying on your back with your legs straightened out in front of you.

Step 2. Pull both knees up to a ninety-degree angle, with your shins facing the ceiling.

Step 3. Wrap both arms around your knees and pull them towards your chest.

Step 4. Allow your hip flexors and back to relax in this recovery position. 

Step 5. Hold until the spine has released.