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Spring training secrets to get you in shape for the tennis season

Mar 17, 2015
written by: Catherine Cameron
written by: Catherine Cameron
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Yes, yes, I get it. We’re still in the deep freeze and other than on the west coast, outdoor tennis is but dream encased in ice. Spring often sneaks up on us though. A few warm days in March or April and voila… it’s time to hit the courts.

But just how ready are you? Have you been vigilant about going to the gym or staying active? (Note that pressing a few buttons on the remote does not count!). While all exercise has value and research suggests several mini workouts throughout the day may offer more health benefit than one longer one, when it comes to tennis, the right exercises can make the difference between a season that’s off to a great start, or one plagued with aches and pains.

The right program can enhance your game and should focus on cardiovascular conditioning, building strength, and maintaining or improving flexibility (you want to be able to reach, bend and follow-through without injury). Consider adding some of these exercises to your routine, and if you’re not sure how to perform them, be sure to ask a trainer. Proper form is essential!

Upper Body

To strengthen and develop upper and lower back muscles, include exercises such as seated rows or cable pulldowns.

  • Since strong shoulders are crucial for serving and smashing, consider front and lateral raises and shoulder presses using dumbbells (start slowly – there’s no shame in using 3 or 5 lb weights to start).
  • Strengthen chest muscles with dips, pullovers, or simple chest presses.
  • Strengthen arms with bicep curls and tricep extensions.

Lower Body

  • Many trainers suggest five-way lunges to prep for tennis season but all lunges are beneficial, so take your pick. I recommend doing them without dumbbells, at least until you get the hang of them.
  • Other exercises to consider: stair climbing, squats, and hamstring curls. I don’t recommend deadlifts – they too often lead to back pain or injury.


Don’t overlook the importance of a strong core for the activities of daily living and for tennis and all sports. Some to consider:

  • Planks
  • Sit ups
  • Crunches
  • Leg raises

Finally, did you know walking more is likely the single best thing Canadians can do to improve their health? Be sure to check out some of these walking and running programs I’ve created. Here’s to spring’s arrival and a terrific season ahead!