Apr 26, 2018
Tennis Training

For tennis players to be successful, they have to perform a series of complex movements that utilize a variety of muscles. The sport is demanding on the body and requires strength, power, endurance, and speed from head to toe, so understanding what muscles are key to tennis success will help you develop the ideal training program for your players.

According to Michele M. Howard of LiveStrong.com, every shot in tennis requires a series of muscles to work together, which is known as the kinetic chain. The first link of the chain is your feet, which is activated when running, cutting, jumping, or planting. The power is then transferred from your feet to your legs as you begin the sequence of taking a shot. Finally, the chain works up to your arms as you swing the racket. This complex movement activates the lower legs, upper legs, hips, trunk, shoulders, upper arms, forearms, and lastly your hands.

The different components of this essential tennis movement can be broken down into sections. First are the major lower-body muscles. This includes the calves, comprised of the gastrocnemius, which is the largest muscle at the back of your lower legs, and the soleus, a smaller muscle that lies underneath the gastrocnemius. The next link in the chain is the upper leg, including the hamstrings at the back of your thighs, and the quads at the front of your thighs. Energy is then transferred further up to the gluteus maximus and medius.

Your trunk muscles come next, and these make up the area around your core. Abdominals, obliques, latissimus dorsi, and erector spinae are all engaged in the kinetic chain required to hit a tennis ball. The rectus abdominis is the ab muscle that runs from your ribs to the front of your pubic bone, and the transverse abdominis wraps around your midsection like a belt. On your sides are your obliques, and along your spine is the erector spinae. The largest muscles in your back are the latissimus dorsi, also known as the lats. All of the trunk muscles have to be primed and ready to work together in order for a tennis player to succeed.

The last major section of the kinetic chain is the major upper-body muscles. This refers to your chest, shoulders, upper back, and arms. The main muscles in your chest are the pectorals, while the shoulders are supported by the deltoids and rotator cuff, as well as the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis muscles, which are a group of muscles at the shoulder joint. Your upper back includes the rhomboid and trapezius muscles, while your upper arms include the biceps and triceps. Finally, the kinetic chain is completed by the flexor and extensor muscles in your forearms.

An effective tennis strength and conditioning program should be designed to enhance the function of all these muscles in the kinetic chain. From the lower-body to the upper-body, there are a variety of muscles that tennis players need to train in order to be successful on the court.

Shop see all »

75 Applewood Drive, Suite A
P.O. Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345
website development by deyo designs
Interested in receiving the print or digital edition of Training & Conditioning?

Subscribe Today »

Be sure to check out our sister sites: