How many players have you seen do a set routine of tennis stretches after match play? Probably less than five. However, it is widely accepted that stretching can help with recovery, increasing range of motion and injury prevention. So why don’t more tennis players do cool down stretches? My gut tells me that they don’t see the value in it, are just not looking at flexibility as an avenue to improve their tennis game or are just lazy. With top tennis players like Novak Djokovic showing off their range of motion, body control and shot making in compromised positions most of us can only dream of, I think its safe to say post match stretching should be on our to do list.
Here are some things to consider to get the most out of your post match stretches. It is important to get your stretching routine in after the workout while the muscles are still warm. Keep stretches gentle and slow. Don’t bounce. Breathe through your stretches. If you feel pain, you’ve stretched too far. Each stretch should be held for thirty seconds minimum to realize incremental gains. You can repeat the stretches two to three times.
Enjoy this full body cooldown stretch that you can do after any workout to relief your body and help you with muscle recovery.
Sitting Hamstring Stretch
Sit on the ground with one leg bent at the knee with the foot facing inward. This is called the butterfly position. Extend the opposite leg, keeping it slightly bent at the knee. Bend forward at the waist, making sure to keep the back straight.
Seated Butterfly Stretch
Sit on the ground with both legs bent at the knee and feet facing inward. Gently pull your feet up towards your groin within comfort. Hold your feet with your hands and rest your elbows on your knees. Keep your back straight and apply gentle pressure with your elbows if desired.
Sit with one knee bent and the other leg extended behind you. Sit on the ground with your right knee bent and your left leg extended behind you. Pull the right heel in toward your left hip. Make sure your left hip points down toward the ground. If it begins to open up, bring your right foot back in toward your body.
Start in a lunge where your right knee is directly above your right ankle. Simultaneously extend your left leg behind you so that your left knee is behind your left hip and drive the top of your back foot into the ground.
Supine Low Back Twist
Lie down on your back with both legs straight. Bend your right knee at 90 degrees and bring it across your body until it touches the ground. Keep your right shoulder on the ground with your right arm extended, looking in that direction. Hold this position as desired and repeat on the opposite side.
Start by sitting with both knees on the ground. Try keeping your knees together and the tops of your feet pressed into the ground. Maintain good posture with your shoulders directly above your hips.
Cross Body Shoulder Stretch
Grab one arm above your elbow with your opposite hand, and pull it across your body toward your chest until you feel a stretch in your shoulder. Make sure to keep your elbow below shoulder height.
Overhead Triceps and Shoulder Stretch
Raise one arm overhead and drop your forearm behind you, resting it on your back between your shoulder blades. With your other hand, grab right above your bent elbow and pull gently, until you feel a stretch in your shoulder and triceps.
Place your hands on the ground shoulder width apart and spread your fingers out wide. Lift your knees off the floor and straighten your legs as much as you can.
Will You Incorporate Tennis Stretches After Match Play?
Let me know what you think and if you are going to incorporate a stretch routine after playing tennis. If you enjoyed this video you may also like the quick warm up routine and circuit workouts under the training section.
As always, please take precaution to exercise in a safe environment, and I highly suggest seeing a health and fitness professional to give you advice on your exercise form and dietary needs. Every person is unique and there is no one size fits all solution to health or fitness. I am not a medical professional and your health and safety is the utmost importance.