STRENGTH EXERCISES

These exercises are designed to work the wrists, forearms, shoulders, and legs. I have broken them down into three different groups of six exercises in each session; and I try to do each session on Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday. It doesn’t always work out that way; but at least that is the goal.

In doing each exercise, I recommend doing a fast pull/push on the first movement and then a slow ‘return.’ In other words, if you were doing bicep curls: starting with the weights down, pull up hard to the shoulders; but then, rather than just dropping the weights down, you ‘lower’ them relatively slowly. I feel this gives you the ‘burst’ that will help the tennis stroke; but also gain some benefit on the ‘return’ portion of the movement.

This is the workout routine I have been using. Please note that the dumbbell weight amounts are what I have worked up to… starting out was in the 5-7 lb. range.

SUNDAY – 3 sets of 15
Shoulder Presses – 10 lbs. – In a standing position, start with the weights at shoulder height and perpendicular to your body. Push straight up to lock your arms, while rotating the dumbbells to be parallel to your body. Lower the weights to your shoulders.
Forearm Curls (reverse) – 10 lbs. – In a seated position, start with your palms down and your wrists resting on your knees. The wrists are relaxed; so the weights are ‘hanging down’ over your knees. Keeping your wrists in constant contact with your knees, pull the weights up as far as you can. Lower the weights to the ‘hanging down’ starting position.

Bicep Curls – 15 lbs. – In a standing position, start with the weights at thigh height and perpendicular to your body, with the weights on the sides of your thighs. Pull straight up to bring the weights to touch your shoulders, while rotating the dumbbells to be parallel to your body. Lower the weights to your thighs.
French Press – 15 lbs. – In a standing position, start with your elbows pointing to the ceiling and tight to your head, with the weights touching your back and perpendicular to your body. Pull straight up to bring the weights up so they are directly over your head. Lower the weights to your back.

Thor’s Hammer Curl– 15 lbs. – In a standing position, start with the weights at thigh height and perpendicular to your body, with the weights on the sides of your thighs. Pull straight up to bring the weights to touch your shoulders, while NOT rotating the dumbbells, but keeping them perpendicular to your body. Lower the weights to your thighs.
Lateral Lunges– 15-20 lbs. – In a standing position, start with the weights at thigh height and perpendicular to your body, with the weights on the sides of your thighs. Keeping your upper body as erect as possible and the left foot in place, take a side step with your right foot and bend your knees (as if you are reaching for a low volley). Bring your right foot back to center as you stand back up. Repeat the process on your left side.

Rotator Cuff – These exercises are done with an exercise resistance band tied to a door knob or dresser draw at waist height.
1) In a standing position, wrap the loose end of the band around your hand; and place your elbow tight to your side (some people use a towel or book between their upper arm and their body). Standing parallel to the stretched band, start with your lower arm at a right angle to your upper and pointing straight, away from your body. Pull the resistance band as you move your arm to your belly. Release the tension as you return your arm to the staring position.
2) Reverse the direction you were facing; and with the loose end of the band still around your hand; place your elbow tight to your side (some people use a towel or book between their upper arm and their body). Standing parallel to the stretched band, start with your lower arm at a right angle to your upper, but this time it is flat against your belly. Pull the resistance band as you move your arm away from your belly and perpendicular to your body. Release the tension as you return your arm to the staring position.

WEDNESDAY – 3 sets of 15
Front Shoulder Raises– 10 lbs. – In a standing position, start with the weights at thigh height and perpendicular to your body, with the weights on the sides of your thighs and your palms facing to your thighs. Keeping your arms stiff and your thumbs pointing up, pull straight up to bring your arms and the weights straight out in front of you. Lower the weights to your thighs.
Reverse Bicep Curls– 10 lbs. – In a standing position, start with the weights at thigh height and parallel to your body, with the weights on the front of your thighs and your palms facing to your thighs. Pull straight up to bring the weights to touch your shoulders, while keeping the dumbbells parallel to your body. Lower the weights to your thighs.

Lateral Shoulder Raises– 10 lbs. – In a standing position, start with the weights at thigh height and perpendicular to your body, with the weights on the sides of your thighs and your palms facing to your thighs. Keeping your arms stiff and your thumbs pointing up, pull straight out to the side to bring your arms and the weights parallel to your body. Lower the weights to your thighs.
Bent Over Lateral Raises – 10 lbs. – In a standing position with your legs spread comfortably apart, bend at the waist so that your upper body is parallel to the ground and your arms and weights are hanging straight down toward the floor. With your palms facing each other and thumbs pointing forward, pull your straight arms up (keeping your upper body still) till they are parallel with the floor. Lower the weights to the hanging position.

Thor’s Hammer– Forearms only– 15 lbs. – In a seated position, start with your palms facing each other and your wrists resting on your knees. The wrists are relaxed; so the weights are ‘hanging down’ over your knees. Keeping your wrists in constant contact with your knees, pull the weights up as far as you can. Lower the weights to the ‘hanging down’ starting position.
Reaching Lateral Lunges– 15 lbs. – In a standing position, start with the weights at thigh height and perpendicular to your body, with the weights on the sides of your thighs. Keeping your upper body as erect as possible and the left foot in place, take a side step with your right foot and bend your knees (as if you are reaching for a low volley) and attempt to touch the weights to the floor. Bring your right foot back to center as you stand back up. Repeat the process on your left side.

Rotator Cuff – with resistance band

Friday – 3 sets of 15

Dumbbell Rotations– 15-20 lbs. – In a standing position, start with one dumbbell in two hands ‘hugged’ to your belly. Rotate to the right and then all the way back to the left. That is one rotation. Reapeat 15 times.
Regular Forward Lunges– 15-20 lbs. – In a standing position, start with the weights at thigh height and perpendicular to your body, with the weights on the sides of your thighs. Keeping your upper body as erect as possible and the left foot in place, take a step forward with your right foot and bend your knees (as if you are reaching for a low volley). Bring your right foot back to center as you stand back up. Repeat the process on your left side.

Legs Side to Side– This exercise uses either a circular exercise band or one of the resistance bands tied to make a circle. The band is placed around your ankles and you start with some resistance with your legs spread at shoulder width. The exercise is taking side steps, while stretching the resistance band. Take seven sideways steps to the right and then seven sideways steps to the left.
Dumbbell Chops – 15 lbs. – In a standing position, start with one dumbbell in both hands over your head. Then, bending your legs, bring the weight down to the floor, as if you were chopping wood. Bring the weight back to the starting position over your head.

Forearm Curls– Flexion– 15-20 lbs. – In a seated position, start with your palms facing up and your wrists resting on your knees. The wrists are relaxed; so the weights are ‘hanging down’ over your knees. Keeping your wrists in constant contact with your knees, pull the weights up as far as you can. Lower the weights to the ‘hanging down’ starting position.
Bent Over Row– 15-20 lbs. – In a standing position with your legs spread comfortably apart, bend at the waist so that your upper body is parallel to the ground and your arms and weights are hanging straight down toward the floor. With your palms facing each other and thumbs pointing forward, pull the weights upward toward your shoulders. Lower the weights to the hanging position.

Rotator Cuff – with band

It may seem like a lot; but the series really only takes 15-20 minutes, three days a week. And the benefits come in many forms: added strength on the court, less injury around the joints, and a general feeling of accomplishment (at any age). For other ideas on exercise programs, a site I found helpful is askthetrainer.com.

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