Larry Starr, professional athletic trainer for the Cincinnati Reds baseball team and the John Newcombe Fantasy Camp, writes, “Stretching prior to playing has always been a mainstay in tennis and all athletic activities. It was felt that you needed to ‘stretch’ the muscles to prepare them for whatever sport you were to undertake, including tennis. But the current philosophy among professional trainers is different.”
“The research has demonstrated many times that stretching a ‘cold’ muscle or tendon is not only NOT beneficial but can actually cause injury. Stretching is best completed after playing or any sports activities.”
The Dynamic Warm-up
“That does not mean that we should not do something prior to engaging in sports. I believe that you have to get ‘the big muscles’ ready for action. This is the role of dynamic warm-up.”
According to Larry, the following exercises can be used while you are waiting to get on the court:
1. Arm circles – 10 times both way.
2. Arms criss-cross – 10 times both way.
3. Arms front/back – 10 times both way.
4. Arms wipe-on/wipe-off – 10 times both way.
5. Trust twist – 10 times both way.
6. Windmills – alternate toe touch – left hand to right foot and vice-versa – 10 times both way.
7. Knee to the chest – 10 times both legs.
8. Butt kicks (heel to the buttocks) – 10 times both legs.
9. Leg swings (front to back) – 10 times both legs.
10. Leg swings ( side to side) – 10 times both legs.
11. Front lunges – 10 times both legs.
12. Side lunges – 10 times both legs.
13. Squats – 10 times.
14. Toe bounces – 10 times toes straight, 10 times toes in, 10 times toes out.
15. Jumping jacks
Baechle, T. R. & Earle, R.W., editors, 2008. Essentials of strength training and conditioning / National Strength and Conditioning Association. 3rd ed. Human Kinetics, 2008, Champaign, IL
Brown, S. (2009) Dynamic warm-up and post-workout recovery methods. Healthy Living.
Thanks to Larry for this solid advice.
Now, the question is: can I change my habit of over ten years of stretching BEFORE I play tennis?
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