Before you start playing tennis, hop on the treadmill or begin running, consider doing a brief warmup first. And try to follow your workout with a quick cool-down period. A warm-up and cool down might add some minutes to your exercise routine, but they could also reduce stress on the heart and muscles.

Warm-ups and cool-downs usually involve performing your activity more slowly and with less intensity.

Below we explore the benefits of warming up before tennis, or any highly-active sport for that matter! Feel free to reach out to our coaching staff with questions about tennis-specific exercises that achieve a full-body warm-up.

Why Warm Up the Body Before Intense Physical Activity?

Warming up gets your body prepped for aerobic activities, like tennis drills and matches. A warm-up gradually heats up the heart and blood vessels, also known as the cardiovascular system. It achieves this by boosting body temperature and improving blood flow to your muscles. In tennis, warming up can help you move across the court more quickly, make your shots more accurate and stronger, plus help with mentally preparing yourself for a match.

Doing a warm-up can also help reduce muscle soreness and decrease the risk of injuries.

What is Cooling Down?

Cooling off after your workout helps your heart rate and blood pressure to slowly go back to normal before exercise levels. This might be especially crucial for endurance athletes who compete, like those who run marathons, because it helps manage the flow of blood.

Cooling down doesn’t really seem to aid in lessening muscle stiffness and soreness post-exercise; however more studies are required on this and the debate on whether warming up and cooling down can stop injuries.

How to Properly Warm-Up

So you’ve decided it’s time to get a solid warm up routine down, but what exactly should go into that? A proper warm-up needs to boost performance without wearing you out before the game even starts. It’s gotta cover all bases too – like enhancing strength, awareness, and control over your muscles during both static and dynamic activities.

African American Woman Stretching Legs Playing Tennis

Static & Dynamic Stretches

Static stretching is when you stretch and hold a position for a period of time, while dynamic stretching involves moving parts of your body and gradually increasing reach, speed, or both. So in static stretches you might stay still holding a pose that stretches certain muscles or muscle groups. This kind can be good for cooling down after exercise.

Dynamic stretches on the other hand have you moving through different motions to get muscles warmed up and ready before doing any intense activities.

Which Stretch is Better for Warming Up?

Traditionally, static stretching has been a mainstay in warm-up routines. However, research has demonstrated that acute static stretching can lead to decreases in performance on:

  • Vertical jumping
  • Short dashes
  • Tasks that require max muscle strength
  • Muscle stamina
  • Balance
  • Reaction time

This isn’t great to have as part of a warm-up before a game, aiming to get you in top shape for performance. Also, though it’s commonly believed static stretching pre-game can help avoid injuries, that hasn’t actually been shown to be correct.

On the flip side, doing dynamic warm-ups which include moves like lunges and squats along with running exercises that involve going forward, sideways and changing directions has been proven to:

  • Improve knee joint positioning
  • Increase blood oxygen
  • Lower lactate concentration and raise blood pH
  • Improve thermoregulation efficiency
  • Improve performance for sprints and vertical jumps
Doubles Tennis Players African American Wearing White

Warming Up for Tennis

To slightly raise your heart rate, lightly jog back and forth or around the court while you warm up your arms and shoulder joints with arm circles going forward. Lift your legs back for a few butt kicks and give your arms a good shake.

Here are some good warm-up exercises that are perfect for preparing to play tennis and that can improve your game.

#1 Arms & Shoulder Stretches

1. Arm Circles

Stand straight and do arm circles slowly to get the most out of your arm and shoulder warm-up exercise.

Stand up straight, keeping your feet roughly the width of your shoulders. Stretch out your arms to each side, palms facing upwards Rotate them backwards to front 10 times then do it from front to back another 10 times After that turn your hands so palms are pointing down and go through the sequence again

2. Dynamic T-Arm Swings

Dynamic T-arm swinging exercises for warming up also work on the muscles in your chest and upper back.

Stand up straight, your feet apart about the width of your shoulders. Stretch your arms out in front of you, palms touching and fingers facing forward. Turn your body to the left by twisting on the toe of your right foot (heel raised). While doing that, pull back with the left side but keep your right hand steady where it started. Make sure your hips, shoulders, and head stay lined up as you turn around.

Rotate till you’re 90 degrees from where you started, arms out and right foot ready to pivot. Quickly spin back to the start, arms forward, hands together, feet flat. Do the twist again to your right, arm back, pivoting on your left foot. Go through this whole thing 10 to 20 times in all.

If you’re struggling with the overhead shoulder stretch, try using a hand towel. Hold it in your stretching arm and grab it behind your back with both hands. You can then use the towel to help pull your hands closer together.

3. Overhead Shoulder Stretch

Incorporate shoulder stretches into your arm warm-ups before lifting, especially if you’re going to do exercises overhead.

Lift one arm up high, then bend your elbow so your hand with its palm lands between the shoulder blades. Take your other arm and bend it too, but this time bring it behind your back keeping the elbow lowered and the hand aiming upwards. Make sure that this hand’s palm is facing out from your back.

Bring your hands close so they touch at the fingers. For more of a stretch, hold onto both hands’ fingers. Keep this pose for five to 10 breaths then do it on the opposite side

#2 Mid-Body Stretches

Core exercises aren’t just for your abs or your next ab workout. They can also be used as warm up exercises for other styles of fitness sessions or sports warm ups. They can even be used to get warmed up for your next core workout.

1. Jump Rope

For 90 seconds, making sure to keep your knees a bit bent and land on the balls of your feet.

2. High Knees

For 60 seconds, land gently on the balls of your feet and maintain a tight core.

3. Jumping Jacks

For 30 seconds jump up, spread your feet and bring both hands together above your head. Jump again and return to the starting position.

4. Mountain Climbers

For 30 seconds, keep in a plank position through the whole activity. Your core should be tight and your hips kept low.

5. Criss-Cross Crunches

For 60 seconds, stand with your feet hip width apart and your hands behind your head. Bend your right leg and lift your knee as high as possible. Rotate your torso to the right and bring your right knee to your left elbow, Repeat on the opposite side and keep alternating sides until the set is completed.

#3 Lower-Body Stretches

Dynamic stretching before your workout lowers the chance of getting hurt, slowly raises your body’s heat and increases blood circulation to the muscles in use. If you plan on doing squats, lunges, deadlifts or any other leg exercise involving a lot of movement at the hips and knees; dynamic stretches will help everything proceed more fluidly, including footwork.

1. Knee Grabs

Start standing with your feet close together. Lift one leg, bending the knee, hold it with both hands and pull it upwards to stretch your buttocks while you lean forward. Place the leg down to balance yourself and step forward with the other foot, lifting the knee to grasp it. Continue moving forward and switch legs at each step; do this for 30 seconds.

2. Hip Rotator

Standing up, lift your right leg, bending at the knee. Grasp it with your right hand. Take hold of the ankle with your left hand and pull it upwards towards your left shoulder. Lean forwards and release that leg to step down on it; then change legs. Continue switching legs for each step as you move forward, Repeat this for 30 seconds.

3. Inchworm

From a standing position, bend forward from your hips and place your hands on the ground. It’s okay to slightly bend your knees if necessary. Gradually walk your hands away from your body until you reach a high plank position. Keep both knees and elbows straight, aiming to keep your back as flat as can be. Slowly walk your hands back towards your feet then stand up; repeat this for 30 seconds.

4. Foot Grab

Stand tall, and kick one foot toward your butt by bending your knee. As it swings up grab the front of your shin. Pull your heel in towards your butt and then let go of the leg stepping forward onto that foot. Then pull the opposite leg in close to your butt switch legs every step, and continue for 30 seconds.

5. Lateral Lunge

Face sideways and take a large step to the side, lean to that side and straighten out the knee of the opposite leg. Stick your butt back, keep your weight on your heels, and ensure both feet are pointed straight forward then switch sides and lean toward the opposite leg before stepping back up to center do at least five steps to the left and five steps to the right.

6. Trunk Rotation

Take a big step forward with your right foot, bend your right knee until it forms a 90-degree angle, and lower your left knee so it almost touches the ground. Twist your upper body to the right. Push through your right heel to stand back up. Then switch sides, taking a large step with your left foot and twisting to the left side. Keep switching for around 30 seconds.