Health and Fitness: Getting in shape for tennis

By Rob Virtue on June 29, 2014 11:36 AM |

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LIFESTYLE

By Laura Williams

Inspired by Wimbledon and want to improve your court performance? Then switch up your existing gym routine to get racket ready.

■ Improve your upper body and arm strength

Try wrist and forearm curls - sit on a bench and hold a barbell or two dumbbells with both hands positioned palms-up and shoulder-width apart with elbows on thighs, wrists just above knees.

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Flex wrists by curling them upwards before slowly lowering to starting position. Do 10 reps.

Next have a bash at the alternate dumbbell chest press - lie face-up on a Swiss ball with head and shoulders on the ball ensuring head, shoulders, hips and knees form a straight line. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, wrist facing forward, bend elbows out to the side so the weights are lightly resting on outer chest.

Extend left arm straight above avoiding locking the elbow before slowly lowering back to starting position. Do 30 reps total.

■ Improve your lower body strength

Single leg squats are great - extend your arms straight out in front of you then, balancing on your left foot with right leg extended in front of you about 45 degrees from the floor, bend your left knee and slowly lower your body until your right heel lightly touches the floor, making sure your left knee doesn't come over your toes. Aim for 15 reps each leg.

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Then ape Andy Murray with a walking lunge - hold a dumbbell in each hand and take a controlled step forward with your left leg.

Lower hips towards the floor bending both knees to 90 degree angles. Push off with the heel of your left foot and ball of your right foot bringing it forward to starting position, before repeating with the right leg. Perform for 1 minute.

■ You'll also need a rock solid core on court

For this, a Russian twist is ideal - sit on the floor, knees bent and feet flat, holding a medicine ball or dumbbell with both hands in front of your chest.

Lean back slightly lifting feet a few inches off the floor. Tensing your abs, rotate your upper body from side to side, tapping the weight on the floor beside you each time, or as close to the floor as you can manage. Do a total of 20 reps.

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Then try the medicine ball slam - stand with feet shoulder-width apart holding a weighted ball overhead with elbows slightly bent and slam the ball down to the floor. Squat down to pick up the ball, bring it back overhead and repeat. Do 20 reps total.

Remember you'll need cardio fitness too so some cross training or jogging will pay dividends on court.

Go to laurawilliamsonline.co.uk

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