Darren Cahill: Get your body ready for tennis

Warm up is one of the most overlooked and sometimes ignored part of tennis (and many other sports for that matter).

If you want longevity in tennis, warming up, stretching and resistance training are key elements helping avoid injuries, which are often related to your muscles and joints not being properly prepared to perform.

If you do not usually warm up before your practices and matches, here is a list with a few key warm up exercises for you to add to your tennis routine. It will take less than 10 minutes to do! Start here, and add more once you make it a routine. If you feel that 10 minutes of warm up exercises are too long, remember most of the pro tennis players warm up for 45 to 60 minutes before taking to the court. You won’t regret it!

Jumping rope: Still a great way to get your heart rate up and your body ready for action! Always have one in your tennis or slinger bag. Jump rope to replicate tennis points and climb up and down the ladder with your times. For instance, start at 10 seconds on with 10 seconds break. Move to 15 seconds on with 15 seconds break. Then to 20, then to 25 and so on. Climb up the ladder as high as you’d like to go and then back down the ladder back to 10 seconds. It may be one of the oldest forms of footwork and coordination training but it’s still one of the best.

Elastic band: these light weight, versatile, and convenient equipment allows you to warm up your muscles. Make sure to buy the right resistance level for you. Wrap it around a pole or the net and engage in repetitive open-close kinds of movements with arms and legs. Start very light, but with enough resistance to engage your muscles! 30-60 seconds should be a good start. They are also extremely good for leg exercises and lateral tennis movements.

Shadowing: make sure to spend at least 1 minute doing the motions you will soon do with a ball, but without it! Very lightly and loosely hit a few shadow forehands, backhand and serves. Start by doing it standing on place, but later make sure to engage your legs too.

Mini-tennis: avoid starting directly from the baseline. Intead, engage in some light rallies from the service line to get your body slowly up to speed. Besides, this is a great way to start with some fun mini-tennis games if you got a partner. It will not only warm your body up, but also work on your touch and feel, which is a key element in tennis!

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