Isometric Strength

Written by Jez Green on . Posted in Physical Conditioning

Tennis is a sport that requires players to hold very extreme positions.  For example you can visualise Kim Clijsters on a wide forehand or Lleyton Hewitt stretching out on a backhand. 

The ability to hold these shapes allow top players to run down every ball with the knowledge that they have the strength to play the shot and recover for the next one.  Without this strength on the width many players would not attempt to go for every ball. 

The ability to make these extra shots in the court when under extreme pressure is a strong indicator of the standard of the player and a credit to their conditioning. 

The main focal point for this strength is the core of the body i.e. the abdominal area and the lower spine.  These areas are the link between upper and lower body which are regularly working in opposition which means the pressure is held in the core.   

The Medicine Ball you should use for the following drills is based on your age and maturation.  Please find below an approximation of these for the different age groups.

Under 11 Basketball
11 – 13 years 1 kg Medicine Ball 
13 – 16 Years  2 kg Medicine Ball 
16 Years and Up  3 kg Medicine Ball 

Try these drills – Open Stance 

Have a medicine ball in your right hand, step out into an extreme open stance forehand position, and stretch out so the medicine ball is at arms length away at ankle height.  Make sure your back is straight, slightly leaning forward, but not rounded.  Hold for 2 X 30 seconds.  Repeat with your left hand.

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Repeat the above drill but instead of taking the ball out at ankle height stretch out as far as you can at hip height and repeat the same work ratio on both hands. 

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Repeat the drill above but instead of taking the ball out at hip height stretch out and hold the ball above shoulder height.  Repeat the same work ratio on both hands. 

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Closed Stance

Have a medicine ball in your right hand step across with your left foot into an extreme closed stance as if you are stretching for a wide running forehand.  Reach out as far as you can and hold the ball at ankle height.  Hold for 2 X 30 seconds.  Repeat with your left side.  

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 As above at hip height (closed stance) repeat the same work ratio on both sides.

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As above holding over shoulder height (closed stance).  Repeat the same work ratio on both sides. 

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When doing these drills try and put yourself under pressure and stretch the ball out to the sides as far as you can.  Be aware of your posture when in this stretch position making sure your knees are inline with your ankles your back is straight and your shoulders are fairly level.  If you perform these drills regularly you should find that you play wide shots with greater ease.  

Go For It

Jez Green