Warm up and cool down
Any sport activity should be preceded by a kind of warm up. Tennis is no exception. An effective warm up increases body temperature, allowing muscles to work effectively, gets the heart and lungs ready for activity and wakes up the nervous system, preparing it for exercise. Despite popular belief warm up should NOT include any kind of static stretching, because long stretching (15 seconds or more) improves elasticity but it reduces the amount of power the muscle can generate, for this reason all static stretching exercises should be done after the training program as part of the cool down routine.
Warm up should start with 5 to 10 minutes of slow jogging or jumping rope, followed by exercises like shoulder rotations (forwards and backwards), wrist rotations, side steps, crossover steps, high knee lift, lunge walk and short sprints. The best way to do these exercises is on a distance of 10-15 meters (back of the court to the net) with a jog back recovery. 3 to 5 repetitions for each exercise should be enough. You can also include, especially with younger players, some stroke simulation with or without the racket.
Same as warm up, the cool down is a very important routine, it helps your heart rate and breathing return to normal, helps remove waste products (like lactic acid) from your muscles, and it helps the muscle prepare for the next session. Cool down should follow every training program, and should include at least 5 to 10 minutes of slow jogging followed by a session of static stretching.
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