When you think about it, there is not one shot in tennis that doesn’t engage your forearm muscles. The forehand, backhand, serve, overhead and volley all require strong arm muscles to ensure a secure grip of the racket throughout the course of a match. Weak arm muscles not only result in weak shots, but can also lead to arm injuries such as tennis elbow, according to certified strength and conditioning specialist Jason Shea. Strengthening your arm muscles doesn't mean you have to join a gym or hire a personal trainer. With an inexpensive set of dumbbells, you can perform forearm exercises in the comfort of your own home.
Wrist Flexion Exercise
Strengthen the wrist flexor muscles located underneath your forearm by using a 1-pound dumbbell. Grasp the dumbbell in your right hand and sit in a sturdy chair. Bend your right elbow and rest your forearm on top of your right thigh.
Position your hand so it hangs over the front of your knee. Turn your forearm so your palm is facing up. Allow the weight of the dumbbell to pull your hand down toward the floor. This is the starting position.
Keep your forearm in contact with your thigh, curl your wrist and bring the weight upward toward the ceiling as high as you can. Hold the position two to three seconds and then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. Perform two sets of 12 reps with each arm.
Wrist Extension Exercise
Strengthen the wrist extensor muscles located on top of your forearm by using a 1-pound dumbbell. Grasp the dumbbell with your right hand and position your forearm on your thigh as if you are going to do the wrist flexion exercise.
Turn your forearm so your palm is facing down. Allow the weight of the dumbbell to pull your hand down toward the floor. This is the starting position.
Bend your wrist backward as far as you can while keeping your forearm in contact with your thigh. Hold the position for two to three seconds and then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. Perform two sets of 12 reps with each arm.
Supination and Pronation Exercise
Perform the wrist flipper exercise to help strengthen the forearm supinator and pronator muscles. Supination is when you rotate your forearm to move your palm from facing the floor to facing the ceiling. Pronation is the opposite, your palm moves from facing the ceiling to facing the floor.
Grasp a 1-pound dumbbell in each hand. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your elbows 90 degrees and hold them close to your body. Start with your palms facing the floor.
Keep your upper arms stationary and slowly rotate your forearms until your palms are facing the ceiling and then slowly rotate back to the starting position for one repetition. Concentrate on flexing your forearm muscles throughout the movement. Perform two sets of 10 reps.
Items you will need
- Sturdy chair
- 1-pound dumbbells
- As you become stronger, the 1-pound dumbbell may be too light. Perform the exercises with a 3-pound weight.
- If you do have tennis elbow or you have had it in the past, consult with your doctor or physical therapist before doing the exercises.
- Complete Conditioning for Tennis; Paul Roetert and Todd S. Ellenbecker
- APECS: The Importance of Grip Strength
- United States Tennis Association: Ask the Lab: Tennis Elbow
- ShapeFit.com: Forearms Exercises - Dumbbell Wrist Flippers
- Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images