Tennis training involves the constant repetition of movement, which can place severe stress on your body. Because shoulder muscles are small, tennis players often suffer from shoulder injuries. In addition, the ligaments strain to support and stabilize the large range of shoulder motions in tennis. By using resistance bands to strengthen and stretch your shoulder muscles, you can prevent overuse injuries, such as inflammation and muscle tears.
Strengthen External Rotation
The overhead and serve strokes require external rotation and place stress on the four muscles that make up your rotator cuff. Your chest and back muscles help your internal rotator muscles. Because your external rotator muscles function alone, they tend to be weaker. This exercise strengthens your external rotation, so perform it regularly. Stand with your legs together. Bend your left arm at the elbow and keep your upper left arm pressed to the side of your body. Hold one end of the band with your left hand. Anchor the other end of the band to your right hip with your right hand. Keep a fixed and steady right hand throughout the exercise. Rotate and extend your left hand and forearm outward, maintaining a firm wrist and fluid movement. Keep your upper arm still. Hold the outermost position of your left arm for a second or two and then return it to the starting position. Do 15 repetitions and then alternate sides for a total of four sets.
Build the Shoulder Girdle
This exercise will strengthen your scapular stabilizers and rotator cuff. These shoulder girdle muscles function eccentrically, or elongate when contracted, to achieve the follow-through on your serve and forehand stroke. By exercising these muscles concentrically, or with a shortening contraction, you build your shoulder girdle. Kneel on a mat. Hold the resistance band in your left and right hands. Turn your palms so they face up. Bend your elbows. Keep your shoulders back and down and your core stable. Rotate both hands out about 2 to 3 inches and turn your thumbs outward. Draw in your shoulder blades and thrust your chest forward at the same time. Hold this position for two to three seconds. Return to your starting position and repeat.
Lunge and Shoulder Pull
Exercises that combine movements will boost your coordination and balance. By adding a rotation, your deeper muscles will move automatically as a reflex action. This exercise targets the back of your shoulders, torso, legs, upper back and legs. Fasten the resistance band around a tree or any solid stationary object. Assume a hip-wide stance and stand sideways to where you’ve anchored the band. Place the ends of the band over each other. Hold the ends with the hand of the arm that is farthest from tree. Place your other hand on your hip. Keep your torso stable and slightly bend your knees. Lunge laterally with the leg that is farthest from the tree. Rotate your upper body. At the same time, bring your gesture arm forward and over the front leg. Slightly bend your moving arm in the same way that you would perform a backhand stroke. Return to your starting position. Reverse your position to perform the lunge on the other side and work your body evenly.
Lunge and Chest Pull
The combined movement of this exercise strengthens not only the front of your shoulders but also your trunk, chest, legs and buttocks. Begin with the same starting position as the lunge and shoulder-pull exercise, but hold the ends of the band with the hand that is nearest to where you’ve anchored the band. Lunge sideways with the leg that is farthest away from the anchored point. Rotate your upper body, bringing your arm forward and over your lead leg. Turn the palm of your gesture hand upward so that the movement resembles a forehand stroke. Reverse your position and repeat the exercise with the other side of your body.
Kay Tang is a journalist who has been writing since 1990. She previously covered developments in theater for the "Dramatists Guild Quarterly." Tang graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and political science from Yale University and completed a Master of Professional Studies in interactive telecommunications at New York University.