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51m ago

Tennis stronger service
Dear Doc

I've recently taken up tennis to help with my exercise program and loose some weight. How do I strengthen my forearm and especially my backhand as this tends to be my weaker side when I hit the ball. I also tend to have a weak ankle, what can I do as warming up exercises?
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FitnessDoc
fitnessdoc

01 Jan 0001

HI Cindy

As someone who has just started tennis, I would think that timing is the one area where most of your power can be improved. In otherwords, it's not a case of stronger is better, but just of who is able to time the ball the best. If you look at the best tennis players, they often are not the biggest and strongest (Serena Williams excluded), and that's because in tennis, you don't really rely on strength, but rather on timing. Therefore, my advice would be to improve your technique, and whether you do this by consulting a coach or by just practicing with friends who can perhaps advise you is up to you, but technique is certainly where it's at.

As for the ankle, stretching well before is a good idea, although if the ankle problem is caused by weak tendons or ligaments, then you may need to do some strengthening work for it as well. For stretching, the classic calf stretch where you lean up against a wall and push against it with your foot flat on the ground is a good one. Also try standing on the edge of a step so that your heel is hanging down below the level of the step and do the same stretch. This helps to stretch much lower down and deeper.

For strength, try standing on the edge of a step and then raise your whole body up just using the calf and moving around the ankle joint only - these are called heel raises, and it's important that your ankle drops down below the level of the step, and then rises again. If you do this 3 times a day, doing 10 reps each time, you'll help that ankle get stronger.

Good luck
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