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Unlock Your Winning Tennis Serve! The Importance of Stretching Your Pectorals, Hip Flexors, and Biceps

The feeling of a hard-overhand smash for the winning game point or the bullet ace serve to preserve a victory can be indescribable! To accomplish this feat, your body has to work in harmony with all your joints having the mobility to act as a unit. Any dysfunction in one area, such as your ankles, can hinder your ability to generate the power needed to hit that winning shot. Because you sit most of the day at work, your body molds itself into movement patterns that aren’t conducive to a winning tennis game, even if you are taking lessons. I’m going to help you with the three body parts to stretch that can give you the mobility you need to be the consistent winning player.


#### 1. Hip Flexors


When you sit all day, your hip flexors and quadriceps are in a constant contracted position, which makes them overly tight. Over time, this pulls your hips into a forward and downward tilt, making it difficult and painful to stand up straight. Tight hip flexors and quadriceps do not allow full hip extension at the height of your overhand smash or serve. You limit your power and ability to flex your lower back and also bring your shoulder back into proper position.


**Stretching Tip:** Stretch your hip flexors and quads before and after each practice and match. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds each; you can do one or two sets of stretches.


#### 2. Biceps


Having your elbows bent while typing on your computer keeps your biceps in a constant slightly contracted state. Over time, this leads to tightness and an inability to extend your arms fully. If you can’t get full arm and shoulder extension, there is no way to get on top of the ball to hit it accurately and with power. Tight biceps can also lead to tight forearm flexors, contributing to tennis elbow. Racquet sports such as tennis have been linked to tennis elbow due to the high biomechanical stresses placed on the forearm and wrist with gripping and swinging the racquet (Abrams, Renstrom, & Safran,2012). In an overhead tennis serve, the wrist extensors must contract to assist in decelerating the forward-moving arm.


**Stretching Tip:** Perform a couple of sets of stretches for each arm before and after practice or a match to ensure your biceps have flexibility and full elbow range of motion.


#### 3. Pectorals


In performing overhead squat assessments with clients, a typical symptom seen is the arms falling forward due to tight pectoral muscles. These muscles are also typically contracted from hunching over a computer or device all day. The shoulders round and close in from hands being on a keyboard and wrapped around a phone or tablet. Leaning into your screen also adds to this tightening with a forward head position. You can see this noticeably in people who have a closed-off appearance with their shoulders. Tight chest muscles don’t allow for full shoulder retraction to get the racquet behind your head and extended for power and accuracy.


**Stretching Tip:** Bend your arm into an L position with the forearm at a 90-degree angle to your upper arm. With erect posture, lean into any doorway and hold the stretch for 20 seconds.


Practicing and working with a professional is optimal for developing a powerful and consistent service game. However, don’t underestimate the power you lose from these tight muscle groups. Integrate the stretches into your practice and training to see better results than solely working with a coach. You’re not investing time and money just to be average; take this info and raise your game to the next level!


With these simple yet effective stretches, you can unlock the full potential of your tennis serve, bringing power, accuracy, and consistency to your game. To help you further get started on your stretching, go to and click on “I’m Tired of Being in Pain”. I have an online stretching program you can do at your desk without workout clothes and special equipment! Check it out today and happy playing!

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