Greater emphasis on sport-specific training has certainly contributed to this increase in power of the modern serve. Whether you are a weekend warrior or an aspiring professional, you too can benefit greatly from hitting the gym! Below are five exercises that specifically target muscles used on the serve. Perform these five exercises once per week in the gym and you will see a noticeable improvement in the power of your serve!
1. Overhead Squat
The squat develops strength in the glutes and quads, which initiate the kinetic chain on the serve. The isometric hold of the barbell overhead also helps develop flexibility in the hips, back, and shoulders. Start by using a broomstick and perform 3 sets of 15 reps.
2. Overhead Medicine Ball Throw
This exercise mimics the kinetic chain used on the serve. It will primarily develop explosive power in the latissimus dorsi and triceps. The overhead throw will also help strengthen your core and get those glutes firing more explosively. Use a 4-6 lb medicine ball and complete 3 sets of 15 reps.
3. Medicine Ball Chest Pass
The muscles of the chest and shoulder are used during the forward and upward acceleration phase of the serve. The medicine ball chest pass will help develop explosive power in the pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, and triceps. Use a 10-12 lb medicine ball and complete 3 sets of 15 reps.
4. Side Plank
The side plank really targets the obliques, which stabilize the core during the rotational movement of the serve. As an isometric, the side plank will also serve to prevent injury to the core and hips. Hold the side plank on both the left and right sides for 3 sets of 30 seconds.
5. Forearm Pronation
Forearm pronation is the last and most powerful link of the serve. Strong pronators will help increase the power and spin of your serve. It will also help prevent injuries to the wrist and elbow. With your elbow rested on a bench, use a weighted racquet or hammer to pronate and supinate your forearm. Perform 3 sets of 15 reps.
Copy the pros and supplement your on-court practice with an off-court training routine. It will be a difference maker!