One of the most important physical attributes in tennis is your lateral speed and agility. Research shows that in a tennis match, lateral movement accounts for 70% of all movement. During one match, each player will make over 1,000 directional changes. In addition, only 15% of all shots will require a competitor to run more than 8 feet.
These statistics clearly illustrate how important lateral speed and agility is in tennis. Below is a simple routine that specifically targets the muscles used during lateral movement. Repeat this program once a week for 6 weeks and you will see a noticeable difference in your quickness on the court!
1. Lateral Bounds
Plyometric exercises, such as the lateral bound, are most effective immediately following your warm-up. This plyometric will increase your lateral power and speed. Minimize your touch time with the ground. Perform 3 sets of 12-16 reps. Rest 90 seconds in between sets.
2. BOSU Lateral Shuffle
Quick changes of direction on the BOSU ball will improve your lateral agility. The unstable surface will also improve your overall balance and core strength. Minimize touch time with the ground as you shuffle side to side. Perform 3 sets of 30 reps. Rest 90 seconds in between sets.
3. Crossover Step Up
Using a knee height box or bench, step up and across your body. This exercise will strengthen the muscles used during the crossover step. Along with the shuffle, the crossover step is frequently used in tennis to laterally recover. Perform 3 sets of 6-8 reps for each leg. Rest 90 seconds in between sets.
4. Dumbbell Lateral Lunge
The eccentric phase of this exercise lengthens the adductors, increasing lateral mobility. The lateral lunge will also strengthen the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. Perform 3 sets of 24-30 reps. Rest 90 seconds in between sets.
Whether your goal is to win your club championship, or just gain bragging rights over a friend, this quick routine will pay great dividends!