Static Stretching for Tennis Performance

Here is another bit from my book on preparation, training and recovery for tennis players…

Static stretching is a time tested, classic technique that has performed very well in research and in the trenches when trying to lengthen a shortened muscle. Static stretching is the process of bringing a joint or joints through a specific range of motion until the first point of tension is experienced, then strictly holding this position for at least 20-30 seconds until the muscle relaxes and allows one to go through a greater range of motion. I have found that people who do not stretch statically on a regular basis and people who are really tight fair best when instructed to hold their stretches for 30-60 seconds. Each stretch should be performed for a minimum of 2-3 times. Static stretching should be performed after SMR (self Myofascial Release) and Joint Mobs prior to athletic activity and as the final part of the cool down and recovery process again after SMR.

Many people have lobbied against the use us static stretching prior to athletic activity. Typically this has come from bits and pieces of research studies that looked at someone using static stretching only one time, not regularly as this system supports. Also, one of the most notorious research study that people site when bashing static stretching has the participants stretch muscles that probably don’t need to be stretched. Please notice that static stretching is used as a single step in athletic preparation and recovery in this system, not a stand alone tool. 

For now, follow the advice in the book, if a muscle is short, it won’t be as strong as it could be if you returned it to it’s natural resting length. I am not suggestions that you put your foot behind your head, old a paint brush in between your toes and paint a masterpiece while on dancing on the Ellen Degeneres Show or while debating Stephen Colbert on the Colbert Report. Excessive range of motion can create joint instability, which is even worse than tight muscles. Typically gymnasts and figure skaters need to be ware of joint instability due to over stretching, I have NEVER met or worked with a tennis player that has done too much static stretching and either hurt themselves or caused permanent trauma to their joint capsules. However, most of the tennis players I have met or worked with, even those competing at the highest level, report not stretching enough according to their own standards. How many people have you heard say that they did not stretch-out or warm-up properly and ended injuring themselves?

 Here are some common static stretches that I recommend to most of my clients based on the assessments that I have performed and the research I have done with physical therapists, athletic trainers, chiropractors, physicians, osteopaths and orthopedic surgeons…

Thanks for reading!

Eric Beard

Corrective Exercise Specialist

Athletic Performance Enhancement Specialist

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