It is very important to understand exactly what your core is and what does it. To start with, there's a lot more to it than having a six-pack.
The core essentially runs from your upper chest to the bottom of your pelvis and provides both static and dynamic stabilization. The muscles are used to breathe, provide support for sitting upright and standing, and to stabilize your torso for all movements both on and off the court.
The muscles of your legs that start, stop and change direction when you’re playing work the best when there is a strong and conditioned core supporting them. Your spine extends, flexes and rotates when you're swinging a racket, and a well-trained core helps with injury prevention as well as performance enhancement.
There are two types of core strengthening and conditionally exercises. Here’s an example of each one:
Bodyweight – The Plank
I got a special visit all the way from Australia from 2 of my biggest fans, Jennifer and Aimee. They have been doing the Nike Training App workouts everyday (yes, EVERY day!!) and wanted to do this pose together. I warned them my food intake the last two days was excessive but they still went for it????
Lie face down on the floor with your feet together and forearms on the ground and your elbows in line underneath your shoulders. Draw your abs in and tighten your glutes as you lift your entire body off the floor to form a straight line from head to toe, resting your body weight only on your forearms and toes. Hold this position for 15 seconds, and slowly return body to the starting position on floor. Repeat two more times.
Equipment training – Anti-rotation with resistance bands
Secure a resistance band to a fixed object at shoulder height on your right side. Standing in a comfortable athletic posture, place both arms out straight in front of you at shoulder height, securely holding the band. Move laterally to your left to create tension in the band, and continue breathing but resist the urge to allow your torso to turn. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat two more times.
Gary Kitchell is a sports specific physical therapist, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and a USPTA teaching professional. He has worked with 15 former number No. 1 players including John McEnroe, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and Ivan Lendl. Learn more at kitchtennisrx.com.