Tennis Strength Training Program
Please consult your physician before starting this or any exercise program. This program can
be performed 2-3 times per week out of season with a day of rest in between sessions. In- season
sessions should be performed 1-2 times a week. Beginners should start with one set of 8-12
repetitions per exercise. Intermediate and advanced exercisers, with a strength training history,
can start with 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions per exercise. Read the entire exercise descriptions and
tips. Perform a dynamic warm-up for 5 minutes before starting this program. A dynamic warm-
up is available from our site. Follow each workout session with a 5 minute cool down consisting
of light cardiovascular work and light stretching. Perform the exercises in the order they are
Equipment Needs: A 4 or 6lb. medicine ball, one medium size cone, a pair of light dumbbells
2-6lbs., an exercise mat, a 55 or 65cm stability ball.
1. Medicine Ball Chops: Torso has to handle the forces of acceleration and deceleration. Start
will ball overhead, feet spread wide with toes pointing forward. Perform an act of chopping in
front of body, arms stay straight keeping the ball away from body. Sink into a squat at the bottom
of chop. Then swing the ball back to overhead position, along the same line while standing up.
Repeat. See photos below. Tip: Perform the squat with good form, hips going back as if to sit in
a chair. Keep knees over the feet, no knock-knees. Start with a light ball (4lbs).
Start Position End Position
2. Medicine Ball Angle Chops: Start with ball over left shoulder. Feet spread wider than hips
with toes pointing forward. Chop the ball down across the body while going into a mini squat.
Pivot on the ball of the left foot while chopping, right foot stays pointed forward. Bring ball back
up to starting position along the same line of chop. Repeat. See photos below.
Tip: Keep arms relatively straight and pivot on the ball of the foot opposite of the side of chop.
Start Position End Position
3. Medicine Ball Torso Twists: Start with feet hip width apart, knees slightly bent and hold a
light medicine ball at your waist, staying neutral in the core. Hold elbows in to body and bent
at 90 degrees. Start action by twisting the torso to one side while keeping the ball in front of
your body. Continuously twist the torso side to side while doing a pivot on the opposite foot.
See photo below. Tip: Initiate the action from the core, it is not just swinging the ball with the
arms side to side. Add difﬁculty by pushing the ball farther from the core.
4. Squat Variations: (Single leg squats & cone touch, dumbbell squat presses, squats with a
Single leg squats & cone touch. Squat on one foot, keep the knee over and behind the foot while
bending over to touch a cone with the opposite hand. When squatting, take the hip back and stick
the buttocks out as if to sit back in a chair. It is important to squat ﬁrst and reach second. No
wobbly knees. Return to an upright starting position each time. Tip: Position cone about a foot
away from your front foot. Work one leg at a time. See photo below.
Dumbbell squat presses. Start in a standing position while holding a
pair of light dumbbells at shoulder height with feet under hips and
knees slightly bent. Start squat by taking hips back as if to sit in a
chair. Sink down into the squat while holding knees over feet, don’t
take hips below the knees. Rise up out of squat and press the
dumbbells overhead and then return to start position at shoulder
height. See photos below right. Tip: Don’t over arch the back while
pressing overhead, hold a neutral position in the core.
Single leg squat
Squats with a rotational press. Perform a squat
while holding a pair of light dumbbells at shoulder
height. See pic at right. Take hips back as if to sit
in a chair and hold the knees over the feet that are
positioned under the hips. Then rise out of squat
and turn the torso to one side and perform an
overhead press. Do a pivot on the ball of the
opposite foot. Twist torso back to starting position
and then repeat the exercise with a twist and press
to the other side. Tip: Make the rise out of the
squat along with a twist and press a continuous
movement. See Photo below. If an athlete can’t Dumbbell Squat Overhead Press
steady the dumbbells and lacks strength and control use a
light body bar instead of dumbbells.
5. Body Weight Modiﬁed Push-ups: Start in a push-up position, on your knees, on a mat with
hands spread wider than the shoulders. Avoid an excessive low back arch, stay neutral in the
core. Slowly lower chest down close to the mat, (shoulders should not go below elbows) then
push body back up to starting position by extending the arms. Don’t let the hips touch in the
Notes on the squat variations:
action. Once you have mastered this exercise with good form, try a traditional push-up off of
your toes. Tip: Keep the body straight, don’t pop the hips up and down and don’t over arch your
low back. See photo below.
Modiﬁed push-up on knees
6. Lunge Variations: (Stationary lunges with arm (bicep) curl, traveling lunges with torso twist,
side lunges with a reach and press overhead). Stationary lunges with an arm curl. Start in a
standing position with feet hip width, while holding a pair of light dumbbells in each hand
down at the sides. Take a comfortable right lunge step forward, hit with the heel ﬁrst and then
rock to the ball of the foot. Hold knee over the foot. Don’t over or under lunge, there should be
a 90 degree angle at the knee joints. Keep torso upright and don’t bang the trailing knee
against the ﬂoor. Perform a bicep curl when you lunge with palms facing inward. Push off
the right heel and back to return to the starting position. Alternate legs. See photo below left.
Tip: Very important to hold the knee over the foot and lunge at the right length with the torso
Forward lunge Lunge & twist Side lunges with a reach
Traveling lunges with a torso twist. You can use light dumbbells held at chest or a light medicine
ball. Perform a lunge as described above with great form but add in a torso twist as you lunge.
Twist to the same side as forward leg. Keep the weight at chest height. In order to travel across
the room with this exercise just rise out of the lunge by extending the right leg and by bringing
the left foot forward to meet the right foot and stand up. Alternate the legs as you travel across
the room. See pic above center. Tip: Always hold the knee over the foot on the lunge with torso
upright... it is more difﬁcult to do this when twisting.
Side lunges with a reach and press overhead. Start in an upright standing position with feet hip
width and holding a pair of light dumbbells or a light medicine ball at chest height. Lunge out to
the side with foot pointing forward and trailing leg extended. The right hip must go back so the
knee doesn’t protrude in front of the foot. Sit down in the lunge but don’t take the hip below the
knee. Reach the weight out in front as if to put it on your shoe laces. Push off the inner part of
the foot to return to upright position and then press the weight overhead. Repeat with a left side
lunge with a reach and overhead press. See pic above right. Tip: Keep toe pointed forward and
push the hip back during the side lunge. Reach out at the same time you lunge. Also, don’t over
arch the back when pressing overhead.
7. T-Stabilizations: Start in a push-up position on a bench with hands close together and feet as
wide as shoulders. Hips must be down so the body is straight. Take one hand off the bench and
rotate the body open, arm extended with palm facing forward. Form a T with your body. Roll
from toes to the sides of the feet at the same time. Hold this position for 2-3 seconds then
rotate the torso back to starting position and repeat with the other hand. See pic at right. Tip:
Keep body straight, don’t pop hips up and down. Make sure
bench does not move. To increase the difﬁculty bring feet
8. Stability ball Crunches With A Twist: Start by sitting straight up on top of a stability ball for
your size, knees bent and feet a bit wider than hips. To get in a table top position out on the ball
inch your feet forward, slowly, while laying back on the ball. Hold onto the ball if you feel
uncomfortable or unstable. Shoulder blades are touching, core is engaged and the body is laying
ﬂat out. Position ﬁnger tips behind the ears and rest head back into hands. To perform a crunch,
Notes on your lunge variations:
squeeze the abs and curl your upper body up off the ball about 30 degrees and then twist the
torso as if to take the elbow to the opposite knee. Descend slowly, touch shoulders and repeat the
action with a twist to the other side. See pics below. Tip: Don’t bounce hips up and down or pull
on the head and neck much. Don’t over arch the back and
drop head down the backside while on the ball.
Starting table top position End position after twist
9. Stability Ball Back Extensions: Start by kneeling on a mat
behind a 55 or 65 cm stability ball. Roll out over top of it until
the hips are under the ball. Spread feet wide behind for a good
base of support. Keep knees bent slightly. Cross hands at chest
or behind head. Slowly drop down your upper body in front of
the ball, (draping over it). Then squeeze the muscles in your
back and glutes and reverse the direction and curl up off the
ball until your body is straight. Repeat. See photo at right. Tip:
Don’t bounce up and down on the ball. Just curl the upper
body up from the draped
position, don’t over arch.
Back Extension pic above
10.Scarecrows: For rotator cuff work. Start by standing with the
back of your body up against a wall, feet away about 5-6
inches. Hold the elbows directly out from the shoulders and
lightly pressed back against the wall. Right hand up and back
against the wall and left hand down with palm against the wall.
Exercise starts when you simultaneously rotate the right palm
down and the top of left hand up to touch the wall. Repeat these opposite rotations slowly all
while staying up against the wall. Tip: Must keep elbows high, that can be a challenge and
keep a 90 degree angle at both elbow joints. See pic above. Increase the difﬁculty by holding
a pair of 2lb. dumbbells.
11. Dumbbell Wrist Curls: Sit on a bench, chair or stability ball with feet
hip width and knees bent at 90 degrees. Hold a pair of light dumbbells and
rest the back of your forearms on your thighs positioned so the wrists are
not in contact. To start the exercise extend the wrists down over knees and
then reverse the motion and proceed to curl the weight up while ﬂexing
the wrist. Get full ﬂexion and extension. Go slow through the range of
motion. See pic at right. Tip: Don’t let the dumbbells roll out of your hand
into your ﬁngers, keep the dumbbell tucked securely in the palm. The
stability ball will increase the balance demands and work the legs, hips
and core a little as well.
Seated wrist curls
12. Stability Ball Triple Threat: (hip bridge, hip tuck and hip lift): This is a series of 3
exercises that work the back side of the body, low back, glutes and hamstrings. Many female
athletes are weak in these 3 areas. Beginners take a break in between each exercise. Intermediate
and advanced exercisers, perform these right in a row with no rest in between. See photos and
Hip bridge: Start with feet and ankles directly on top of a 55 or 65 cm stability ball. Lift hips up
and down continuously without touching the ﬂoor each time. Keep head and neck relaxed
and down on the mat. Keep the ball still. Tip: Lift the hips as high as you can without pressure or
pain to the spine. Press hands down on the mat for control. See photos below.
Hip tuck: While holding the hips up off the mat, with body in a bridged position, squeeze the
hamstrings and pull the ball in toward the buttocks. Let the ball out and repeat the motion. Keep
hips up the entire time. Keep head and neck relaxed and down on the mat. Tip: Move the
stability ball in and out in a smooth rhythmic motion.
Hip lift: Similar to the hip bridge, but position the feet down the front of the stability ball about a
quarter for starting position, (just above center). Perform hip lifts again, as in the hip bridge,
without touching the hips down on the ﬂoor each time. Tip: Knees should remain slightly bent
throughout the repetitions.
Notes on the Triple Threat:
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If you have questions on how to perform the exercises in this program, please feel free to e-mail
Female Athletes First
P.O. Box 133
Summit Station, Ohio 43073-0133