The U.S. Open Tennis Championships continue through Sunday in New York City. Last week we discussed exercises to add power to your tennis swing. This week we continue the conversation with certified tennis pro, Lisa Dollard. She’s also a professional pickleball instructor and co-owner of a publishing company that produces magazines including Pickleball Magazine.
One of Dollard’s favorite pieces of gym equipment is the sled. In training sessions, she focuses on building strength in the lower body that transfers to the upper body for powerful shots. “I like pulling the sled because it works the glutes and hamstrings,” Dollard explains. “It also helps you push off to get the short balls and when you’re running across the court for the deep shots. It strengthens the entire back and core at the same time.”
Dollard says some women shy away from using sleds because they’re simply not familiar or comfortable with the idea. “You can start with just the sled without any weights to get the feeling on how to work your hands and legs in opposite directions.” The sled attaches to the body by a harness for pulling exercises. Push the sled for additional exercises.
A few of Dollard’s favorite sled exercises include:
Bear Crawl Sled Drags
• Dollard demonstrated this exercise without the sled during our recent on-court interview (see photo). Crawl forward by alternating the legs. Hands move in opposition to legs.
• Wear a harness and attach it to the sled. Pull the sled behind you…with or without weights.
Stand behind the sled and push across the room
Backward Sled Pull
• Stand facing the sled with harness/rope in hands
• Walk backwards to pull the sled across the room
Sled Pull with Lateral Walk
• Side of the body faces the sled (face ¼ turn from the sled)
• Pull sled using harness/rope
• Walk laterally, crossing the trailing foot in front of the leading foot
• Reverse sides
Dollard describes these strength-building exercises as “amazing” and among her favorites. Try adding a sled to your training routine and unleash your power on the court…and off!