The U.S. Open Tennis Championships are in full swing in New York City. Want to add more power to your swing? Here are some tips from Lisa Dollard. She’s a certified tennis pro, professional pickleball instructor, and publisher of numerous magazines including Pickleball Magazine.
To power up serves, Dollard says her favorite upper body exercises include slam ball throws, kettle bell over head presses, and pull-ups.
Slam Ball Throws
Hold slam ball in both hands. Place feet hip width apart. Brace the core and lift ball overhead. Slam the ball onto the floor. Bend knees, brace core, pick up ball again, and repeat. Perform 10 – 15 reps. Repeat the set.
Kettle Bell Overhead Presses
Hold kettlebell in one hand. Bend elbow (elbow points down) with kettlebell touching the back of the hand. Place feet under hips and brace the core. Press arm overhead. Lower arm and repeat 10 – 15 reps. Switch arms. Repeat.
Dollard has strategically hung a pull-up bar in the laundry room of her home. She does two pull-ups every time she walks by… so by the end of the day, she’s performed about 10 pull-ups, building incredible upper body strength!
To add power to groundstrokes, Dollard turns to parallel woodchops, kettlebell squats, and several exercises using a sled. She says it’s critical to build strong glutes… especially for women. “Women don’t have power up here like men do,” Dollard explains while gesturing to shoulders and upper body. “We have to get power from the glutes.”
Parallel Woodchop (Note: Also a great exercise for golfers!)
This can be done using equipment like the Kiio Fit Wall Gym or by wrapping a resistance band around a fixed point like a ballet bar. Keep arms straight and side lunge away from the fixed point. Rotate shoulders and chest, leaving hips square. Return and repeat 10 – 15 times. Switch sides. Repeat. Focus on transferring power from the lower body to the upper body… great for rotational power.
Dollard uses a combination of dynamic squats and isometric holds at the bottom of the squats to build lower body strength. To perform, hold the kettlebell with both hands at chest level. Place feet outside hip width. Brace core and keep chest lifted. Hinge at the hips, dropping hips back and down to knee level or above. Perform 10-15 reps. Isometric hold for 30 seconds. Repeat reps and the hold.
Sled – Numerous exercises!
One of Dollard’s favorite ways to build power in the glutes, hamstrings, and posterior chain is to train with a sled. Next week, we look at her top sled exercises to build strength and power!
Lisa Dollard was formerly ranked #11 in the US Women’s NCAA and a four time college state champion. Collegiate state record-holder (91-1) and a member of the Clarion University Hall-of-fame. Lisa has been teaching for 24 years and has coached countless students towards top AMD and Middle States rankings as well as full collegiate scholarships. Along with teaching lessons, Lisa is also a certified Cardio Tennis instructor.