Anyone who has used a wheelchair knows how much strength it takes to maneuver the chair for an extended period of time, so those who play wheelchair tennis must have a high level of strength and aerobic conditioning. Wheelchair tennis is a very physically demanding sport, and proper training is required to excel. Most exercises performed by people on two legs can also be also be performed by those in a wheelchair. Since being in a chair can make many movements more difficult, some argue that wheelchair tennis players must be in even better condition than traditional players. Although there are a plethora of exercises that can be implemented into a wheelchair tennis workout routine, some exercises stand out as being superior to wheelchair tennis players than others. Read below for information on three great wheelchair tennis exercises.
Wheelchair tennis is a sport that involves constant starting and stopping, and that process can be physically demanding. Thus, proper wheelchair training routines should implement a similar start and stop exercise. The power start and stop involves two players. One player lines up behind another, holding onto the back of their chair to provide resistance. The player in the front performs two wheel pushes with maximum effort, coming to a hard stop after the second push. This process is continued over the length of two courts. After completion, the players switch spots and repeat. The aim of the power start and stop is to develop a quick start, which is absolutely vital in wheelchair tennis, a quick stop, which can be equally important, and explosiveness in the hands and forearms. Anyone who has played wheelchair tennis knows the forearms are perhaps the most important muscle involved in the sport.
Towing involves a process similar to the power start and stop, involving one player holding onto the back of another's chair. The person in the front starts with explosive wheel pushes, but they continue the pushing instead of stopping. As the first player reaches top speed, the player hanging onto their chair lets go, allowing the player in the front to continue at full speed. When finished, the players switch places and repeat. The point of towing is to reach maximum speed as fast as possible. While a quick start and stop is probably the most important aspect of wheelchair tennis, high chair speed is important when chasing balls hit on the opposite side of the court.
If you do not have a partner during your wheelchair tennis training, U-Turns are a great exercise to perform. Place an empty chair to the right of your wheelchair. Pull back on your wheel, allowing it to clear the other chair, and then make a sharp 360 degree turn to the left. Push forward so the empty chair is now on your left. Repeat this process, this time turning 360 degrees to the right. You should be back where you originally started. The aim of U-Turns is to develop quickness in your turns and practice an unconventional movement needed on difficult balls that do not allow much time to reach.