3 exercises to prep your legs for tennis

Playing tennis puts your body into positions that are irregular in everyday life. Whether this is due to the nature of the game, including many lateral movements, or just down to throwing yourself around the court with a competitive will to win, it is important to make sure your legs are prepared.

Petersen squat:

This exercise is used to strengthen the VMO to stabilise the knee when moving forwards or backwards, great for catching those drop shots and attacking the net.

To make sure this is performed correctly:

  • Put the foot of the working leg on a box (start low and build height as you get stronger).
  • Make sure you are on the ball of your foot.
  • With the other leg, bring the heel inline with the ball of the working foot and draw your toes up so you are not pushing off that foot.
  • Push yourself up and your heel to the ground.

VIDEO Petersen

Lateral squat:

This is great for strengthening glutes and adductor muscles, stabilising your sideways movements and improving your change of direction.

Perform this well by:

  • Standing in a wide stance.
  • Sitting down the side, keeping your other leg straight.
  • Make sure as you sit into the squat, your knee is taking over your toes.

VIDEO Lateral squat


Used to strengthen hamstrings and to challenge balance or stability, arabesques are a great exercise for tennis as strong hamstrings can help you go from sprint to stop quickly.

To do this:

  • Stand on one leg, keeping a straight line from head to the non standing heel.
  • Keep the knee of the standing leg soft.
  • Lean until you are as close to horizontal as possible, keeping a straight line from head to the non standing heel and hips square to the floor.

VIDEO Arabesque

Stewart Challis is a personal trainer with a wealth of experience and a BSc(Hons) in Sports & Exercise Science.  A former National sprinter himself, Stewart understands the steps necessary to achieve whatever goal you set out to achieve. This experience, combined with his calm, considered nature and thoughtful attention to detail in programme design make him an asset to our personal training team.

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