The shoulder in tennis (II)

In the first part of this article, we explained a little about the tennis shoulder joint (rotator muscles) and we saw the main stretches to perform to prevent injuries. Now, it is the turn of the strengthening exercises , which together with these stretches, will make up a preventive program that will also be reflected in an improvement in our performance .

By performing these exercises, we will be able to increase our muscular endurance and increase our strength levels in the region that interests us, which are the rotator muscles , focusing on those in the back (the most weakened), in charge of executing the external rotation. shoulder.

To carry out this type of exercise, we do not need to use large loads since they are small muscles, initially with a weight of half a kilo will be enough.

We will start by doing three series of between 15 and 20 repetitions , and when we are able to perform this volume of work with ease, we will increase the load from 200 to 200 grams.

We must focus on performing a perfect execution from the first to the last repetition, recruiting all the work in the muscles that we are interested in strengthening, avoiding the incidence of other muscles, that is why we are not interested in using large weights.

Next, we are going to look at a series of strengthening exercises focused on the external rotator and scapular muscles.

Strengthening exercises

1. External rotation to the side

Lying on your side, we place a rolled towel or similar under the arm to work. We keep the elbow flexed at 90º and glued to the side. In this position, we raise the weight performing an external rotation of the shoulder, we make a small pause of 2-3 seconds at the top and slowly lower it in approximately 8 seconds. In the following video it is clearly exemplified.

We can also do this exercise standing up using an elastic band or a pulley.

2. Shoulder extension

Lying face down on a bench dropping the arm that we are going to work so that it is stretched perpendicular to the bench. With the palm facing up, we raise the arm stretched out towards the hip and then lower it slowly. In the following video, the exercise is not performed lying face down and the palm is neutral instead of supinated.

3. Horizontal abduction face down

In the same initial position as the previous exercise, we will now abduct so that our arm is parallel to the ground and perpendicular to our body.

4. External rotation upside down

We lie down as in the previous one, worse now instead of having our arm extended, we flex the elbow at 90º while keeping the arm at a right angle to the trunk. From this position, keeping the shoulder and elbows fixed, we turn the shoulder externally so that our forearm is parallel to the ground. In the following video, it is performed on an inclined bench and with both arms at the same time.

Another variant would be to run it with a rubber band or on a pulley.

5. External rotation of the foot at 90º of abduction

In the sitting or standing position (with a dumbbell or rubber band), we raise the arm forward to 90º (shoulder height) and flex the elbow to 90º as well. The arm and forearm must be in a horizontal position with respect to the ground, we can help ourselves with the free hand to support the weight of the arm to work by placing it at the elbow, if we do it sitting we can support the dominant arm on the knee, as is the case of the following video. Next, we move the forearm to the vertical position by externally turning the shoulder, keep a second up and slowly descend to the starting position.

Finally, say that it is important to start with very light weights . In the case of using a 0.5 kg dumbbell to begin with, it is enough, if we use elastic bands, we must choose those that offer less resistance.


  • “Complete Physical Preparation for tennis” (2007). Paul Roetert, Todd S. Ellenbecker and USTA.