Tennis courts fill up during the summer with people of all ages and all skill levels. Because of the repetitive nature of tennis, both casual players and pros alike are at risk for shoulder injuries.
Because of the shoulder’s wide range of motion, ligaments are muscles are under great stress during a match. It is important to target both external and internal rotation of the rotator cuff while strength training.
In general, the external rotators are weaker than the internal. This is often because playing tennis builds up the front shoulder muscles but doesn’t reach the back as much. The greatest stressors to this part of your shoulder are the serve and overhead. Strong muscles will help prevent overuse injuries from occurring in the future, such as chronic inflammation or rotator tears.
In addition to stretching and strengthening the external rotator cuff well, it’s important to also focus on the shoulder muscles, chest, and rotator cuff group. Muscle imbalances are a large contributor to shoulder injuries in tennis players.
Weight-training and range-of-motion exercises are best to prevent future rotator cuff injuries. Talk to your doctor about the best exercises for your injury, and try to incorporate a routine into 4 or 5 days of the week with 15-30 repetitions each.