Core Strength & Stability for Tennis Players

Photo credit: Newsweek

I believe Roger Federer to be one of the most graceful tennis players of all time. He seems to move across the court with such effortless ease that I often feel he goes home and choreographs his matches. Besides having an outstanding team behind him that we all wish we had, it is his core strength and stability that gives him his dynamic court movement.

Where strength of the core was once thought of as having six pack abs, we now know this is far from the truth for core stability. Core stability, for an athlete, is about being strong enough to come back to their center of gravity. Imagine running for a wide forehand where you are reaching, almost off balance, to hit the ball. What allows you to not tip over and fall down let alone change directions to chase down the next ball? You need to be able to mobilize the mass (your body) away from the midline and bring it back to neutral as quickly as possible. In order to be able to achieve this, you want to be strong and stable yet have dynamic movement especially in the hip area. It is not about how hard you train the core, but how smart you train and the connection you make from the inside that creates this strength. The better trained these muscles are, the more efficient the transfer of energy will be throughout the whole body. The trunk needs to be trained all the way around — front, back and sides.

The core stability of the trunk focuses on five muscles:

  1. Multifidus - It’s closest to the spinal column and provides stiffness and stability to the spinal column

  2. Transverse Abdominis - Deepest muscles of the core — mostly slow twitch fibers — and built for endurance