Improve your tennis grip and prevent tennis elbow

When you think of improving your tennis game, are you also doing exercises to improve your tennis grip?  

Tennis games aren’t won or lost just based on who has the fastest feet on the court, but who can hit harder, serve with more force, and have the most control over the ball. But too often, we focus on increasing agility and endurance and not as much on improving grip strength and the ability to absorb force.  

Anyone who has ever played tennis regularly has likely felt twinges in their elbow, even if it didn’t progress into tennis elbow (also known as lateral epicondylitis). That pain or discomfort around the elbow is typically caused by overuse and repetitive gripping and twisting motions in the wrists and forearms.  

The best way to prevent pain in your elbow from progressing and sidelining you from the game is to regularly work on strengthening your forearms and muscle tissue. Not only will working on your forearm strength help you grip the racket tighter and have greater control over your swings and serves, but it will help lower your risk of injury. Don’t wait until you’re experiencing discomfort in your wrists or elbows to get started! The sooner you get started with these exercises, the sooner you will see improvements in your overall game, your serves, and ability to control the ball.  

4 Exercises to add to your routine to improve your tennis grip  

Full finger extension: You can do this exercise by slowly making a fist, and then with control, slowly opening and extending your fingers as wide as possible. Hold for 3-5 seconds and return to the start position. But to really improve your strength, you need to work with resistance. Try doing this exercise with the Constant Force X-Tend. The unique constant level of resistance throughout the full range of motion will challenge your intrinsic and extrinsic extensors. This will allow you to work on building range of motion, dexterity, and control.  

Wrist extensor flex: Hold one arm straight out in front of your body at shoulder height, palm facing down. With the other hand, gently pull the fingers back toward your body and hold for 15-20 seconds. Return to the start position and repeat 3 more times on each side.  

VariGrip Sport Improve your tennis grip

Hook grip exercise: The VariGrip Sport is a convenient, ergonomic, and portable hand exerciser that is designed to help improve performance across many sports, including tennis. It can help you improve your grip and keep your hands, wrists, forearms, and elbows pain-free and ready for your next game. Using the VariGrip Sport, put your fingers in the hook position, seen here. Keeping all fingers slightly bent, flex your fingers down toward the center of your palm. Hold for 3-5 seconds, return to start, and repeat. This is also a great warm-up for your hands, wrists, and forearms before your next match.  

You can also find a library of other exercises to improve your tennis grip and game performance here.

Wring out a towel: Hold a loosely rolled towel with each hand at one end of the towel. With your arms out in front of you, shoulders relaxed, twist the towel in opposite directions as though you were wringing out water. Repeat 10 times in each direction.