Why Do Tennis Players Need Strength? (In-Depth Explanation)

When you look at professional tennis players, most of them are not extremely muscular. Still, strength and muscles are important in tennis. But why do tennis players need strength?

Tennis players need strength to generate power and speed. In addition, strength is important for agility, muscular endurance, and flexibility. Strength can also help prevent and reduce muscle injuries.

While playing tennis, strength is used in several ways and contributes to a player’s overall performance. Therefore, it is good to know exactly why strength is important in tennis, and how a tennis player can best train their strength.

Why is Strength Important For a Tennis Player?

Strength is important for pretty much every sport. The type of strength necessary may differ, but with most sports, you use several groups of muscles.

These muscles need to be strong enough to help you perform and hopefully win you some matches.

Strength is a crucial factor for several aspects of playing tennis. For example, strength helps create more power, facilitates good muscular endurance, and helps with speed.

Besides this, strong muscles also help prevent injury.

During tennis, you make a lot of unilateral movements, and repetition is a given. This facilitates muscular imbalance, and that makes your muscles prone to injury.

The stronger your muscles are, the more they can take before any signs of injury start to come up.

So, is strength good for tennis?

Strength is very important for tennis players. Strength alone is important to hit the best shots, but it’s also crucial for other aspects in tennis. Endurance, which is especially important in tough matches, also benefits from strength. Besides that, strength reduces the risk of injuries, which might be one of the most important benefits of strong muscles.

How is Strength Used in Tennis?

Strength is used in several aspects of tennis, one of those being endurance. Endurance isn’t necessary to hit a good shot, but it is necessary if you want to keep hitting good shots over a period of time.

The stronger your muscles are, the more they will be able to endure. Strong muscles will last a whole match, while weak muscles might not even make it past the first set.

Strength is also used for speed and power. This might seem obvious, but it’s not unimportant.

Groundstrokes hit an average speed between 70 and 85 miles per hour in professional tennis.

While this is partly achieved by good technique and balance, strength also plays a significant role.

That’s why male tennis players often hit faster and more powerful balls than female players.

There are several kinds of strength, maximum strength being the best-known one. Maximum strength refers to how much force your muscles can handle at once.

Another kind of strength is pretty important in tennis, though, namely explosive strength. This refers to how quickly your muscles can produce a certain movement.

While maximum strength is important as it can help with adding power to shots, explosive strength is the most important in tennis.

This is because tennis is an explosive sport where players have to react quickly to the ball and run fast and short distances.

Should Tennis Players Lift Weights?

Weight lifting can definitely be beneficial for tennis players since it’s a relatively simple way of strengthening your muscles.

Weightlifting for tennis does not usually consist of the heaviest weights available. Instead, the focus is on repetition.

In tennis, you make a lot of the same movements, and your muscles need to be ready for a lot of small moments of exercise with little rest in between.

Therefore lifting lighter weights for more repetitions is more beneficial for tennis players than lifting heavy weights only a few times.

Tennis is a bit one-sided. Especially players who have a single-handed backhand will use one side of their body way more than the other.

This can cause muscular imbalance, which makes your muscles prone to injury. Weight lifting is an excellent way of reducing muscular imbalance.

Another benefit of lifting weight as a tennis player is strengthening your arms and shoulders, which you use intensively during tennis matches.

How to Build Strength For Tennis (6 Tips)

Anyone can look up strength workouts, but not every workout is suitable for tennis players.

Different muscles might need training, and there are some tips and tricks to keep in mind if you want to fully benefit from a strength workout for tennis.

1. Don’t overlook lateral movement

Lateral movement refers to the ability to move sideways. Since this isn’t as important in many sports, most workout and training programs leave this out.

In tennis, however, lateral movement is crucial.

During a tennis match, your lower body will move sideways a lot, so it’s important to make the muscles used during those lateral movements stronger.

An excellent exercise to do so is the lateral lunge. When this gets too easy, you can add dumbbells or other weights to increase intensity.

2. Prevent rotator cuff injuries

Shoulders are among the most important body parts in tennis. This is why the area is prone to injuries and therefore an important area to strengthen.

There are four tendons and muscles in your shoulder that help your arm roll in its socket without trouble; this is called the rotator cuff.

If these muscles aren’t strong enough and get injured, playing tennis might become impossible due to the pain.

You can strengthen these muscles with internal and external rotations. You don’t have to use heavy weights, but it is recommended to use some sort of dumbbell.

3. Do exercises while standing

While there are some exceptions to this rule, you should do most strength exercises for tennis in a standing position.

This is because you spend most of your time standing up during a tennis match.

You can benefit from strengthening all of your muscles. Still, the muscles you use during tennis should be the ones you focus on.

4. Variation is important

It is common knowledge that repetition is crucial to get better at something or strengthen a certain skill.

That is definitely the case, but you should also keep some variation in your workouts.

Not only does variation increase your overall progress, but it also decreases the risk of injuries to muscles you use too often.

Some strength exercises you can do that vary from each other are goblet squats, the Russian twist, and toe touches.

5. Train the whole body

Speaking of variation, tennis is a sport where many muscles get used.

Obviously, the shoulders are important, but so are the wrists. Hamstrings should not be overlooked, and neither should the hips.

Upper body strength is needed too, but muscular legs might be even more important.

While some muscles do require more strength in tennis than others, it’s easy to forget that you need more than just your arms in tennis.

6. Don’t just focus on power and acceleration

Most players tend to focus on power and acceleration whenever they want to work on their strength.

Force absorption gets put on the backburner, which is a very important aspect of tennis. During a game of tennis, you will be starting and stopping a lot.

Good force absorption can help you get into position better and make your joints less prone to injury.


Just like with most sports, strength is important in tennis as well. It improves your performance as strength contributes to agility, speed, and power.

Strong muscles also have a reduced risk of injury.

Weight lifting is a great way to strengthen muscles and reduce the muscular imbalance. Still, there are some other exercises you can do as well.

Focus on variation and the whole body, and then you will be in perfect shape for your next match!

(Click here to learn more about the different physical demands for tennis)

Brian Henderson

I am what you might call a true tennis fanatic. When I am not on the tennis court teaching or playing myself, I am probably writing an informative article about tennis. My goal is to get as many people as possible excited and informed about tennis.
March 11, 2022
Published: March 11, 2022