Athletes of all levels and sports will take a keen interest in this fascinating and tennis-centric piece that ran in the New York Times’ Play magazine section this past weekend. (Click here to read it.) It turns out that touching your toes and performing other old-school stretching exercises during your warm up is a bad, self-defeating habit. According to sports medicine experts, a stretched-out muscle “becomes less responsive and stays weakened for up to 30 minutes after stretching, which is not how an athlete wants to begin a workout.”
Tennis is on the forefront of the new, “dynamic stretching” routines that increase power, flexibility and range of motion when done prior to the main event. The best thing about the article is that it includes a video interview with Mark Kovacs, manager of sports science for the United States Tennis Association in Boca Raton, Fla., explaining the benefits of dynamic stretching and showing a tennis-specific routine that will really freak out your opponent if you do it before your match. (See the “Scorpion” diagram above.)
Happy reading and happy playing!