What you need to know about tennis stretching 

By Sigurd Neubauer

09/07/2022

Dancer and personal trainer Hikari Miller has developed a warmup and cooldown regiment for tennis players of all levels, which she shares with Man & Culture.

She is a celebrated dancer, but a serious accident in 2019 almost brought Miller’s 10-year long career to an abrupt end. It was close. “I never thought I would ever be able to walk again, let alone danse,” Miller says as she had to have her entire kneecap replaced. “Instead, I came back seven times stronger through rigorous strength training and iron discipline,” the dancer explains while adding that she now even competes as a “Red Bull dancer.” 

She belongs to the dance company Urban Artistry, which has won national and international recognition for its innovative art form. Its work  has also been featured at the Library of Congress. 

But Miller’s rendezvous with destiny has also inspired her to help others, which is why she built a personal training practice where she supports clients ranging from Olympic-level athletes to wheelchair bound-people with Multiple sclerosis.

Building on her competitive dance experience, which requires absolute flexibility, Miller has in the process developed her own stretching and strength program for tennis players to avoid injuries. She is currently working with several top-ranking dancers, athletes and college tennis players.

In an interview, Miller emphasizes the importance of a proper warmup before playing but says that it shouldn’t last more than 20 minutes. 

“30 percent of tennis related injuries occur when the player loses his balance,” which is why the warmup is critical,” she explains.

Miller adds that without the proper warmup, the player won’t be able “to get into the zone” mentally, which ultimately takes away from the match. “One can easily lose 30 minutes of play-time before being able to fully concentrate on the game.”

This holds true for dancing as well, Miller concedes. It was only after her injury that Miller came to fully appreciate the need for a holistic approach to athletics and overall wellbeing.  

Now she’s applying her hard-earned experience to tennis.

Miller performs the ‘wrist roll’ exercise

For the tennis warmup, Miller’s emphasis is on dynamic stretching, frontal motions, sagittal motions and transverse. It includes:

Wrist rolls;  figure eight clasping hands together.

Shoulder shrug exercise.

‘T’ exercise; 10x.

Reverse launches: 15 seconds .

Side to side low gallops: 15 seconds

Ninja (AKA curtsey launchess); five each side. 

10 football stretches. Stand with feet completely parallel and a little wider than shoulder width apart. Place the elbow on knees, clasp hands, and straighten legs keeping hands connected.

Frankenstein’s; 12 alternating steps.

Airplanes, six each leg. 



The 'shoulder shrug' exercise, part one

But equally important to the warmup, Miller explains, is the cooldown after playing. 

For this, she recommends static stretching, myofascial release, slow and deep breaths.

She recommends:

“Stretch by sitting down for 30 seconds.  Sit on a foam roller for 30 seconds for each hip.  Then comes the ‘Calf stretch,’ standing 20 seconds on each leg.  Bend forward and touch your toes, relax for 10 seconds. Finally, slowly roll up, stacking each vertebra one by one.”

Miller also puts a premium on eating healthy and rest. “Rest is just as important as training. “In fact, it is a part of training. Your muscle fibers repair with the intake of protein and your deep REM-sleep cycle,” she adds.

One needs sleeping, strength training, eating healthy and protein intake to excel on court.

The ‘shoulder shrug’ excercise, part two

 “T” One

30 percent of tennis related injuries occur when the player loses his balance
The ‘side-to-side’ low gallop exercise, part one. It should be carried out for 15 seconds
The 'side-to-side' low gallop exercise, part two. It should be carried out for 15 seconds
Without the proper warmup, the player won’t be able 'to get into the zone' mentally, which ultimately takes away from his match: Miller 
Rest is just as important as training. Muscle fibers repair with the intake of protein and deep REM-sleep cycle: Miller
Figure 8 wrist circles
Should Shrug 1
Should Shrug 2
T 1
T2
Reverse lunges
Side to side low gallops 1
Side to side low gallops 2
Side to side low gallops 3
Side to side low gallops 4
Side to side low gallops 5
Ninja (AKA curtsey lunges) 1
Ninja (AKA curtsey lunges) 2
Ninja (AKA curtsey lunges) 3
Ninja (AKA curtsey lunges) 4
Fotball stretches
Frankenstein 1
Frankenstein 2
Frankenstein 3
Frankenstein 4
Airplane 1
Airplane 2
previous arrowprevious arrow
next arrownext arrow
Shadow

Hikari Miller’s tennis warmup program: 

Wrist rolls;  figure eight clasping hands together.

Shoulder shrug exercise.

‘T’ exercise; 10x.

Reverse launches: 15 seconds .

Side to side low gallops: 15 seconds

Ninja (AKA curtsey launchess); five each side. 

10 football stretches. Stand with feet completely parallel and a little wider than shoulder width apart. Place the elbow on knees, clasp hands, and straighten legs keeping hands connected.

Frankenstein’s; 12 alternating steps.

Airplanes, six each leg. 



Share this