Summer has finally arrived in full force – and for many of us, this means we get to participate in the sports we’ve missed all winter such as tennis, softball, swimming, paddle sports and surfing.
As a Personal Trainer and Fitness Expert, I always encourage people to get their exercise by participating in activities they enjoy because you’re much more likely to stay motivated this way. That said, there’s one possible negative to throwing yourself into summer sports. For those of us who don’t do sport-specific training throughout the year, our bodies may not be prepared for the sudden demands of the sports we enjoy.
Here are a few simple exercises that’ll help prepare you for your favorite summer sports. Although this is by no means an exhaustive list, they’re a few of my favorites that I use to get my clients in fighting shape for summer. To strengthen the shoulder stabilizing muscles for softball, swimming and tennis or other racquet sports, try:
Start in a plank position on your hands and toes. Have a 2-5 lb weight on the outside of your left hand. Lift your left arm off of the ground and pick up the weight with your left hand. Place the weight in the middle of the mat, underneath your chest. Pick your right arm up off the ground, then pick the weight up and transfer the weight to the outside on the right hand. Keep your pelvis stable and control the weight at all times. Pass the weight back and forth four to eight times. To make this exercise easier, perform the plank from your knees.
Start in a plank position on your hands and feet. Make sure your shoulders are over the top of your hands. Make a loop with a band and tie the band around your wrists. Place a weight on the outside of your left arm. Step your left hand up onto the weight without letting your hips or shoulders switch positions. Do five reps and switch sides. To make this exercise easier, perform the plank from your knees.
For this exercise you need a stability ball and a small weighted 1-2 lb medicine ball. If you don’t have a medicine ball, a softball will do the trick. Lie on your stomach on a stability ball holding the weighted ball in your right hand. Place your arm out to the side at a 90-degree angle with your knuckles facing the ceiling. Drop the ball from your hand, and as the ball falls towards the floor rotate your arm (but keep the angle at your elbow at 90 degrees) and catch the ball. Rotate your arm back to the starting position then repeat ten times. Switch and repeat on the opposite side.
Stand on your right foot. Imagine a square of dots surrounding your right foot. Your starting position is “home”. Jump from “home” to one of the dots. Jump back to “home” and continue to jump to different dots 12 to 20 times. Then switch legs and repeat.
Start by lying on your stomach. Bend at your right knee and use your right bum muscle to lift your right leg up. Continue to lift the leg and hip and rotate your body so your right foot moves towards the floor on the left side of your body. Repeat 10 times and switch.
Take an 8 lb weight and come down into a lunge position with your right knee on the dome side of a bosu and your left foot on a sit-fit cushion or some kind of unstable wobble board. Start holding the single weight with both hands at your chest. Hold the leg position (it’s actually harder then you think) as you press the weight straight out in front of you 10 times. To make the exercise harder, lift the back toe off the ground. Switch and repeat on other side.
Hold a light weight (1-3 lb) in each hand. Straighten your arms out in front of your chest. Alternate rowing one arm at a time in a bow and arrow fashion. As your right arm rows, turn your head to the right. Switch and repeat 10 to 12 times. To make it harder, lift your back toe off the ground.