Stretching Tips from a Pro

Tennis player, Shelby Rogers discusses the importance of stretching before exercise and shares tips to keep you in good health. 

When power-hitter Shelby Rogers takes the court at the Volvo Car Open, the Charleston-native will be at the front end of what is a grueling season on the women’s professional tennis tour. Just before playing for her hometown fans, the 24-year old Rogers, currently ranked 61 in the world, has come off of back-to-back tournaments in Acapulco, Indian Wells and Miami, and then will pack up her big duffle and racket bag and head to a few other far-flung tournaments, winding up to Wimbledon and then the other grand slams.

That’s a lot of hustling side to side, chasing down 115+-mile an hour serves, and serving up some wicked-fast backhands and forehands herself. To say singles tennis is physically grueling is an understatement.

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) tour is non-stop, on and off the court. Which means Shelby puts in lots of training time to stay in top shape, and most important, injury free. Thankfully, the oh-so personable tennis pro was happy to share some of her secrets to staying healthy and strong with her Roper St. Francis fans.

Importance of Warming Up

“I think the most important thing is warming up before you work out. Before each one of my training sessions and matches, I do a dynamic warm up to make sure my muscles are ready for all of the movements I am about to do on court or in the gym,” says Rogers. That includes:

“I also do a lot of shoulder work with a stretch band to help keep my rotator cuff strong,” she says (hinting at the secret to her power serve). “And after a tough match it is important to recover properly. I make sure to stretch (hamstrings, quads, calves, hip flexors, etc.) and I use a massage stick to help flush out some of the lactic acid from my muscles, or I’ll get a massage therapist to help with that. An ice bath can be very helpful to rejuvenate the legs as well.”

And of course, for Shelby, an avowed “foodie” who loves Charleston restaurants (but really looks forward to being in Charleston for her mom’s home-cooked meals), eating properly is key. “Eating the right balance of protein and carbs right after physical activity is crucial for your muscle recovery, ideally within 30 minutes of finishing a match or workout for maximum benefit. Chocolate milk is an easy and effective recovery drink if you don’t have a protein shake on hand.”

Your friends at Roper St. Francis wish you the best of luck at the Volvo Open, Shelby!