Being able to get your leg into a deep side lunge is one thing, and having the strength to control that deep side lunge is a different story. That’s the difference between flexibility and mobility. It doesn’t matter if you can get your leg way out there to grab that forehand shot… if you lack muscle control out there, you’re likely to suffer an injury.The hip adductors (inner thigh muscles) are a key player in making other connections all the way up the kinetic chain. You better believe that if you’re adductors are weak and tight, then you’re probably not going to be able to engage, say, those abdominal obliques very well. (And we all know power lives in the transverse plane — all the power on those tennis shots come from rotational movements, and that’s what the obliques do). So, yes, step one to getting your core stronger is making the inner thighs smarter. Trust me.
Allow me to introduce you to the Gyrotonic® propeller. Check out video here It’s by far, from a physics standpoint, the most interesting piece of exercise apparatus I’ve ever come across. In this short video, I’m demonstrating one exercise that I would term a “hip opener.” Doing an exercise like this will simply a.) increase your flexibility if you’re tight, and b.) in turn, you will increase your mobility because you have to control the speed of that propeller all the way around the curve.
Now, a lot of this boils down to the nervous system feeling safe — you want your brain to be able to say “yeah, go for that shot, get into that lunge. I’ll let you have it because we’ve been working on those propeller thingys, and I know how we can handle this.”
So if we can get your brain to be that calm and collected the next time you’re heading into what would typically be a freak out lunge, then you’re on the right track.
Have fun, and propeller on!