Lady Gaga plays tennis — Here are the benefits of the sport

As she prepares to embark on her international summer stadium ways tour, the Chromatica Ball, Lady Gaga seems to be staying active in fun. Recently, she showed off a recent tennis’ fit — which included black high-waisted leggings, Nike sneakers, a cropped sweatshirt, and a baseball hat — in a new Instagram photo.

The singer has played tennis Before, and in general, she seems to be all about mixing up her workouts. She’s reached new heights by way of rock climbing, perfected her headstand during a yoga session, and tried pole dancing with pals during a bachelorette party. She’s also tried infrared saunas and cold plunges for recovery.

Lady Gaga incorporates tennis into her workout routine

No word on how often she hits the tennis court, but the House of Gucci star is smart to include the sport to her fitness routine, since it offers many benefits. Tennis is a “complete, total-body workout,” Chelsea Long, MS, CSCS, an exercise physiologist at Hospital for Special Surgery, tells Shape. The sport can improve your cardiovascular fitness and motor control, she says. But it’s not just physical benefits that make the sport worthwhile for people of just about any level or ability. “You’re getting a little competitive action during the week; you’re meeting new people,” notes Long.

Tennis engages muscle groups throughout your body. “The muscles you work for tennis are similar to those you work during lots of rotational sports,” says Long. “You need a lot of hip stability and strength [and] glute strength. You’re working your quads, your hamstrings, your entire core musculature, your shoulder blade musculature, your deltoids, your biceps, your forearms, and your upper back.” So, yes, it’s a total-body workout.

Long also recommends incorporating some cross-training movements into your existing routine that will help you on and off the tennis court. “To benefit tennis, you want to do good hip stability and strength exercises, good core work, [and] good shoulder stability and strength exercises,” she says. Long also suggests doing linking exercises, which are exercises that “target abdominal control with both upper and lower movement,” such as a side plank with a clam shell.

Some of Long’s specific cross-training suggestions include bracing exercises. These are core exercises that require stabilizing one part of the body while moving another, such as the Pallof press, which involves holding a resistance band or cable in the front of your body while pressing it out then pulling it in. Challenge your hand-eye coordination and work on shoulder rotation by simply throwing a tennis ball against a wall and catching it, says Long. Adding in lower body exercises is also key. “You want to do some bridges, some side steps, squats, a hip hinge — so a deadlift — and then single-leg variations of those to make sure you’re performing single-leg exercises.” Single-leg exercises are important for all sports that require some sort of running motion, since “being strong enough to jump on one leg is a good pre-requisite to being strong enough to run,” according to Long. This also helps prevent injuries.

While the sport is fast-paced, requiring intense focus and a strong mind-body connection, beginners should go easy on themselves. “There’s a lot of action that goes on in the body in order to properly hit the tennis ball…so I wouldn’t get frustrated,” says Long. That said, the only way to improve is to work on technique and drills over time.

People with pre-existing injuries or sensitivities will want to work their way up to the tennis court. Those with current or past dominant shoulder injuries “would want to make sure that they have the proper strength, mobility, and stability in their shoulder prior to playing a sport like tennis,” says Long. “And then anybody who has hip pain or hip injury or knee injury, you want to make sure that those joints are stable and strong before you start adding power and rotational components, such as tennis.”

Gaga herself has been open about her experiences with chronic pain due to fibromyalgia, so she probably understands the importance of listening to your body any time you try something new, tennis or otherwise. But if you’re ready to channel your inner Williams sister, grab a racket and a friend to mix up your next outdoor sweat session.

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