by Todd S. Ellenbecker, DPT, MS, SCS, OCS, CSCS
For the last three years, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) has provided musculoskeletal screenings to its players at the Italian Open in Rome Italy. Led by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Gary Windler of Charleston, South Carolina, and physical therapist Todd Ellenbecker of Scottsdale, Arizona, these screenings consist of a series of musculoskeletal tests focusing on scapula and core stability, rotator cuff strength, and both upper and lower body flexibility and range of motion measurement.
One of the key components of this program is the immediate follow-up of exercises for tennis players following their testing. Results are immediately tabulated and shared with the player, his coach, and physiotherapist, and often their personal strength and conditioning specialist. Based on the test results, players are given a series of individualized, tennis-specific exercises which utilize the Thera-Band® product line. These include Thera-Band elastic bands, tubing, and loops; Stability Trainers, Pro Series exercise balls, FlexBars, and Soft Weights. These products have been chosen due to their effectiveness as well as for their portability since professional tennis players travel most weeks of the year and need to have their exercise programs accessible to them at all times. Exercises to increase the strength and endurance of the posterior rotator cuff as well as hip and core training using the new Thera-Band loops are the most popular products given.
Todd Ellenbecker is the Clinical Director of the Physiotherapy Associates Scottsdale Sports Clinic, and National Director of Clinical Research for Physiotherapy Associates, as well as Director of Sports Medicine ATP World Tour. He also serves on the Thera-Band Research Advisory Committee.