Is Squeezing a Tennis Ball a Good Workout?

Low angle view of a man playing tennis holding tennis racket and tennis ball

Defining a good workout is partly subjective; what a marathon runner considers to be a good workout might differ from someone who is just beginning to exercise after leading a more sedentary lifestyle or recovering from surgery. However, squeezing a tennis ball does have positive benefits associated with strength building through the upper body. Handgrip is sometimes used to determine overall health level, so working on your squeeze could be a good way to get some exercise in a simple yet effective workout.

To complete this squeezing activity, hold the tennis ball with one hand and squeeze it as hard as you can, according to the National Institute on Aging. Hold your squeeze for three to five seconds, and then slowly release. Repeat this process 10 to 15 times, and then release the ball. Switch the tennis ball to your other hand and start over, completing 10 to 15 repetitions on the other side. Aim for two rounds of repetitions on each hand to complete this workout.

Who Can Benefit

If you’re having trouble picking up items and holding them, squeezing a tennis ball can be an effective way to increase hand and grip strength. Practicing hand grip can also be good for people recovering from a hand or wrist injury. Individuals with tennis elbow or other arm-related ailments could benefit from completing this workout, according to the American Family Physician.

Implementing the Workout

It’s a good idea to repeat your tennis ball squeezes throughout the day, according to the Orthopedic Spine and Sports Medicine Center. Try storing a tennis ball at your desk, near your home telephone or near the TV so you can work in extra rounds of squeezing. Work up to 10 or 15 minutes per day, according to American Family Physician. Take a break when your muscles get tired to avoid injury.

The Ball Is Not Enough

If you’re out of shape, squeezing a tennis ball won’t be enough to develop overall strength or exercise your heart, according to ABQ Journal. You’ll still need to get exercise by walking, running, lifting weights or other workout activities. Neither is the tennis ball workout the only way to exercise your handgrip. You can also try kneading clay or putty as a different way to work your fingers, hand and wrist, or plunging your hand into a bucket of uncooked rice and squeezing handfuls of rice within your grasp.

Additional Benefits

Developing increased hand strength from squeezing a tennis ball can help you perform better in other sports, according to ABQ Journal. Improved handgrip can help with rock climbing, tennis, golf, basketball, baseball and weight lifting. Squeezing a tennis ball could also help musicians handle their instruments; it also helps facilitate daily tasks such as opening jars, opening doors and handling cooking utensils. Squeezing and releasing objects such as tennis balls might also help alleviate stress.