An abdominal muscle tear, or strain, can occur from overstretching or overusing the muscle and is a common injury among tennis players. A violent, poorly performed movement of the trunk can also strain the abdominal muscles, suggests the Better Health Channel. As soon as pain and swelling have subsided in your torn abdominal muscle, the Royal Netherlands Lawn Tennis Association recommends beginning a rehabilitation program in stages, from light to demanding.
The cobra is a Yoga pose designed to stretch your abdominal muscles. Lie on your stomach with your hands positioned directly below your shoulders with your elbows close to your sides. Take in a deep breath. As you exhale, slowly push yourself up with your hands so that your shoulders are off the ground, while keeping your hips and legs in contact with the ground. Keeping your back, glutes, and legs relaxed, hold the stretch for 20 seconds. With control, lower back to the floor. Repeat the exercise three times, twice a day.
Perform the pelvic tilt exercise to gently regain strength in your torn abdominal muscle. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Contract your abdominal muscles and press your lower back into the floor. Hold this position for five seconds and then relax. Complete three sets of 10 repetitions.
Advance to the dead bug exercise after the pelvic tilt becomes easier. The dead bug will strengthen the bulk of your abdominal muscles. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Contract your abdominal muscles and press your back into the floor. Maintaining this position, lift your left foot several inches off the floor and hold the position for five seconds. Lower your foot and then repeat the exercise with your right leg. Next, lift your left arm over your head. Hold here for five seconds, lower your arm, and then repeat the movement with your right arm. Do three sets of five reps with each leg and each arm. Once this exercise becomes easier, raise your left arm and right foot simultaneously. Hold the position for five seconds, lower your arm and leg, and then repeat the exercise with your right arm and left leg.
The partial curl will strengthen your upper abdominal muscles. Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor. Keeping your arms straight to the front, tuck your chin toward your chest and curl your upper body forward until your shoulders come off the floor. Continue to breathe regularly while holding the curl position for three seconds. Slowly lower back to the floor. Perform three sets of 10 reps.
Once you can comfortably perform a partial curl, begin practicing the diagonal curl to strengthen your oblique muscles. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Clasp your hands behind your neck to support your head. Contract your stomach muscles and lift your head and shoulders off the ground while twisting your torso to the right. Hold here for three seconds and then return to the starting position. Repeat the diagonal curl to your left. Complete three sets of 10 curls per side.
Alternating Leg Raise
The alternating leg raise exercise will strengthen your lower abdominal muscles. Lie on your back with your legs raised and bent so that your shins are parallel with the floor. Contract your abdominal muscles and press your lower back into the floor. Maintaining this position, slowly straighten your right leg and lower it toward the floor and then bring it back to the starting position. Repeat the movement with your left leg. Continue to alternate legs until you have completed 10 reps with each leg. Perform three sets of this exercise.