Your serve may not be a big calorie burner, but it does set you up for an athletic and fitness-friendly match.

Does Serving in Tennis Burn Calories?

by Cari Oleskewicz

Tennis is a great way to exercise and indulge your competitive streak. Whether you are playing singles, doubles, practicing your serve or hitting backhand strokes against a wall, you are burning calories and exercising your legs, arms and core. Serving in tennis does burn a few calories, but it is a quick part of the game, so you don't burn many. You will work off more calories during the rest of the game, when you rush to the net or engage in long baseline rallies with your opponent.

1. Service Technique

A proper tennis serve begins with a ball toss. Toss the ball above and in front of your head with your elbow straight and your palm facing up. As you toss the tennis ball, you will raise the racket with your dominant hand behind your back, positioning it to make contact with the ball. A good serve will require force and control so the ball lands over the net into the proper service box on the other side of the court. It takes seconds, which is why not a lot of calories are burned unless you are practicing serves only and not beginning a game.

2. Calories Burned

The number of calories you will burn with a tennis serve will depend on your weight and the amount of time you spend serving. There are several online calculators that help you estimate the number of calories you burn in various forms of physical exercise. If you weight 150 pounds and you play tennis for one minute -- remember a serve takes a few seconds -- you will burn 9.53 calories.

3. Playing More and Burning More

If you want to burn a maximum number of calories while playing tennis, you will have to do more than serve. Try practicing for at least 30 minutes, or playing a complete match with a partner. It will make a big difference. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds and you play one hour of singles tennis, you will burn an average of 571 calories. When you play doubles tennis, you presumably run a little bit less, so a 150-pound person playing for one hour will burn around 357 calories.

4. Other Benefits

There is much to gain from practicing your serve, even if you are not burning as many calories as when you play a full match. You will use the muscles in your wrists, shoulders and arms when you toss and hit the ball. Your core will also get a workout as you stretch and bend during and after the service. Practicing your tennis serve will give you additional strength and burn fat from your waist and legs. You will also see improvements in your balance, flexibility and control.

Photo Credits

  • Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images