Pilates For A Pain-Free Tennis Game
Do you love playing tennis? If so, you know how hard the power-based game can be on your body. Not only is it a high speed and high impact sport, tennis also requires a lot of spinal rotation and has a tendency to put stress on the shoulder of the dominant playing hand. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most common types of injuries amongst tennis players are the back, hip, knee and shoulder.
When playing a full-body sport like tennis, a regular Pilates practice is essential for not only keeping the body free of injuries, but for developing strength and stability as well. Silver lining? It’s guaranteed to improve your groundstroke, speed and agility on court as well. Don’t believe us? Just ask Andy Murray—three-time Grand Slam tournament winner, two-time Olympic champion, Davis Cup champion, winner of the 2016 ATP World Tour Finals and former world number one—because he, too, is a Plates devotee.
And who better to chime in on the topic than London Pilates Studio owner, lead instructor and tennis aficionado Vanessa Pearce? Here’s what she had to say.
Why is Pilates vital for anyone who plays racket sports?
Tennis demands so much from a player—concentration, emotional determination (even when losing), agility, flexibility, range of motion, hand-eye coordination, stamina plus physical strength. Pilates teaches focus and awareness of the entire body and builds small stabilising muscles around all the joints of the body to cope with the many demands of tennis—from hand grip to wrist strength.
What are the top three reformer exercises for tennis players?
Any exercise on the reformer will help with tennis, but particularly spinal rotation, footwork and extension work, which is particularly helpful when serving, lobbing or smashing.
What are some mat exercises that someone could work on at home between reformer sessions?
The Roll Up for developing hamstring flexibility and spinal articulation, the Bend and Stretch with Obliques to strengthen leg and hip joints. And, of course, we can’t forget the all important Arm Circles.
How has Pilates changed your tennis game?
I was doing Pilates before I started playing tennis and I can confidently say that it prepared me for the sport. Within five years, I was playing club matches and avoiding injury.
If someone has been injured playing tennis, what are your go-tos for helping them rehab the injury?
Ice the area, rest, book an appointment with your physio, osteo or chiro. Once you have the go ahead, start a weekly Pilates practice to avoid future injuries!
Right about now you are probably asking yourself, Is there anything Pilates is not good for? And the answer is no. See you in class!