Pilates for Tennis
Power, endurance and
mobility for peak performance
Tennis is a sport that involves both
power and agility. You not only need to be quick to the net, but have
powerful serves and muscle endurance to last the match. Pilates can help
the tennis player increase core strength and range of motion and will help
prevent injuries - specifically of the shoulders, back, and elbows.
Pilates, players will
- Create explosive leg strength
- Strengthen shoulders and arms to increase the power behind your serves and returns
- Bring power and precision to your backhand with better rotation and
- Develop core muscles to hit the ball with more strength
- Improve flexibility to reach those long shots
- Develop the endurance you need to perform at peak throughout the
imbalances that can cause faulty compensation for the stronger sid
sports are by their nature one-sided.
players repeatedly use the same hand and arm to hit the ball, generally in
the same direction, with the head and neck usually adopting the same
position in anticipation of playing a shot. Such pronounced left- or
right-sided movements load stress on the structure of the body, producing
a physique that is out of balance and more liable to break down with
over-use injuries particularly prevalent.
Few players have a bio-mechanically perfect serve
problems can result from the fact that few tennis players have a
bio-mechanically perfect serve. Repetitive, inefficient patterns of
movement combined with the quest for power give rise to problems in the
collection of joints that make up the shoulder. 'Tennis elbow', or
inflammation of the muscle tissue and ligaments at the base of the elbow,
is caused by chronic twisting of the arm plus repeated shocks to a small
bony ridge on the outer elbow.
While even the best Pilates instructor may not help you serve like Venus
Williams a program of specific exercises will work the body more uniformly
to prevent overdevelopment of one side, while also strengthening the deep
abdominal muscles needed for a stable base from which to hit that winner.
Addressing flexibility through the shoulders and upper back while
lengthening the tighter front muscles of the torso will boost your power
and range of motion - and make it easier to reach for that drop shot at
tennis players who do use Pilates range from Venus and Serena Williams to
Lindsay Davenport, Jennifer Capriati, and Elena Baltacha.
Navratilova says that Pilates helped her body regain the flexibility of
her prime, while Pat Cash, the former Wimbledon champion, still does
Pilates as a key part of his fitness routine.