15 Mar Pilates for Tennis players – prepare for court!
Whether you’re a budding tennis pro, a social player or just a fan you can’t have escaped the news that Andy Murray added Pilates to his training regime a couple of years ago, saying at the time “I started doing Pilates a few weeks ago, which I think has already helped. I did three or four Pilates sessions and my body feels good compared to the last few years when I’ve come here.”
So, why do tennis pro’s do Pilates and how can it help you? Tennis, like every sport places distinct pressures and stresses on parts of the body. Pilates ability to isolate and strengthen stabilising muscles throughout the body, as well as provide a whole body challenge makes it an ideal exercise for tennis players. Below we’ve focussed on how Pilates can help tennis players strengthen and support their knees and shoulders, both of which are crucial to improving your game:
- Knees – harder court surfaces such as tarmac, indoor or all-weather courts increase the impact from the game on your knees. Tennis players need strong stabilising muscles to support their body as they dash around the court to return the ball to their opponent. Key stabilisers for tennis players are the glutes. Pilates exercises, such as the clam, are a particularly effective way to isolate and strengthen these muscles, helping them stabilise the knee and produce power when moving across the court.
- Shoulders – a strong and stable shoulder girdle is essential for tennis. Players need strong rotator cuff muscles to stabilise and mobilise the shoulder through the range of movement required for a powerful serve and return. Pilates exercises such as dumb waiter (with a resistance band) or rowing on the reformer, are an excellent way to strengthen, stabilise and mobilise both the shoulder and rotator cuff.
Why not give it a try and add Pilates to your training now and by the time the summer season is upon us you should be reaping the benefits, serving faster and stronger than before and sprinting around the court.