A Match Made in Heaven | Tennis & Pilates

If you’re anything like us here at #TeamEliteCork, you’ve been absolutely glued to Wimbledon 2018  recently and wondering how they hell these incredibly talented athletes seem to keep getting better and better! Well, we know how! Serena and Venus Williams, Marina Navratilova, and Rodger Federer (to name a few), have all taken to practicing pilates to improve their game in the lead up to one of the biggest tournaments in tennis with tennis star, Andy Murray even being quoted as saying “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 hopefully I’ll be good to go for the next two weeks.”
Tennis is a power-based sport which requires a lot of spinal rotation, upper body strength, and with sprinting and side-to-side movements, players need strong stabilising muscles to facilitate and create power behind each move, not to mention the injury prevention benefits that pilates has for athletes competing in any sport at any level. 

If you’re partial to a game of tennis and want to improve on the court, here’s what all the racquet is about!

Spinal Rotation

A lot of the movement and power in tennis is comes from the rotation and extension of the spine. Joseph Pilates was famously quoted as saying “A man is as young as his spinal column” and in tennis, a strong and flexible spine is essential. Pilates puts a huge focus on creating length and movement through the spine whilst strengthening the muscles supporting it which lends heightened precision and control to your game on the court. 

 

Core Strength

If you’ve ever been to a pilates class, you’ll have heard your instructor continually reminding you to engage your core, and with good reason! Having a strong core is fundamental to improving the mobility of the entire body from hip rotation, to shoulders, to spinal stability and as a result can lead to more power and accuracy in your practice as well as improving overall balance, making it easier to sprint and to reach down low for drop shots. 

 

Flexibility

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times, increased flexibility reduces your risk of injury and can increase your range of mobility. Whether it’s individual or team sports, increased flexibility only serves to improve performance in any field and most importantly can keep you from sustaining injuries that can keep you off the court. 

 

Shoulders

Developing strong rotator cuff muscles greatly impacts the tennis players game as they help to mobilise the shoulder. Having this strength and mobility in the shoulders produces stronger, more accurate shots. 

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