With the French open in full swing, let us take look at how Pilates can help your game, set and match!
To avoid a first round crash out like Ostapenko, you need to up your Pilates game!
For me, Summer officially begins when the French open starts. It’s only a hop, skip and jump to Wimbledon. Pimms, strawberries and anticipation for a sing song with Cliff Richard on Centre Court is basically my life! I may have the hand eye co-ordination of a newt but I love tennis season. Did you know though, Pilates can seriously improve your game?
Pilates can not only help reduce the amount of common tennis injuries you can pick up, but it can also improve your movement, power and your game. It doesn’t matter if you’re a social player or a budding pro, Pilates is the ace up your sleeve. (Not sure how many tennis puns I can serve up, but I’ll deuce my best!).
First Serve, Your Knees.
The speed and high impact nature of tennis means your joints are going to take a bashing, particularly if you’re playing on the harder surfaces like tarmac or all-weather courts. Playing Tennis means you need strong stabilising muscles in order to cope with the short sprints and sharp turns. A major stabiliser for tennis players are the Glutes. Pilates is a particularly effective way to isolate and strengthen these muscles, helping them stabilise the knee and produce power when moving and reaching laterally.
Second Serve, Your Shoulder.
Take a moment to think about how much strain your shoulder is under on that whopper serve. Strong rotator cuff muscles are essential to stabilise and mobilise the shoulder through the range of movement required to serve with power. The nature of most tennis strokes mean that regular players typically have posture-based imbalances through the shoulder that can lead to injuries if unaddressed. Pilates is an excellent way to strengthen, stabilise and mobilise both the shoulder and rotator cuff. This will enable you to spend less time on the physio’s couch and more time on court.
Balls in your court, The Spine.
In tennis, much of the power comes from rotation and extension through the spine. To produce these movements you need a mixture of strength and flexibility. Pilates will help loosen some of the typically tight muscles through the chest, shoulders and upper back, whilst strengthening the muscles through the waist. This increase in both the strength of the rotator muscles and the range of motion combines to generate more power through your strokes.
Tennis is unpredictable. You’re often trying to return a volley from an imperfect position, stretching forwards, sideways or overhead and often off-balance. Pilates’ focus on strong core muscles will help you generate more power and reduce the risk of injury when you’re off balance, and recover your balance faster. And by increasing flexibility through the lower back, and hips, Pilates will also help you get down lower for the drop shots and up higher for the lobs.
Strength & Endurance.
Let us be honest, Reformer is hardcore. Holding a plank on a yellow spring while transferring weight from one hand to the other is the stuff of Olympians! Doing a scooter for 200 reps because your teacher can’t count from 10 is the envy of any navy seal! You guys are rock stars. It’s proven that Reformer massively increases your strength and endurance, this will transfer onto the court! You will hit harder and last longer! FACT!
Game, Set & Match.
If you want to see a change in your game, without making a show of yourself in a jumpsuit, regardless if it’s for compression or not (It’s a no from us Serena!) then up your Pilates game! It’s simple!