Are you a Wimbledon Wannabe?
Wimbledon is one of those tournaments that inspire the masses to dust down their rackets and to get out for a casual game of tennis with friends or family. This can often turn into a competitive affair if you are anything like me trying to gain victory over my other half.
Tennis-related injuries are notorious in Physiotherapy clinics during this period due to the lack of conditioning in the specific requirements to execute serves, backhands, reaching for a drop shot and the ability to be able to complete multi-direction movements. Common injuries we treat are ankle sprains, knees injuries and spasm in the lumbar spine. The shoulder muscles (rotator cuff) also takes a spike in load due to its role in serving. If the Cuff is not strong enough, the tendons can be strained, causing pain and subsequent weakness.
Whether you are a Wimbledon wannabe or competitive tennis player; Reformer Pilates can and will improve your performance and reduce your risk of injury. After all, healthcare as a whole is moving towards the Platinum approach which is one where patients are being pro-active with movement rather than re-active with an injury.
Here are 3 key examples of how:
1. Thoracic rotation (mid-spine) is vital, and so many of us lack enough extension through our mid backs and are often asymmetrical with a limited amount of rotation. Compensations through excessive lumbar rotation can lead to a loss of pelvic stability, which transmits excessive rotation into the knees and ankles. Here at Platinum, we love to incorporate variety and combinations of movement patterns that challenge our body away from the familiar forwards and backwards motions in which we spend most of our days. We work on unilateral movements to allow you to gain increased awareness of your own individual movement and strength imbalances. Once you are aware, you can make the changes over time and direct more efforts into these areas in class and in everyday movement.
2. Hip opening is a big focus, whether it’s doing circles in the Reformer Pilates straps, adductor slides on the carriage or massaging your hip sockets in the frog-leg position, your hips will feel incredibly open after a session. Then, we focus on building strength and control to this new space, which helps to translate these movement patterns to your tennis game. This means there’s less chance of a hamstring or groin strain when reaching for that wide shot and a greater ability to use your speed without being limited by restricted movement.
3. Whole-body movement involving the multiple facial slings system is the perfect conditioning for tennis as we work on strengthening the intrinsic foot muscles during the footwork sequence and then transition into single leg control work through lunges with overhead or diagonal arm work. This interlink between using energy absorbed through the feet, passing through the core and pelvis into an overhead shoulder motion closely replicates the mechanics behind a tennis serve or any shot for that matter.
If you are persevering with a niggle or injury, come into us for a clinical reformer Pilates session. We will assess your ability to move through a few different patterns and coach you on the specifics of how you can get the most out of reformer classes to rehabilitate your injury. We also have the option of using other pieces of Pilates equipment to facilitate your ability to exercise and rehabilitate without causing further injury or pain.
Sinead Watt is a Chartered Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor at Platinum Physio, Clonkseagh, Leeson Street and Honey Park Glenageary.