Wimbledon 2017: How Pilates classes will make you a better tennis player5th July 2017
There is a growing connection between Tennis and Pilates. More elite players are incorporating it into their training schedules, including some of the names mentioned above, with the most high profile being current world number one and Wimbledon 2016 Champion Andy Murray.
Murray suffered from recurring back injuries and this convinced him to incorporate Pilates into his training routine. Since then, his injuries have been few and far between and he's feeling fitter and healthier than ever (bar the slight hip injury he picked up before this year's tournament of course).
Why is Pilates good for Tennis players?
So what is it about a Pilates class that makes it such a beneficial practice for tennis players? Sports stars of all disciplines are using it, but there are certain elements to Pilates that really do tick the right boxes for a tennis player.
For professional tennis players, a lot of strain is put on the shoulders, especially with repeated serves being made. This requires the shoulder joint to be strong and flexible so that they have a full range of motion and can get power in their shots.
Tennis is quite a frantic sport, it requires lots of quick directional change and 'desperate' shots. This means when striking the ball, balance can often be uneven. However, there is still the need for the shoulders to drive the shot and be flexible. This can be strenuous if you are not fit enough, but with a Pilates class you will build muscle in the right areas to handle this.
The spine faces the same problems the shoulders face. Unevenly balanced shots, the need for power and the right mix of strength and flexibility can cause a strain on the spine.
Pilates exercises strengthen the deep core muscles, particularly those around the base of the spine. This improves movement and stability. Power is generated by the ability to rotate the body, so Pilates can make your movement more efficient.
Andy Murray highly credits Pilates, as well as Yoga, for preventing the recurrence of the back injuries that plagued him earlier in his career. It helps to strengthen and increase endurance in all of the 'impact' areas for a tennis player, the spine, shoulders and knees in particular.
Most sport stars take a rest day or have a lighter day as part of their weekly schedule. This means they'll only do some gentle exercise instead of a full session. Pilates is often a popular choice. It's low impact, improves fitness and helps the body recover by increasing blood flow and speed of muscle fibre repair.
Tennis is all about quick reactions and hand eye co-ordination. With shots being played at over 100mph it requires incredible reactions to return the ball. Pilates will help you increase your awareness of the bodies movement and capabilities, as well as improving your spacial awareness. This will help you to improve your positioning on the court and get you better set to react to an oncoming shot.
Find a Pilates class near you
Whether you play tennis, or just about any other sport, Pilates sessions can really benefit your performance. It's easy to find a local Pilates instructor in the UK, with thousands of classes available on Pilates Near You taught by highly qualified teachers.
To find your nearest one, download the NearYou App to your iPhone or iPad and enter your location. This will show you all of the Pilates Instructors in your area.
Source: Pilates Near You