Looking for a way to improve power, reduce injuries, and ultimately improve your game? Take a cue from champions like Serena and Venus Williams, Martina Navratilova, Roger Federer, and Andy Murray, and incorporate Pilates into your training program.
Tennis, like many sports, has a “movement bias,” meaning that you perform repetitive motions that are sport-specific. Because tennis is “one-sided, “one side of your body is worked more than the other. This creates muscle imbalances between your dominant and non-dominant side, which can lead to injuries. On the other hand, Pilates is considered a neutral activity that helps to create muscle symmetry in multiple planes of movement in a safe and controlled way, making you less susceptible to injury. Pilates essentially neutralizes the flexibility, strength, and range of motion asymmetries that tennis creates.
Pilates also teaches you how to maintain optimal postural alignment throughout your game. A strong core and mindful movement strategies are essential in creating a powerful swing. By learning to move your arms and legs independently from a stabilized spine, you move more efficiently and are able to generate more power and strength for your swing.
Shoulders can also take a beating from time spent on the court. If you’re lacking flexibility in or around the shoulder and have difficulty stabilizing your shoulder, you’re setting yourself up for an injury. Tennis requires extreme range of motion of the shoulder as you reach overhead to contact the ball and propel it with force and control. Pilates is a great tool to help you gain control and flexibility in your shoulder.
Tennis also requires great stability in the leg joints in order to safely and powerfully sprint. The quick lateral movements can be difficult for those with poor stabilization around the knee and hip joints. Pilates works the joints in various planes, and can be done so in a way that’s very specific for what’s required on the court.
At Therapeutic Pilates, LLC, all new clients receive a thorough movement analysis and fitness assessment to identify your specific weaknesses. From your assessment, an individualized Pilates program is created to address these weaknesses, neutralize the effects of tennis, and help you have a strong and safe season on the courts!
To a great and injury-free season,
Katie Langley, PT, PMA-CPT
Therapeutic Pilates, LLC