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Get in Shape for Next Season - Focus on Flexibility

 

With the summer coming to an end it’s time to start thinking about the 2013 / 2014 Tennis On Campus season.  There’s still time to get into better shape.  Last month we looked at movement, but this month we turn inward. 

Flexibility:  While yoga challenges the physical body, it can also include a mental component, meditation. Research indicates regular meditation trains the mind to relax and improves concentration. For tennis players, regular meditation translates into improved on court performance as they are able to channel all of their energy into the match.

Yoga (http://www.yogamovement.com/resources/tennis.html)
Many tennis players, professional players included, have embraced yoga to help them improve their game. Yoga, which is practiced by performing a series of poses, known as asanas, develops both strength and flexibility, in addition to improving one’s balance. Tennis players, who typically have tight hips, quads and hamstrings, can perform specific poses to improve these areas of weakness.

Poses that tennis players should incorporate into their training include:
• Warrior II pose (virabhadrasana II)
• Tree pose (vrksasana)
• Triangle pose (trikonasana)
• Spinal Twist pose (ardha matsyendransana)

Pilates
Developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century, the Pilates Method (more commonly referred to as Pilates) is a total body conditioning program which focuses on the development of core strength. Originally fashioned as a rehabilitation tool, Pilates improves one’s coordination, balance and flexibility. Pilates exercises may be performed in one of two ways; with specialized equipment or on an exercise mat.

Many elite athletes turn to Pilates to help improve their game and tennis is no exception; Pilates is an excellent and functional adjunct to one’s training program. Because Pilates works on developing overall core strength and spinal alignment, through the use of kinetic chain exercises, there are no tennis specific exercises. However, the translation can be seen on court with improved stroke play, as a result of a stronger core.

For more information about getting into shape for tennis go to
http://www.usta.com/Improve-Your-Game/Health-Fitness/ask_the_lab_archive/