yoga for tennis playersBy Rachel Holmes

Yoga is a physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and ascetic discipline that is commonly practiced worldwide. It involves breath control, hearty meditation, and subjection of the body to a number of specific postures for the purpose of balancing and aligning the body and mind. Yoga is usually practiced for its health and relaxation purposes. Attendance in yoga classes helps a tennis player prevent injuries. This is because it makes the player’s body flexible in a number of ways and thereby improves performance and effectiveness at the court.

How Can Yoga Prevent Tennis Injuries?

Developing tendons and muscles: Arm tensing exercise, where the player effectively works the muscles above and below the elbow, makes the tendons strong and elastic enough to prevent muscle pulls.

Strengthening the muscles: A tennis player with weak or stiff muscles is definitely at high risks of getting hurt even by little magnitudes of impulses. Strengthening and balancing the muscles reduces chances of such injuries.

Flexing the knees: tennis players tend to move a lot around the court at a fast pace in order to keep up with serving and returning the ball to the opponent. The knee is a hinge joint and therefore a very crucial joint for this game. If the player’s waist is rigid and cannot move to its full potential, all the stress goes to the knees. Loosening the hips and flexing the knee is one of the most important yoga lessons that will help the tennis player prevent injuries. The body must be flexible in order to move in any possible direction.

How Yoga can Reduce Pain Related to Playing Tennis

Stretching: It’s common for tennis players to feel some mild pain after a training session or a tough game. If not attended to, the pain might develop into a serious injury. Physical Yoga workouts involve a lot of stretching which will help reduce pain and stiffness of the limbs thereby improving performance.

Seated twist exercise is ideal for helping tennis players reduce lower back pains; tight hamstrings and stiffness often cause these pains. In order to reduce lower back pain, it is advisable to relax and try out the seated twist, which makes the back more flexible and less stiff.

“Face Up” shoulder poses that have a little back bending involved (Upward Dog, Cobra, Extended Mountain, etc.) are physical exercises that are essential in reducing shoulder pains. These exercises will improve performance by easing the pains caused by misalignment of the shoulder or past dislocations and help in quick recovery from minor impingements. These types of pose are also great warm ups for the shoulders before a match.

Yoga exercises that will improve a tennis player’s performance

Pigeon pose: The pigeon pose is very effective in preventing tennis injuries. For this pose, the player starts on all fours, slides his right knee forward to the back of the right wrist. The knee angles slightly to the right outside the hip line. Then the hand is slid back towards the front shin and the fingers pushed firmly against the floor. The pelvis has to remain upright. This pose increases the external range of motion, flexes the hip, and prepares the body for bends.

Sugarcane pose (Ardha Chandra Chapasana): This exercise involves stretching the hamstring on a standing leg while simultaneously stretching the quads on the lifted leg. The pose allows you to even do a back bend in the position. It encompasses a number of tasks in a single pose and generally makes a tennis player flexible thereby improving performance.

Camel pose: Also known as Ustrasana, the trainee starts on all fours and stretches to the back bending position. The main focus of this pose is the squad. The pose can be diversified into a number of stretches. It can be mild or so stretchy depending on what the Yoga student is looking forward to achieving in his or her exercise.

The little thunderbolt pose: This Yoga pose is also referred to as Laghu Vajrasana. For this, the tennis player will have to assume the shape of a camel when on his or her knees then stretch farther, bringing the head to the floor in an extreme back bend. It will increase performance by improving the flexibility of the player’s body.

Arm tensing: The player stretches his or her forearms for up to five seconds to allow for tension, relaxes and repeats the procedure over and over. With time, the arm will be able to sustain between medium to high tensions. Tennis players subject their arms to great tensions when they strike the tennis ball. This exercise is ideal in helping the players use their arms with minimal risks of succumbing to tension.

Non-weight-bearing pose: This supposedly non-weight-bearing pose enables the player to strengthen the muscles around the elbow with little discomfort. For the non-weight-bearing pose, the tennis player stands facing a wall, about 18 inches away from the wall, stretches out his or her, with the arms at a 45 degree upward angle, until the palms of the hands touch the wall. The shoulders are raised and parted while the arms are maintained in position as the athlete leans against the sturdy wall for duration of between 30 seconds to one minute. There are variations with the arms straight up or at different angles and these can be used to release tension as the player becomes familiar with this technique.

Standing Plank pose: This version of plank pose is a Yoga exercise whereby the tennis player bends his or her elbows and leans on a sturdy wall slowly until his face is about 2 or 3 inches away from the wall. Once at that position, the player possesses for a count of three then proceeds to push against the wall slowly until he returns to the original position. This exercise is ideal for helping the player strengthen his or her elbow muscles and therefore improve performance at the court and prevent tennis injuries.

© Copyright 2014 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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