How Can Pilates Help You As A Tennis Player In The UAE?
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Pilates, Tennis & Rehab Trainer in Abu Dhabi - Tiago
Tennis can place stress on the body, muscles joints etc. Pilates can help reduce injuries and generaly make you more flexible.

Personal Trainer Q & A Category: Yoga & Pilates

Personal Trainer Q & A Contributor: Tiago Carvelho

If you are actively involved in Tennis in the UAE you know that it does require a certain level of fitness. How can Pilates training help with your body and gameplay?

Tennis is an active sport. Many people play tennis for enjoyment and also as a way to get or stay in shape. Reaching for the ball and running across the court will keep you fit and flexible but practising Pilates as part of your tennis fitness routine in Abu Dhabi or Dubai can also help increase your flexibility as well as help to reduce injury.

  • Playing tennis in Abu Dhabi requires some degree of flexibility. How can Pilates help a tennis player increase their flexibility?

    Pilates provides an excellent workout which can help strengthen and tone muscles, increase balance and improve posture. But an area that they significantly benefit that many don’t realize the important of is flexibility. There’s a reason so many Tennis players practice Pilates, improving flexibility will significantly enhance performance in their game or training routine, and also help reduce your risk of injury. The slow, deliberate stretching that is performed during Pilates classes strengthens the basic muscle groups in a logical sequence, while also targeting the smaller muscles groups. These smaller muscles are typically ignored in general tennis training routine, resulting in weakness that can sometimes lead to injury. Nearly all of the exercises you learn as part of your Pilates practice will bolster your flexibility and make your life easy as a tennis player.

  • As a competitive sport tennis also requires focus, do you think Pilates can help a player focus more and therefore possibly improve their game playing skills?

    The mind-body connection is one of the principles of Pilates, and the key to coordinating mind and body is concentration. In this discipline, the focus is on careful, precise and slow foundation work. Before you perform a movement, organize your thoughts and cues to encourage full-body awareness. During each movement, stay aware, not only of the moving body part, but also of what the rest of the body is doing. This kind of focus while exercising can be transferred to the tennis game or for the daily train routine of the tennis player.

     

  • Tennis also requires an element of strength, especially when played competitively. Are there any Pilates poses that can help increase strength in the arms, legs and upper body?

    Pilates Push-up: From a standing position, bring your arms straight over your head. Allow your arms to follow your ears as you nod your head and begin to roll down toward the mat. As you roll down, pull your abs in and curve your spine until your hands reach the mat. You may need to bend your knees toward the end to get your hands to the mat. Inhale as you walk your hands out (four counts) until you are in a plank position. Exhale as you old your plank position. Rotate your arms are so that the inside of the elbow faces forward. Inhale as you bend your elbows straight back along your sides so that your arms brush your ribs. As you slowly lower yourself toward the mat, keep your shoulder blades settled in your back; they should not pop up or move together. This is an essential part of the exercise as it teaches you to stabilize your shoulders and torso. Exhale and keep your abs lifted and extend your elbows so that you levitate your body, in one long line, up away from the mat and back into plank position. Keeping your legs as straight as possible, walk your hands back to your original position and roll up to standing position, with your arms straight over your head. Benefits: Stronger shoulders, abs, core, back and legs for overall body strength for better movement on the court.

    Hip Circles: Sit on your mat with your arms behind you shoulder width apart, palms down and fingers pointed away from your body. Your knees are bent in front of you. Shift weight into your arms and pull your tummy in tight, and bring both knees into your chest. Keeping your legs firmly together, inhale as you extend your legs straight up in front of you at about a 45 degree angle, with your arms extended behind you, firmly press the palms of your hands into the mat in a backward position. Then, starting with your feet pointing at 12 o’clock, exhale as you begin to swing your legs in a downward circle to the right without touching the floor, and inhale as you circle back up to 12 o’clock to finish the circle. Exhale to repeat the movement in a downward circle to the left and then inhale as you bring them upward to finish the left hand circle. Try to sit up straighter with each circle, and to make the circles bigger each time. Make sure your upper body stays completely still. Benefits: Stronger arms, shoulders, chest, upper thigh and lower abs for upper body stability on the court.

  • Posture and balance is also important for tennis players. We know that Pilates can help improve posture and balance so what Pilates poses would you recommend be included as a specialised Pilates regime for tennis players?

    Improving Posture and Balance I would recommend the following Pilates poses:

    • Cat Stretch: Start on your hands and knees. While inhaling, lift your chest and tail bone towards the ceiling, and while exhaling, arch your back, press through the shoulder blades and drop your head. Feel the muscles on your back, and take notice if one side feels tighter than the other. For warming up and stretching your back, do a few rounds. Make 6-8 slow rounds, then switch sides and repeat. Do this several times on each side.
    • The Revolved Triangle: Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, and your left foot back. Leave your right foot facing forward, while you turn the left foot slightly outwards. Square the hips towards the front of the mat, and place your right hand on your right hip. While inhaling, bring the left hand up, and upon exhaling hinge from the hips, reach forward and place your left hand on the outside of your right leg (use a block if you need the extra length). Twist the upper body towards the right, keeping your right hand on your hip, or extending it towards the ceiling.
    • Pigeon Pose: Start on hands and knees, and slide your right knee between your hands. Be mindful of the right knee, and if the knee feels stressed, bring the right ankle closer to the hip. Center yourself so that your weight is even. You can support the upper body with your hands, or lower yourself to your elbows, or even completely to the floor. The Pigeon Pose offers a deep hip opening position, stretching the quadriceps and hip flexors for the side of the leg which is pointed to the back. Hold for three minutes, then change sides and repeat. Do this several times on each side.
  • How often should a tennis player do Pilates before they start to see improvements in their posture, strength, balance and overall game play?

    This specific Pilates exercises for Tennis, should be incorporate on the weekly schedule of the player, at least 3 times a week.

Abu Dhabi Pilates & Tennis Personal Trainer - Tiago

Tiago is a Personal Trainer based in Abu Dhabi, UAE. He is experienced in a wide range of fitness techniques with a special interest in tennis personal training and Pilates for health and fitness.

You can view Tiago’s full Abu Dhabi personal trainer profile by clicking the link below.

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