You would think that tennis is everything you need from a workout, but why do people combine this very demanding high energy workout with yet another physical exercise? Racket sports are by their nature one-sided. Most players repeatedly use the same hand and arm to hit the ball, generally in the same direction. Typically they do this with their head and neck usually adopting the same position in anticipation of playing a shot. Such pronounced left- or right-sided movements load stress on the structure of the body. This produces a physique that is out of balance and thus is more liable to break down with over-use injuries particularly prevalent. This is how we see some of the most common tennis injuries occur – “tennis elbow”, wrist and ankle sprains, achilles tendon rupture, shoulder separation and others. Pilates, originally created by Joseph Pilates for rehabilitating injured soldiers, is an exercise that is widely known for creating more flexibility and endurance, and tennis is one of the sports where Pilates is becoming very significant for enhancing a player’s game, as well as preventing and healing injuries.
Players such as Martina Navratilova, Venus & Serena Williams and Andy Murray have all said Pilates is the secret that keeps them injury free. Navratilova is now retired, but she says that Pilates has helped her body regain the flexibility of her prime. Pat Cash, the former Wimbledon champion, still does Pilates training as a key part of his fitness routine.
“I started doing Pilates a few weeks ago, which I think has already helped. I did three or four Pilates sessions and my body feels good compared to the last few years when I’ve come here. So hopefully I’ll be good to go for the next two weeks.” – Andy Murray, The Independent.
I guess the answer to successful all round workout is to combine high impact exercise and competitive sports that you choose to do with a well-structured low impact routine like Reformer Pilates to help your body prepare, heat up and condition your muscles to prevent injuries.