Yoga is great to balance out the body if you play a lot of tennis. These 5 yoga poses address the major areas where tennis can take its toll on the body: the shoulders, spine and legs.
1. Cat and Cow
Loosen out your spine with some rounds of Cat and Cow. To get your spine moving in all directions, add in some lateral side bends by bringing your right shoulder and hip towards each other in a C-shape and then repeat on your left side. Add in rotations of the spine by raising your right arm up to the ceiling and then threading it underneath you, bringing your right shoulder closer to the mat. Repeat with your left side.
Strengthen your wrists, open up your shoulders, strengthen your core, and stretch out the backs of your legs in everyone’s favourite yoga pose! ok, mine anyway.
Tennis involves lots of asymmetrical actions so Downward Dog is really nice to do after you've played to help neutralise your spine.
Try it with your knees bent to focus more on lengthening out your spine. If your arms feel too tired for it after tennis, try a non-weight bearing version of the pose with your hands on a wall or the back of a chair.
Mobilise your shoulders ready for your power serves with Cow face pose / Gomukhasana. Try an active variation to increase your range of motion: instead of trying to bring your fingers to meet each other, take hold of a yoga strap or band between your hands and then pull it with both hands as if you’re trying to rip the strap apart. Relax and repeat the action a few times before swapping sides.
4. Chair pose
Power up your legs and stabilise your ankles with Chair pose / Utkatasana. This pose will also strengthen your core, back and open up the shoulders again. Try squeezing a block or cushion between your thighs for an extra challenge.
5. Side Plank
Side plank / Vasisthasana strengthens your whole body but it's especially good for targetting your obliques and this will help improve your balance and overall stability. From Side Plank bring the foot of your top leg onto the floor in front of you. Then lower your hips towards the floor to release tension or 'tightness' in your outer hips.
Bonus tennis ball class
Make use of your tennis balls after your match with a self-massage! Try it in this free class with Esther Ekhart.
Yoga to relax your shoulders and neck