This post is a collection of my personal favorite yoga poses which I have been using in my training sessions. These poses help alleviate the pain associated with playing tennis, as well as improve your overall game. This is just a personal list of my personal favorites, and I am sure there are different ways you can incorporate these yoga poses into your training program. I hope you find this post useful.
Yoga is an amazing tool that helps anyone take control of their body and mind. Even professional tennis players are using it for recovery and injury prevention. Yoga has proven to be an amazing tool for athletes and anyone who wants to better themselves.
Tennis players know that if they want to improve their game, they need to do more than just practice hitting groundstrokes—they need to work on stretching their bodies and improving their flexibility. Yoga plays a key role in tennis players’ physical and mental well-being as it helps them develop their bodies into perfect weapons.
Tennis involves a lot of lunges, swings and quick rotations on the court. Not to mention you have to stay focused and keep your cool during games.
Tennis is generally a one-sided sport, meaning that one side of the body tends to be more developed than the other. There’s a dominant side that gets heavier loads, and the knees and ankles get their fair share of lunges and sprints on the field. Uneven body development can eventually lead to improper muscle alignment, resulting in back, hip, and even leg and knee pain.
Useful Yoga Postures
Useful yoga poses for tennis players are aimed at improving flexibility, muscle balance and spinal balance. If the hips are stiff, the pressure of the movement is often transferred to the knees. Therefore, tennis players also benefit from opening up their hips and hamstrings to facilitate quick movements during training and matches.
1. Trade in cats and cows
Do a few rounds of the cat/cow movement to warm up and stretch your back.
Get down on all fours. As you inhale, lift your chest and tailbone toward the ceiling; as you exhale, arch your back, press your shoulder blades together, and lower your head. Feel the muscles in your back and see if one side is tense.
Make 6 to 8 slow turns.
2. Gomukhasana – Cow face pose
Excellent posture for stretching the outside of the thighs, shoulders, and arms simultaneously. Since this is an asymmetrical pose, you can better feel the difference between the two sides and adjust your exercise accordingly.
Standing on hands and knees, bring the right knee to the hands and place the right leg behind the left knee. Legs crossed, feet apart so you can slowly lower yourself between your legs. Sit on a block to get your knees into the position. Keeping your right hand parallel to the ground, turn your thumb toward the ground and bend your hand behind your back. Raise your left arm toward the ceiling, palm back, and bend your elbow to the floor.
If you can’t touch it with your hand, you can use a belt or towel to create more space. Stay in this position for up to a minute and then switch sides.
3. Extend wrists into cow face position
There are many layers of ligaments in the wrists that can be damaged by repetitive motion. Slow yin movements in the wrists can make these tissues thicker and stronger.
You can keep your feet in the cow face position or be on your hands and knees. Press your palms against the floor with your fingers facing you. Adjust the position of your wrists so that your palm is facing the ground. You will feel a stretch on the inside of your forearm and a slight pressure on your wrists. One minute to go. Once you’re in the cow face position, don’t forget to change your legs as well.
4. Pigeon loft
The pigeon pose creates a deep opening of the hips by stretching the quadriceps and hip flexors on the side of the leg pointing backwards.
Get down on all fours and slide your right knee between your palms. Pay attention to your right knee, and if your knee feels tight, move your right ankle closer to your hip. Center yourself so your weight is even. You can support your upper body with your hands or lower it onto your elbows or even completely onto the floor. Stay for three minutes, then switch sides.
5. Parivrtta Trikonasana – Twisted Triangle Posture
The rotating triangle stretches the spine, chest, and shoulders. It also strengthens and stretches your legs and can improve your balance.
Start standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, left foot back. The right leg is pointed forward and the left leg is turned slightly outward. Bring the hip forward on the mat and place the right hand on the right hip. On the inhale lift your left arm and on the exhale rotate your hip, reach forward and place your left arm on the outside of your right leg (use a block if you need more length). Bend your upper body to the right and hold your right hand at your hip or reach for the ceiling. Take 3 to 5 long breaths here.
6. Virabhadrasana II – Warrior II
Warrior Pose II is ideal for strengthening the core and legs, as well as stretching the chest, hips and shoulders.
Start in Tadasana and take a big step back with one foot. Turn the back foot parallel to the narrow side of the mat, raise the arms to shoulder height, parallel to the floor, palms down. As you exhale, bend your front knee and bring it up to your ankle. If necessary, move the toes of the front foot so that the knee and toes point in the same direction. Open the shoulders, keep the body centered, both legs active and feel the power of the warrior for 3 to 5 breaths.
7. Vrkshasana – Tree pose
The Tree pose develops balance while opening and extending the hips.
Put all your weight on one leg and lift the other leg so it rests on your inner thigh or lower shin. Place your palms together in front of your chest and slowly lift your hands above your head. Keep your hands shoulder-width apart or wider if you feel more comfortable with your shoulders that way. Breathe slowly for 5 to 10 minutes and enjoy the balance!
Tennis, like any competitive sport, is both a mental and physical game. Yoga can help you by bringing you to a state of inner peace, no matter how hectic and competitive the field. Yoga is a great way to increase flexibility and strength, as well as helping to reduce stress and anxiety and improve self-esteem. Yoga can also be a great way to relieve back pain and other muscular and joint problems, but it also has a number of other health benefits, such as improving heart health, breathing, and relieving joint pain.