Pilates and Tennis Performance


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"I wanted to get really fit. I wanted to lose some weight. So I've been doing Pilates and yoga, trying to lean out my body so I won't be bulky. … Pilates gave me results within a week."
—Serena Williams, 15-time Grand Slam winner

The fitness demands on the tennis player are quite high. Tennis requires agility, balance, range of motion, power, stamina and endurance. You must be able to fully extend your arm over your head to contact the ball and propel it with maximum force and control. This extreme range of motion requires considerable flexibility. And focused power is required to produce a strong serve and ground strokes.

Powerful strokes require strength, timing and balance, which derive from a strong core. A strong core holds your body upright, improves your balance and allows you to move your arms and legs freely and powerfully. If your core muscles are weak, your body will move inefficiently and tire more quickly, because other muscles have to pick up the slack.

Tennis is by nature “one-sided,” putting extra demands on the dominant side of your body. As a result tennis players often have muscular imbalances between their dominant and non-dominant sides. These can lead to injuries of the shoulders, back and elbows.

Benefits of the Pilates for Tennis Performance Program

  • Increases core strength to improve stroke power
  • Improves your balance and control for quick reaction and direction change
  • Strengthens shoulders and arms to improve your stroke velocity
  • Increases racquet head speed
  • Improves flexibility and stability to control shots
  • Improves muscle control to prevent over-use injury
  • Increases upper and lower body strength and endurance
  • Reduces back injuries by increasing flexibility
  • Provides higher levels of concentration

To improve, tennis players need a program that can correct muscle imbalances, strengthen essential core and stabilizer muscles and prevent injury. With its focus on core strength, flexibility, stability and balance, Pilates is a great tool for tennis performance. Using her athletic background and Pilates expertise, Mary has designed a Pilates for Tennis Performance program to help you improve your tennis performance and prevent injuries.

Mary's Pilates Tennis Performance Program

Mary begins by assessing your movement, including postural alignment, flexibility, coordination, strength and balance. Her Pilates-based exercises focus on increasing core strength, stretching and strengthening both sides of the body equally to improve stroke power. Other exercises focus on flexibility and balance to improve your agility and coordination and to prevent overuse and back injuries. While some of the exercises and stretches may be familiar to you, it is Mary’s understanding of the underlying Pilates techniques that allows her to apply them most effectively for you and your goals.