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Yoga to improve my tennis

by TN
Yoga to improve my tennis

I am always looking for ways to improve my fitness and movement on the court and since I am stiffer than a 2012 Babolat Pure Drive at times, I figured I should try yoga. My wife Lenah has been going for many years so together we went to Moonstone Wellness in Malta to see if I could try yoga to improve my tennis.

Moonstone Wellness is situated in Birguma, on the outskirts of the city of Naxxar in Malta. In this great facility, run by Carmen Micallef, you will find a gym, a pilates room, and a yoga room. I am going to the gym every other day, but this was the first time I tried yoga to improve my tennis (and a pilates class) and I must say I was very positively surprised. The exercises we did definitely seems to help my core muscles a great deal, and will likely improve my tennis a lot more than lifting weights at the gym. I hope I can put together some sort of program and follow that to increase my strength and reduce my risk of injury.

Yoga to improve my tennis – If Nole and Andy do it? Why not?

Yoga to improve my tennis

Yoga is not the easiest thing to get into. Especially for guys. Why? I think there is this notion that “it is a girl thing”. I am one of the least flexible things in the material world, but I still appreciated the soft and calm environment and the way the movements seemed to stretch muscles I did not even know I had. It was way different from the testosterone-driven gym I usually go to and a welcome change.

I can definitely recommend giving it a try, it might not be for everyone, but it is definitely good to be more flexible on the court. Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic both do yoga to improve their tennis, just to name two players.

Yoga to improve my tennis

With teacher Carmen Micallef

Yoga to improve my tennis – this is how it should look

Yoga to improve my tennis

The yoga was a really nice way to stretch out my sore muscles (I had played pretty much every day for a week), while the pilates really worked my core. You can obviously do both at home, but it is always good to be in a group or with a teacher so you can make sure you do the exercises correctly. I was really happy I had both Carmen and my wife Lenah to show me what I needed to do, and to correct the exercises for me. I am definitely a beginner!

There is also the Martin Method Fitness program called “Yoga and Injury Prevention” that I will try as well. It is described like this: “This tennis-specific yoga program is for any player wanting to improve their flexibility and mobility. Easy to follow and effective. It can also be used for players coming back from injury.”

Check out the Yoga and Injury Prevention Program

Yoga to improve my tennis – Pilates and then gym

Yoga to improve my tennis

The yoga session followed two hours of tennis, but I still had energy for the pilates. I am sadly a bit lazy when it comes to stretching properly before and after tennis, usually because I procrastinate until the last minute before I should go to the court, and then end up stressing on my way there. This is really stupid behaviour that I am trying to correct. I always feel better when I get to the court with plenty of time for a warm-up and some stretching.

I hope to able to write down and illustrate some good exercises at some point, but I was still a bit dazed and confused during the session and just focusing on trying to keep up with the positions and the movements. After the pilates session, it was time to check out the gym. A very well-equipped gym to say the least, where Carmen does her PT sessions. Below I am doing a TRX band exercise.

After two hours to add to the tennis in the morning, I was pretty beat and happy to have pushed myself. Summer in Malta can be tough on your fitness with the occasional extra beer, pizza, and BBQ so any extra exercise is always welcome. I definitely enjoyed my stay at Moonstone Wellness and can definitely recommend it if you are visiting Malta (or live here of course!) and looking for a boutique-style place for wellness and training.

Yoga to improve my tennis

Luckily I could rest a bit out on the terrace. But not for long as it was close to 40 degrees Celsius out there!

Thanks to Carmen for the session! Check out Moonstone Wellness here.

Do you do any yoga or pilates to improve your fitness and tennis? Please let us know in the comments below.

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Callen July 14, 2019 - 20:16

I love yoga. The stretches can hurt sometimes though. But that is good because it makes me more flexible. No wonder Nole does it so much.

Also, @Tennisnerd I was hoping you could give me some input. I have been in a racquet testing period for a very long time as well. I am playing with the old Yonex Ezone DR 98 weighted up to 12.7 ounces with tape. I play National tournaments in USA for 18 and under division and also Men’s Open tournaments. I am lefty with a high, heavy topspin forehand with technique that looks in between Djokovic and Kuerten. My backhand is flatter but I am trying to make my technique more like Novak. My returns are a strong shot, especially my backhand. I like to stand way back at fence on big 1st serves and try to just get it back or roll it in like Rafa. But if the player hits a slower kick 2nd serve or just slower in general I like to step inside the baseline and attack it more like Novak or Agassi. My volleys I are strong too I try to hit them like Sampras and Rafter (Not saying I am anywhere even close to any of these players just similar swing styles.). My serve I try to imitate Sampras with a higher toss and more leg load, not as much racquet head speed. I like using lefty slice, and flat. I hardly know how to hit a good kick serve my shoulder is not strong. I usually like to play serve and volley if the guy I play has weak returns and defense. If that doesn’t work I usually play aggressive baseline topspin game using forehand to control the point looking for chance to move into the net and finish. My backhand is my biggest weakness and my footwork has a tendency to get very slow and lazy. I have been trying 95 square inch head size or smaller racquets because I am really liking how much faster I can swing them through the air. I did a final demo set recently where I tried the Dunlop Srixon Revo CX 200 Tour 16×19, Yonex VCORE 95, Prince Tour 95, and the Prince Phantom Pro 93P 18×20. After trying them I liked the Phantom the most because even though it has a smaller head so less topspin potential, I actually get more topspin because I can swing the smaller head through the air faster. It felt a little unstable, so I added lead tape at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock and an extra overgrip on top of the one I had (like Novak used to do.) and then it felt amazing with control and stability. I liked the extra weight too. I do a decent job of keeping my head down looking at contact through my shots so I hardly ever hit it on the frame even on this tiny headsize. In comparison, my Yonex now feels big and slow and unstable compared to this racquet, even though Yonex has higher launch angle. Do you think I am making a good decision switching to the Phantom? Or are there any other racquets you think I should try?

Tennisnerd July 15, 2019 - 07:34

I think it sounds like you have found your racquet! If you value racquet head speed, which I do too, the Phantom Pro 93P is as good as it gets. I know several top-spin players that use that racquet despite the smaller head. Go for it and commit!

Gabe February 10, 2022 - 21:38

Great content. I am…was the least flexible human.

As I turned 40 I began to suffer from increased minor injuries (ankle sprain, knee pain, calf strain) the more tennis I played. My therapist recommend ed HOT yoga and I was initially reluctant, but after trying it I became hooked. The heat really helps us less than flexible guys loosen up the muscles. I had a misconception about yoga studios. It appears that there is a LARGE variety of options and the key is finding a gym/studio that fits your style. I found an awesome family run gym that was founded by wrestlers and has HIIT classes and yoga classes designed for all athletes (recreational & professional) #ArrichionStrong

I was not able to touch my toes when I started and now feel MUCH better range of motion and increased stability in my ankles/knees. If I want to stay on the Courts and play more tennis I feel regular yoga sessions help achieve that goal and improve my overall health. Also, when rain cancels my tennis I have an alternative activity I enjoy!

Keep up the great content!


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