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 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.
With teacher Carmen Micallef
Yoga to improve my tennis – this is how it should look
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.”
Yoga to improve my tennis – Pilates and then gym
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.
Luckily I could rest a bit out on the terrace. But not for long as it was close to 40 degrees Celsius out there!
Do you do any yoga or pilates to improve your fitness and tennis? Please let us know in the comments below.