Yoga Poses for Tennis

Yoga Poses for Tennis

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Tennis players can benefit from yoga.

Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images

According to the United States Tennis Association, many tennis players -- including professionals -- have embraced yoga as a way of developing their bodies and improving their game. As a mind-body activity that involves poses called asanas, yoga can increase your strength, flexibility and balance while also reducing your stress and anxiety and improving concentration. Because tennis players are physically prone to tight hips, quads and hamstrings, athletes use yoga to address those areas and also to restore balance to their core and spine after repeated lunging and swinging movements on the court.

Warrior II

Warrior II can benefit tennis players by strengthening their core muscles and stretching their legs, groin, ankles, chest and shoulders -- all of which are primary areas used during matches. To achieve this pose, start by standing with your feet spread roughly 4 feet apart, turning your right leg and torso out to the side and lunging in that direction until your right knee is at a 90-degree angle. Keeping your left leg straight, lift your arms to the side until they are parallel with the floor, your palms facing down. Brace yourself with your core and thighs and hold the pose for 30 seconds to one minute before repeating on the other side.

Extended Triangle Pose

Extended Triangle pose can help tennis players by strengthening their thighs, knees and ankles and by stretching their hips, groin, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, chest and spine. This pose also helps relieve backaches, which can plague tennis players after long, strenuous matches. Similar to Warrior II, Extended Triangle pose begins with your legs 4 feet apart, the right foot facing outward. Instead of lunging, keep both legs straight, extend your arms to the sides and exhale as you bend at the waist toward your right ankle. Allow your arms to follow the movement so that one is resting on your right ankle and the other is lifted toward the sky. Stabilize yourself with your thighs and core and rotate your torso and head up to face your lifted arm. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute and repeat on the other side.

Tree Pose

The Tree pose can help tennis players relieve tight muscles and cultivate better balance on the court. It stretches the thighs, calves, ankles, spine, groin, chest and shoulders with a heavy emphasis on the inner thighs. For Tree pose, stand facing forward, shift your weight to your left leg and raise your right leg. Grasp your right foot and bring it up to rest its sole on your inner left thigh with your toes pointing to the floor. Breathe naturally. Place your hands in front of your chest and press the palms together while focusing on stabilizing your body with your core muscles. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute and repeat with the opposite leg.

Half Lord of the Fishes Pose

The Half Lord of the Fishes pose helps tennis players by stretching the hips, shoulders and neck and energizing the spine, which is challenged with repetitive twisting motions during serves and volleys. It also is used as a therapeutic exercise for asthma patients, which can help tennis players who have difficulty breathing on the court or during breaks. For the pose, start by sitting on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Bend both knees and slide your left foot under your right leg to the outside of your right hip, laying the outside of your left leg on the floor. Step your right foot over your left leg and stand it on the floor outside your left hip with your knee facing upward. Exhale and twist toward the inside of your right thigh, placing your right hand behind you on the floor for stability, pressing it into the ground along with your buttocks and setting your left elbow on the outside of your right thigh close to the knee. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute, breathing deeply and twisting more with each exhalation. Repeat on the other side.

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