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Yoga for Beginners

Yoga for Athletes: 4 Poses for Tennis Players

A yoga practice 
can be an important recovery tool 
for tennis in order to stretch tight muscles and encourage tissue resiliency.

Try this simple, four-pose routine after every match for fast recovery and to stay agile and injury-free.

Tennis can be taxing. With each stroke of the racquet, you put great force on your shoulder, arm, and wrist. And the quick, multidimensional movements as you zigzag across the court impact your legs, hips, and spine. A yoga practice can be an important recovery tool to stretch tight muscles, encourage tissue resiliency, and address muscle asymmetries from what’s typically a one-sided sport.

Crescent Lunge at the Wall

yoga for athletes, crescent lunge with wall assist, anjaneyasana

Good for stretching the hip flexors and chest

Stand with your right side near a wall or court fence. Step your right foot forward about 4 feet. Turn your torso slightly to the wall and place your right hand on it slightly behind you. Bend your right elbow to about 90 degrees, keeping it at shoulder height. Slowly bend your right knee until it’s directly above your ankle as you turn your chest forward to feel a stretch in your right chest and the front of your left hip. Hold for 30–60 seconds; repeat on the other side.

SEE ALSOAssessing Range of Motion in Squatting Poses

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) with Tennis Racquet

tennis, cowface arms pose with racket assist, gomukhasana

Good for improving range of motion and stretching the rotator cuff

Grab the top of your racquet with your right hand. Reach your right arm up over your shoulder and down your back. Place your left hand at the center of your lower back and grab the handle. The key is finding a position where you can relax the shoulders with a gentle stretch. If you’re a right handed-player, hold for 1 minute; switch sides and hold for 2 minutes. If you’re a lefty, hold for 2 minutes with right arm up; switch sides and hold for 1 minute.

SEE ALSOTiffany Cruikshank’s Guide to the Shoulder Girdle

Reclining Side Figure Four

yoga for athletes, eagle-leg supine twist

Good for releasing the outer hip, low back, and IT Band, which runs from the outer hip to the outer knee

Lie on your back, bend your knees, and take your left ankle to your right knee, then take both legs to your right. Place the sole of your left foot on the floor as you send the left knee away from your head to feel a stretch through the left outer thigh and hip. Drop your left
hip so your low back relaxes. Hold for 1–2 minutes; switch sides.

SEE ALSO Anatomy 101: 8 Poses to Strengthen Your Wrists + Prevent Injury

Supine Twist

double knee supine twist pose, supta matsyendrasana

Good for stretching the muscles around the spine and increasing circulation to the spine

Lie on your back, bend both knees, and take both legs to the right to rest on the floor or a pillow. Relax your back, hips,
and then your entire body as you rest here. If you’re a left-handed player, hold your knees to the right for about 2–3 minutes; switch sides and hold knees to the left for 1–2 minutes. Reverse the sequence if you’re right-handed.

EXPLOREYoga for Tennis

About Our Pro

Tiffany Cruikshank One-Legged Chaturanga

Teacher and model Tiffany Cruikshank, founder of Yoga Medicine, grew up playing competitive tennis. She now travels the world teaching yoga teachers how to apply the practice of yoga therapeutically with athletes and students of all types.