Prior to any sport, it’s imperative to prepare your body for strenuous activity. Pickleball is one such sport that requires its fair share of warm up exercises.
Warm up exercises help improve flexibility and endurance during the game, thereby reducing your risk of injuries.
Before you get hooked on the dynamics of pickleball, we recommend incorporating some of the exercises below to prepare your body for the game!
Pickleball Warm Up Exercises
Pickleball warm up exercises are essentially a group of medium-intensity exercises performed prior to a pickleball game. A light workout to get your heart pumping is a great way to improve your athletic performance without overworking your body.
According to physical therapist Randy Bauer, throwing in a couple of dynamic exercises before your game improves your training regimen.
He affirms, “The goal is to maximize the preparedness of the body for the demands of pickleball.”Randy Bauer
Note that if you experience a sharp jolt or muscle pain while performing these exercises, you should consult a health care provider for further assistance.
Benefits of Pickleball Warm Up Exercises
While there are numerous benefits of warming up your body before an arduous workout, a good warm-up before a pickleball game improves your stamina exponentially. A dynamic warm-up range is beneficial in the following ways.
When the body is subjected to physical strain, it can sometimes break down under the stress. When athletes reach puberty, the chance of injury increases tenfold.
If you target your body with exercises that activate your core, glutes, and muscles–there are fewer chances of serious injuries. By introducing warm-up exercises, you’re also making your pickleball game as effective as possible.
Raises Core Body Temperature
Just like a car’s engine that needs to sit in the garage for a few minutes before it is ready for driving, your body needs to be stimulated in a similar way.
Muscle and elastic connective tissues are better equipped to deal with flexible movements under high temperatures.
Higher temperatures allow easier, unrestricted motion so that blood circulates throughout the body.
This also activates the nervous system and allows functions to operate more efficiently during your pickleball game.
Improves Blood Flow
Dynamic warm-up exercises get your heart pumping and blood flowing to the brain as well as your muscles. Performing stretching on a daily basis aids in improving blood circulation which inadvertently shortens your recovery time and reduces muscle soreness.
If you are planning to improve your overall health, engaging in a warm up session can increase your endurance so that you enjoy your pickleball game without worrying about straining your muscles.
Types Of Pickleball Warm Up Exercises
Depending on the intensity you’re going for, we have listed pickleball warm up stretches and exercises that can thoroughly stimulate your muscles without draining you out.
Pickleball Warm Up Exercises
To start the warm up process, you’ll need to loosen your joints and muscles first. These usually include a string of exercises and other movements to prepare your body for warm ups.
To activate these exercises, start with a couple of exercises that include reaching up and touching the sky, gentle lunges, brisk walks, and light jogging.
At this point, your muscles have not been fully activated so you should start slow and take your time with it. You do not want to stretch your muscles out just yet as it is still a cold muscle.
The act of loosening your muscles removes areas of tension and soreness without adding extra stress.
Next, we move on to the pickleball warm up exercises. These exercises are also known as dynamic stretching which involves continuous movement as opposed to static stretching.
- Court Length Jogs: This involves jogging the length of the court and returning to the starting point at a relaxed pace. Repeat this process 3-5 times.
- Arm Circles: Start by gently swinging your arms in circles forward for 30 seconds. Then, switch the direction of the arm circles and swing it backward for another 30 seconds.
- Ankle Rolls: This is a little tricky so make sure you are following the instructions carefully. Start by lifting one leg and rolling your leg in one direction for 3 rotations. Repeat the same exercise on the other leg.
- Core Twists: Stand with your feet apart and channel your core energy to twist your shoulders to the left and then gradually to the right. Repeat the core twists for each shoulder 10 times.
- Overhead stretch: Stretch your arms as far as you like in the upward direction. Swing your arms back down and stretch them behind your hips. Repeat this exercise for 15 reps.
- High knee marches: You might have seen these high-knee marches in army drills. Bring your knees to the height of your hips and bring your leg back down as your arms sway at your side. Continue this motion for 30 seconds.
These exercises are simple yet effective for improving blood circulation and activating your body muscles for the pickleball game.
Pickleball Warm Up Drills
In pickleball, both players typically warm up together facing each other across the net. These drills are basically a pair of warm exercises that you can do with your pickleball partner before a game.
In tournament matches, players generally get 5-10 minutes to warm up on the field. These pickleball warm up drills are necessary for your performance in a game. Some of them are listed below:
- Practice Dinks– Stand at your respective non-volley lines and dink back and forth with your partner. Make sure that you land some shots close to the net or at the feet of your partner.
- Lobs– Start by stretching your hands toward the sky so that you can loosen your stomach muscles. You can switch sides with your partner for this exercise so you can practice in different weather conditions such as sun and wind.
- Serves and Returns– Practice serves and returns can help you get an idea about the court. After one person serves the ball, the partner should work on the return. You can even ask your partner to switch sides for this.
- Court positioning- Most players tend to return back to the center of the court after making their shot so that when the ball goes to the far end, it is still accessible for the player. You can do this by moving forward and backward from the non-volley line to the baseline–all while hitting the ball at the opposite non-volley zone.
- Volleying– For approximately 60 seconds, volley the ball backward and forwards so that you can get practice on both sides.
Make sure that while hitting the drop volleys, you hit them from the transition area (No Man’s Land) into your partner’s non-volley zone. Pickleball warm up drills are useful for quick preps before a game.
Check out these 24 pickleball drills to improve your game fast.
Pickleball Cooldown Exercises
Cool-down exercises are as important as warm up exercises. When the game ends, you can be tempted to skip cooldowns after an exhausting game.
Avoiding cool downs is detrimental to your health so take your time for a quick cool down stretch.
- Chest arm stretches: With the support of the other hand, pull one arm across the chest. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds and switch to the other arm on the pickleball court.
- Quad stretch: Pull your foot backward and grab the toe of the shoe with your hand. Hold this position for 15 seconds and switch to the other leg.
- Side stretch: Stand with your feet apart and put one hand on your hip, while arching your head towards the other side of your body. Do 10 pulses and repeat it on the other side.
- Toe touch: Stand with your feet together and try to touch your toes while bending at the waist. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds.
Cool down exercises allow your heart rate and breathing to go back to normal.
How Long Should Pickleball Warm Up Exercises Take?
A proper warm up routine should typically last between 5-10 minutes.
Remember to incorporate exercises that pick up your heart rate but do not completely exhaust you.
The aim should be to activate your muscles enough so that you do not injure them. You can switch between pickleball warm up stretches and the standard warm up drills to fully target your body.
Avoiding warm up exercises before any sport can put you at serious risk. With a quick warm up and cool down routine, you can reach your fullest potential during a pickleball game without risking injury.