“Pickleball isn’t dull, but pickleball warm-up exercise… I better not speak about it”. Seeing this attitude in pickleball players (the newbies, especially) is quite common for me. Sure the warm-up is boring, but skipping it would just serve your opponents “the win” on their plate. I’d rather not care if it was only about the win. But no warm-up has severe consequences, and I’m sure you don’t want to search the entire city for an orthopedic surgeon to cure your sprains and strain.
And honestly, it’s not about knowing pickleball warm-ups. Of course, a million websites will tell a hundred exercises. It’s about finding dedicated warm-up exercises to help you maintain your strength, flexibility, and metabolism. Here, I won’t only tell you the best workouts for pickleball, in both strength-building and injury-guarding terms, but also reveal the “fun” curve within. Just read through the end, and you’ll get addicted to pickleball warm-up workouts as you’re with pickleball.
5 dynamic warm-up exercises for Pickleball:
A dynamic workout means taking up your body’s temperature and making your heart race through specific long-motion exercises. Anything that fastens your heartbeat and makes you a little huff and puff is a dynamic exercise–No! Seeing your crush ain’t the one. Be serious here. We’re talking about exercises. While they’re many dynamic workouts, the ones that’ll help you in pickleball are:
Note: Take 10 rounds of court with a fast run before your warm-up. This wakes your body up and prepares it for the exercises. I don’t prefer running for older people, though. It’d be better just to jog or walk fast for 5-7 minutes.
Start your pickleball routine with skipping or jumping. And here, don’t bring your skipping rope. You’ve to do this manually. One thing to focus on. Don’t land on your heels. Instead, try to pull force on the front section of the toe. This way, your calf muscles will be strengthened, which protects you from Achilles. Jump 100 times in 5 rounds. Take a 5-minute break between each.
Arm circles or swings are an essential exercise to stay guarded against tennis elbow and arm and shoulder injuries when playing pickleball. There are three types of arm swings to add up and don’t intermix the sequence.
First, take both hands high above your hand and make a circle in front while taking them down–like you’re running a wheel from your hand. Do this twenty times and then switch the direction. Make the exact circle in anti-clockwise order, and repeat the number of times the same as a forward swing.
The third and last arm swing is in a horizontal direction. Open your arms wide open, just like the famous pose of Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan, except yours should be straight. Now move your arms forward and backward, like a butterfly, and do this 40 times.
Put your right hand on your head in an acute-angle position and the left on your waist. Now lift the right leg to the side and try to connect the elbow with the knee. Put the leg down, do it again, and make at least 5 rounds. Now switch the legs.
Trunk twists have the same action that’s going to help you in many pickleball drills and shots because it has the same position as the ready position of pickleball serve, i.e., your feet should-width and wide open your shoulders in a horizontal direction. Now turn around the right angle in a twisting motion from right to left and then left to right 20 times.
In standing side crunches, we crunched on the sides. Now, do that again within the front. Hang your hands freely and lift one leg and then another to the chest 25-30 times. The rounds aren’t the problem here; the position is. Older people will find it difficult to take their legs up to the chest, so it’s okay if they make only 10 to 15 rounds. Do less, but do properly.
After you complete your warm-up routine, take deep breaths for 3-5 minutes. Walk slowly around the court to get back to normal. Hydrate yourself first, and then head to the match. In addition, it’s a “warm-up” exercise, and none of its intentions is to hurt your body. Treat it like that. If you invest too much energy in warming up your body, you may feel exhausted during the match. Keep the exercise moderate. That’s why I only prefer doing only 5 exercises for medium rounds. Too much and too less isn’t going to serve you well.
5 stretches for pickleball (static warm-up exercises):
A static workout is a collection of stretches for the muscles to make them flexible. This is the best workout after playing pickleball since it helps your muscle relax and loosen up. The static workout prevents injuries, sprains, and strains in your body after the play. Static workout is also called cooldown exercises. Here are the helpful stretches for pickleball with tutorials.
Note: Just like running was mandatory for the dynamic exercises, it’s the reverse here. Prior to the static workout, make your body temperature normal by walking slowly around the court. Take deep breaths while walking. In and out. This will stabilize your heart rate and blood pressure. Now, start with the first stretching that is…
If you’ve ever done the underweight exercises, you must be familiar with this. It’s similar to the broomstick stretch for building muscles, except you don’t need to lift the weight. Just find any fixed pole and hold it in a bend-down position. Watch your back–it shouldn’t be rounded inside or outside. Your knees should be in the same line as your toes, while you’ll stretch the knees as much as you can. In this position, also stretch your hips and ankles simultaneously. Make 3 rounds of it, each for 30 seconds.
That’s one of my favorite stretches. For this, you’ll stand straight with both your feet joined together. Now bend down and try to touch your toe. Stay still for 15 seconds and make 3-4 rounds of it. Many people, in the start, couldn’t make it to the toe. However, after 2-3 times, you’ll make it, and that’s the best part.
Lateral Side Bending
Stand on your feet shoulder-width apart. Now place your right hand on the side of your hip and lift your left arm above your hand and lean towards the left side. Hold on for 25-30 seconds and then switch sides. Repeat the exercise 5 times. This will stabilize your spine’s motion and release tension from the arms and side posts.
Bent Arm Cross:
Fold your right arm in a right-angle position in front of your chest. Now take your left arm on your left shoulder and try pulling your right arm across the chest. Hold for 15 seconds, and then switch arms. Repeat 5 times. This is the best stretch to guard against any shoulder injury, including the Rotator Cuff.
Hip Adductor Stretch:
This is the final stretch for your entire body. For this, stand on your feet apart about 2 feet or as much as you can while maintaining your balance. Now bend your right leg, lean on it, and put both hands on it in a way that you’re pushing your knee or pressurizing it. Your left leg should be straight, though. Hold on to 30 seconds and repeat it 2 times on each leg.
A few key points to remember when you stretch:
- Be attentive. Always stretch as much as your body is flexible within. Don’t hurt muscles trying to overstretch. There’s a difference between tension and hurt. Stop when you feel like you can’t take it anymore. Relax for a while and then continue.
- Take pauses between stretches. Don’t go stretching one after another.
- Don’t stop breathing. Your breath should be regular and ongoing throughout.
- Once you’ve stretched, you’re obliged to do it daily. If you skip days, your muscles will be tightened 2 times more than usual, and it will be harrowing when you stretch again. I remember once I took a week’s break from my gym, and I cried when I did it again–absolutely horrible!
Which warm-up is better for pickleball: static or dynamic:
Both. It depends on the situation. The dynamic workout is ideal before the match, while static exercises are the best post-match workouts. Both exercises have adverse reactions on your body if you switch them alternatively. Here’s the science behind it.
Take a look at the muscle’s structure. There are two main proprioceptors, called the Golgi tendon organ (GTO) and muscle spindle. These proprioceptors work for the muscle’s flexibility and stiffness and signal the brain. When you stretch the muscle, the proprioceptors activate the potential stretch-reflex mechanism, which simply means your muscle will be flexible, and your body will go into a relaxed mode. So doing static exercise before playing pickleball? Busted!
Now let’s explain the dynamic after the pickleball. I already spoke too much about physiology above, so let’s keep it simple. Your body will go exhausted. You’ll warm up before the game, now playing pickleball, and then again doing exercises that boil up your body will have negative impacts. You may lose weight too–in a negative sense and may have muscle aches afterward.
Benefits of a dynamic warm-up:
A dynamic warm-up workout has uncountable plus points for any sport. No, I’m not going into depth, making you count them all. For pickleball, the following plus point will be enough to motivate you:
- Enhances your metabolism.
- Makes you active and ready for the showtime.
- Activates your muscle and nervous system, so you’ll think more smartly and strategize your game better.
- Elevates your heart rate and improves blood circulation.
Advantages of static warm-up:
Just like warming up is vital before any athletic activity, cooling down your body posses equal importance for your well-being. Let me highlight a few special favors that a static workout does for you.
- It keeps your muscle flexible and releases tension.
- Maintains your posture.
- Protects your body from muscle and tendon injuries.
- Relaxes your mind and body.
- It enhances the brain-body and muscle-muscle coordination, which helps you play better.
About the pickleball warm-up exercises, the how-to’s and what-to’s, advantages, and tricks, your ride has ended here. Knowing the right warm-up and cool-down exercises and doing them right away and inappropriate rounds is your key to having a successful pickleball career and healthy life. I hope you’re never skipping your routine from now onwards, despite whatever, and you shouldn’t. My last tip for you is to start with a small workout routine and stay consistent and rigid. Eventually, you’ll find your way to make it your habit and do a proper routine.
Sending luck and love. See ya!
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