by Pickleball Superstore September 11, 2022
Conditioning is critical for pickleball tournament players. Long days, lots of matches, etc. requires explosive bursts, direction changes, and rotations of the arms, legs and body that can pull a muscle. Gripping the pickleball paddle can cause carpal tunnel, while repetitive swinging motions can cause lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow).
Instead of just using pickleball as a way to get fit, it’s recommended that you get in shape before focusing on the finer points of your game. Whether you’re ready to get on the court or you’ve been playing pickleball for years, it’s important to incorporate endurance training into your workout routine. In this way, you can reduce injury risk and get the most out of any pickleball conditioning you do.
Start by doing about 30 minutes of cardio three times a week. This could include short sprints, jogging around the neighborhood, or participating in more organized races. If you can’t run a 5-10k, you might struggle to make it through a full pickleball match. Once your endurance is up, shuttle runs, ladders and similar exercises help with speed and agility.
You should also incorporate stretching and strength-training exercises—such as a Flexbar/Twist Bar routine—into your exercise regimen to help prevent injury. While a twist bar workout isn’t designed to boot endurance, it can help prevent "tennis elbow" while strengthening muscles and increasing grip strength.
Dynamic Warm-Ups are a type of flexibility training that help prepare the body for the physical demands of pickleball. Effective warm-ups help the muscles work efficiently, prepare the heart and lungs for intense activity, and “awaken” the nervous system. Dynamic warm-ups differ from many traditional stretches by mirroring the demands of a pickleball match. Shuttle runs, lunges, and jumping jacks are a few basic examples of dynamic warm-ups.
Single leg run: run with the balls of your feet touching the ground, with only one foot contacting each rectangle. Start slow and increase speed to avoid getting tangled in the rope or touching the chalk.
Double leg run: similar to the single leg run, except both feet step down in each box. Go as fast as you can without losing control of your movements.
Double side step: instead of sprinting, shuffle sideways, placing both feet in each box.
Shuttle sprints involve short runs from the baseline to the kitchen line, while gradually increasing to longer sprints (such as from the baseline to baseline). This exercise is designed to improve leg power, agility, and short bursts of speed. And as a cardio exercise, shuttle sprints are a great way to train endurance while mirroring the types of motions you will need to perform on the court.
Burpees are a high-energy exercise that utilize leg, chest, and shoulder strength. They’re one of the more intensive conditioning exercises, and you may feel a little sore if you’re still early in your conditioning training. But burpees are a great full-body workout that can benefit your strength, endurance and explosiveness on the court.
Lay down on the ground in a plank position, leap into a crouch, then explode into an upward jump. Land softly with a bend in your knees and drop back into a plank position. That’s one.
It probably goes without saying, but a healthy diet and adequate amount of sleep are necessary for good health, which is a key part of succeeding in any sport. Regarding conditioning specifically, a balanced diet and good night’s sleep helps the body recover from vigorous training, providing energy during workouts, strength through rest, and lowering injury risk.
Prior to any pickleball tournament, start hydrating and getting your diet and sleep into order well in advance of the tournament weekend. Many players enjoy Jigsaw Health products for hydration.
Conditioning doesn’t just refer to endurance; conditioning exercises also help improve speed, agility, strength, and mental conditioning. Together, all these things make for a successful pickleball match. And by incorporating proper pickleball conditioning into your workout regimen, you can reduce injury risk and give yourself a leg up on the competition.
Good luck. Have fun. Play well. LET'S GO!!!!