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SHOULD PICKLEBALL BE YOUR ONLY WORKOUT?




Lots of people play pickleball for lots of reasons, so while pickleball is a great source of exercise, depending on what your fitness goals are, pickleball may or may not be enough for you.

Let’s go through a few things to keep in mind when it comes to what kind of workout you’re targeting from pickleball.

CARDIO

While pickleball can provide a complete cardiovascular workout, it might not be enough for everyone. If you’re not a consistent exerciser, or someone who is overweight, pickleball will certainly be enough. If you are fit, in shape and a consistent exerciser, you may need more cardio to improve your endurance, burn calories and promote good heart health.

STRENGTH

Pickleball primarily engages the upper body muscles, including arms, shoulders and core. Yes, depending on how active you are on the court, there are definite lower body benefits, too, as one needs to be agile, move back and forth well laterally and consistently bend the knees for those tough dink shots.

However, pickleball isn’t comprehensive strength training and may not be a complete workout for all muscle groups. Incorporating strength exercises before or after a pickleball session, targeting different muscle groups will definitely help overall strength, stability and muscle balance.

FLEXIBILITY AND MOBILITY

Undoubtedly you’re going to get a good amount of moving in while playing pickleball, as there is a range of movements a player must make every time the ball is served, however, dedicated mobility workouts, such as things for the joints and range of motion, even injury prevention, are best done with a trained professional or in a gym setting. Pickleball will require to lunge, pivot and more, but there’s not a huge amount of flexibility enhancement that will happen during your game.

BALANCE AND COORDINATION

Pickleball is a great way to work on balance and for coordination, especially when it comes to hand-eye. Balance can be improved by playing pickleball, negotiating the non-volley zone line and getting your body in the correct stance to handle a variety of shots.

Coordination can be improved by pickleball’s dynamic movements, shifts of direction and quick changes in tempo. Overall, pickleball may by a suitable workout if your goal is to just work on coordination and balance.

INJURY PREVENTION

There are a number of activities one can do in the gym to help themselves be proactive against getting injured, including stretching, cardio and specific exercises to build strength in a number of different body areas.

However, playing pickleball isn’t a great way to work on injury prevention. If pickleball is your only outlet for exercise, it is important to give yourself plenty of rest days and recovery days to help prevent injuries.

VARIETY

Even if pickleball is your main outlet for exercise, you may find you’ll get more enjoyment, as well as a good workout, from pickleball if you find a variety of activities to take part in. 

Pickleball is an excellent way to stay active, have some fun and engage in a social setting, but incorporating simple things like walking, running, lifting weights, yoga, stretching and more, can help not only work different muscle groups, but aid in recovery, as well as keep someone from being bored by only playing pickleball. 

Mixing up the routine with lots of activities is always a good idea. And while pickleball is a great way to exercise, it may not be something that will fulfill all aspects of a well-rounded fitness program.

Pickleball is great, but consider targeting different aspects of fitness to help with health, performance, flexibility and enjoyment.

WANT TO ADD TO YOUR PICKLEBALL WORKOUT?

So, let’s say pickleball isn’t enough for you, and you’d like to add more to your regular workout. There are lots of options for you. 

AGILITY AND FOOTWORK

Pickleball is fantastic for working on agility and footwork, as the up-tempo game is played in a small area and requires precision, but practicing  agility drills, such as shuttle runs, cone drills and ladder drills will help speed up your feet, get you a good cardio workout and also help get you ready for your next pickleball game.

PLYOMETRIC TRAINING

Plyometric exercises will help you get faster, improve your power and even help with your reaction time on the court. 

Lots of squats, jumps, push-ups and lateral movement are great for not only cardio, but strength, too.

CORE STRENGTHENING

A strong core is great for developing balance and stability and even power in pickleball. This can be achieved by doing planks, twists, crunches and stability ball exercises. Those all help to make your abdominals, obliques and lower back muscles stronger.

WALK, JOG, RUN, SWIM OR CYCLE

It’s never good when you catch yourself catching your breath in the middle of a competitive pickleball match. You don’t want to get too tired. One of the ways you can guard against getting winded is to do the work off the court.

Go for a walk, jog, swim or get on a bike. All are great for building your cardio base and all will help get you ready to stay in better pickleball shape for those long matches.

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