Do you have a pre-pickleball warm-up routine? If not, you should! Just like in any sport, you don’t go straight from the couch to your match without a proper warm-up. But what's the best way to warm up for pickleball?
Start with Dynamic Stretching
A good warm-up should help loosen up your muscles and increase your energy level before playing.
Back in the day, static stretching was all the rage as an effective warm-up routine before doing any physical activity. Static stretches are those in which you stand, sit, or lie still and hold a single position for period of time.
The problem here is that you don’t get your heart rate up and your blood flowing, which are the key elements in the effective warm-up. So, save the static stretches for your cool-down after the pickleball play, and instead choose dynamic stretching for your warm-up routine.
For a great dynamic warm-up, you want to combine stretching positions with movement. This can include arm circles, core twists, hip circles, ankle rolls, and wrist rotations. Try to do 8-10 reps in each direction on both sides. You can also add 4-6 walking lunges.
To increase your heart rate, you can try to jog in place or jog up the length of the court and back. Alternatively, whipping out a jump rope for a couple of 20-30 second jumping sessions is always a good idea.
Now You Are Ready to Pick up Your Paddle
Start working on the dinks with your partner and get your body ready for the lateral movement in pickleball. Hit some dinks wide and others towards the middle, some close to the net and others close to the non-volley line.
After about 30-60 seconds of dinking, volley the ball back and forth to each other.
For the next 60 seconds or so, warm up your drop shots. One player should stay at the non-volley line and will feed the ball to the other player for him/her to hit drop shots from various spots on the court.
Once both players had a chance to practice the drop shots, it’s time to move to the baseline for some groundstrokes. Make sure to hit both backhands and forehands.
Finally, have your partner hit you a couple of lobs so that you can hit some overheads to make sure your shoulder, arm, and stomach muscles are loose.
If there’s any time remaining, don’t forget to practice serves and returns since these are the types of shots you don’t want to be mishitting during the game.
Things to Keep in Mind
You will usually have 5-10 minutes before your pickleball play, so it’s important to include the most beneficial exercises in your warm-up routine that you can do in this time interval.
A good warm-up will get your body and mind prepared for a successful pickleball play and will have you feel your best on the court.
These few minutes will help you reduce the risk of pulling a muscle or spraining your ankle or wrist. Such injury could take weeks or even months to heal.
After the pickleball play is over, remember that a proper cool-down is equally essential. Here, you will want to try the static stretching that we mentioned earlier.
So, if your pickleball warm-up routine resembles what I described in this article, you are doing your body a huge favor and are setting yourself up for success in the great game of pickleball!