Millions of people across the country have already found out how much fun pickleball can be. It combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis into one exciting game that is easy to learn.
Are you a player that wants to improve mobility or boost the power of your serve?
If you’ve already learned how to play pickleball and want to take your game to the next level, there are several exercises that you can do at home to help improve your skills.
5 Exercises to Improve Your Pickleball Game
Here are five pickleball home exercises that will help you reach peak performance:
Strengthening your legs, improving balance, and increasing lower body power are all key components of improving your pickleball game. Bodyweight squats help with all three and can be done anywhere.
Here are a few tips to get the best out of your squat:
- Consistent stance: Set your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width and get into a comfortable position.
- Stabilize your upper body: Don’t forget to keep your core engaged and your chest up.
- Butt-first: When you start the squat, focus on driving your hips back before lowering yourself.
If you consistently do bodyweight squats, you’ll be able to move quickly and create more power on the court.
You’ll see tennis, hockey, and football players all doing multi-directional lunges. This is because they help with agility, speed, and power.
Multi-directional lunges can be done at home without any additional equipment, but try standing on a plate to open your hips even further.
Lunges and squats can also be a great way to great to build thigh muscle mass and add power to your game.
There is a ton of rotational movement in pickleball. To create more power and reach your shots more easily, you should work on your core strength.
Some of the best pickleball exercises at home you can do are core twists. Muscle & Fitness offers three variations.
- Standing bar twists: With a barbell over your shoulders, twist at the waist while keeping your feet shoulder-width apart. If you don’t have a bar in your home gym, a broom handle or hockey stick can work.
- Standing plate twists: Hold a weight straight out in front of your chest, twist at the waist, and slowly rotate back to center. A medicine ball or kettlebell can stand in for the plate.
- Decline situp twist: Lie on a decline bench and hold a weight a few inches off your chest. Move into a half-situp position and then twist back and forth. If you don’t have a decline bench (or a roman chair), you can still do this from the floor.
The shoulder is the engine of your pickleball game. You need strength and mobility to hit powerful shots and reach for shots that are out-of-way. Increasing the rotation of your shoulder can help you improve both.
You can do shoulder rotation pickleball home exercises with a resistance band. All you need to do is attach the band to something stable, like a door handle, and then stand far enough away so that there is tension in the band when your arms are extended out in front of you.
Start slowly rotating your shoulders while holding onto the ends of the band. Make sure to keep your core engaged and breathe as you move through each repetition.
Those quick movements to reach shots and then quickly get back to the center of the court require a strong back. The bent-over row is a great exercise that can be done at home.
Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend at your hips so that you are in a slightly hinged position, and hold onto the weights with an overhand grip. Pull both weights up towards your chest while keeping them close to your body before slowly returning them to their starting positions.
A rowing machine is another great way to incorporate this exercise along with cardio into your training routine.
Other Drills and Stretches to Try At Home
There are lots of other pickleball home exercises and drills you can do to improve your game.
Paddle Balance to Improve Control
Coordination and control are critical for pickleball players that want to dominate on the court. Extend your paddle out in front of you and balance a pickleball on it. Once it is steady, try bouncing it as many times in a row as you can.
If you get 25 bounces without it falling off, take a short break and then repeat the exercise. Concentrate on hitting the ball the same height every time to improve your precision.
Tree Pose to Improve Balance
The Tree Pose is a classic yoga pose that helps improve your balance and coordination. Start by standing on one leg and raising the other off the ground. Slowly lower your hands to join them together in front of you, then slowly bring them up above your head while keeping your body stable.
Toe-Heel Raises to Prevent Injury
Pickleball is a fast-paced game that can put a strain on your ankles and feet. Toe-heel raises will help strengthen the muscles in your lower legs, improving balance and helping to prevent injury.
Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, then raise onto the balls of your feet before slowly lowering back down. Then pull your toes off the ground and drive all your weight into your heels. Go back and forth between the two, but stay in control and don’t rush.
Posterior Motion Stretch to Improve Flexibility
Stretching the posterior chain can help with mobility, flexibility, and power. The posterior chain consists of the muscles that are on the backside of your body (calves, glutes, hamstrings).
Seated hamstring stretches, prone cobras, and hip openers are all great exercises to do at home to improve the flexibility of the posterior chain.
Why You Need to Warm Up Before a Pickleball Game
Even though pickleball is played at a slower pace than something like tennis or squash, it’s still important to warm up before a game.
Warming up helps prepare the body for exercise by increasing blood flow to muscles and joints. This can help reduce muscle soreness, improve performance, and decrease the risk of injury.
Jogging or cycling can be used as part of your warm-up routine, but dynamic stretching is also a great way to get in some extra mobility work while you’re at it. Moves like arm circles, shoulder rolls, leg swings, and lunges are all good exercises that you can do right before heading out to the court.
What Home Gym Equipment is Best for Pickleball Players
If you have the space and budget, there are a few pieces of home gym equipment that can help you improve your pickleball game.
- Resistance bands: Bands are a great way to add resistance to your workouts while still being able to move freely. This can help with strengthening muscles that you use in pickleball, such as your legs, core, and shoulders.
- Medicine ball: Medicine balls are useful for doing explosive exercises like slams, throws, and rotational movements. These will help build both power and stability, which is important when playing pickleball.
- Jump rope: Using a jump rope is an effective way of improving agility and coordination while also getting some cardio in at the same time. It’s a cheap piece of equipment that doesn’t take up a lot of space and can be used for multiple exercises.
You don’t need expensive or bulky equipment to improve your game. With just a few pickleball exercises and stretches that you can do at home, you’ll be able to take your skills to the next level.
Once you’ve mastered the basics of pickleball, adding in some extra home exercises can help you become a top-level player.