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The importance of stretching and strengthening for pickleball


By Dustin Davis

on Jul 09, 2024

 

NASM specialist Dustin Davis kneels and points as he shows a pickleball player how to properly lunge to train his legs for peak pickleball performance.

Many have heard about the importance of stretching and strengthening before exercising, yet it’s common to see people jump straight into a pickleball match without preparation. 

While this might feel fine initially, it often leads to soreness the next day. Proper muscle strengthening and stretching are crucial for peak performance and injury prevention. 

In this Selkirk Pickleball TV episode, Certified Teaching Pro and NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist Dustin Davis shares effective strengthening exercises to enhance your overall health and performance on the pickleball court. 

Key strengthening exercises for pickleball players

As you follow each exercise, focus on the muscle you’re working. Ensure you’re not just going through the motions but engaging your mind with the muscles you’re targeting. 

If the starting points are too challenging, begin with three repetitions and gradually increase. For an additional challenge, incorporate light weights into the exercises

Exercise 1: Elongated lunges

  • Starting position: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Lunge: Extend your left leg forward, rolling from heel to toe. Slowly lower into a lunge, bringing your right knee to hover just above the ground.
  • Hold and engage: Hold this position for five seconds, squeezing your left thigh and pushing into the ground. Ensure your left knee does not extend past your toes and remains aligned outward.
  • Rise and repeat: Push into the ground to rise. Then, complete five regular lunges without holding. On the fifth lung, hold in the bottom position for four seconds before completing four regular lunges. Continue this pattern down to one second, then switch legs.

This exercise enhances your ability to get low at the kitchen line, improving your dinking abilities. 

Exercise 2: Focused calf raises

  • Starting position: Stand near a support surface like a couch or chair. Hold onto it for support. 
  • Calf raise: Raise your right leg slightly off the ground and hold it there. Slowly lift your left heel to balance on the ball of your foot, squeezing your calf and holding for five seconds.
  • Lower and repeat: Lower your heel and complete five calf raises without holding at the top. On the fifth raise, hold for four seconds before completing four normal calf raises. Continue this pattern down to one second, then switch legs.

Completing this exercise one foot at a time challenges your calf muscles more effectively. Strong calves are essential for explosive, fast-twitch movements and help reduce knee strain, preventing injury.

Exercise 3: External shoulder rotations

  • Starting position: Lie on your left side with your feet stacked. Hold a light weight (1-5 pounds) in your right hand.
  • Rotation: Rest your right elbow on your waist, holding the weight vertically. Slowly lower the weight toward the ground and lift it back to the starting position.
  • Repetitions: Keep your elbow stationary and complete three sets of 10 repetitions, then switch sides.

This exercise builds lean muscle mass and enhances your ability to volley the pickleball. Strong shoulders are crucial for executing powerful shots.

Exercise 4: Yoga ball planks

  • Starting position: Place your forearms on a yoga ball with your feet stretched out behind you. If you don't have a yoga ball, perform a standard plank.
  • Plank: Hold the plank for 15 seconds, squeezing your glutes and abs.
  • Repeat: Complete this hold three times.

Building your core, including your abs, back, and glutes, is essential for spine protection and balanced body strength. A strong core improves your ability to respond to off-center shots effectively.

For a complete guide to these exercises and more, download the Selkirk TV app to watch the full episode and explore additional original shows, podcasts, and lesson series from the pros.

Download the Selkirk TV app HERE to watch the complete episode and many other Selkirk TV original shows, podcasts, lesson series from the pros, and much more. 

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