Conditioning Exercises for Pickleball

Pickleball is a fast-paced sport that requires a combination of agility, endurance, strength, and coordination. To perform at your best and reduce the risk of injuries, it is essential to focus on specific conditioning exercises. Some key areas to target include:


Cardiovascular Endurance: Engage in regular aerobic exercises such as jogging, cycling, or swimming to enhance your endurance on the pickleball court.


Strength and Power: Include resistance training exercises targeting the muscles involved in pickleball movements, such as your legs, core, shoulders, and arms.


Flexibility: Perform stretching exercises to maintain and improve the flexibility of your major muscle groups, reducing the risk of strains and sprains.


Agility and Balance are two of the most important skills in preventing injuries related to Pickleball. A good conditioning program will Incorporate drills that improve your ability to change direction quickly, maintain balance, and react swiftly to the ball’s movements.

These skills play a vital role in pickleball performance and injury prevention. Efficient balance enables you to maintain stability during quick direction changes, sudden stops, and explosive movements. Benefits of balance training for pickleball include:


  • Improved Stability: Enhancing balance helps you stay steady on your feet, reducing the risk of slips, falls, and twisted ankles.
  • Enhanced Reaction Time: Better balance allows you to react quickly to unpredictable ball trajectories and adjust your body position accordingly.
  • Optimal Body Control: Good balance enables precise footwork, enabling you to move smoothly and efficiently across the court.
  • Injury Prevention: By training your balance, you develop stronger stabilizer muscles, which can help protect your joints and reduce the risk of sprains or strains.


Here are some specific exercises to improve your balance and agility for pickleball:


Single-Leg Balance


Stand on one leg while maintaining a stable posture. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other leg. Perform 3 sets on each leg. You can make this progressively more challenging by moving your arms, closing your eyes, or even reading a book.



Lateral Shuffle Drill


Place markers on the ground about 3 feet apart. Shuffle laterally, moving quickly from one marker to another. Perform 10 repetitions in each direction for 3 sets.



Agility Ladder Drills


Use an agility ladder to perform various footwork patterns, such as the “in-and-out” drill or the “side-to-side” drill. Aim for quick and precise footwork. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions for each drill. (PHOTO)




Basketball Rotational Throws

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a basketball or volleyball. Rotate your torso and throw the ball against a wall or to a partner. Catch the ball and repeat in the opposite direction. Perform 10 repetitions on each side for 3 sets.



Jumping Lunges


Start in a lunge position. Jump explosively, switching legs in mid-air and landing in a lunge with the opposite leg forward. Alternate legs with each jump. Perform 10 repetitions for 3 sets.



Here are a few Core strength Exercises that will help prevent back strain during pickleball.


Plank Variations


Engage your core muscles by performing different plank variations such as the modified plank with hands on an elevated surface such as a bench or table, the standard plank, side plank, or forearm plank. Hold each position for 30-60 seconds and perform 3 sets.






Assume a plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the ground, then push back up to the starting position. A standard push up can be modified by placing hands on a table or counter top. This is preferred over a push up from a kneeling position as it will still work your entire core.  Perform 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions. 



Bent-Over Rows


Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand. Bend forward at the waist, keeping your back flat, and allow your arms to hang down. Pull the weights towards your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Perform 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions. 



Russian Twists


Sit on the ground with your knees bent and feet planted or for a more advanced level: feet lifted off the floor. Hold a medicine ball or weight with both hands. Twist your torso from side to side, touching the ball or weight to the ground on each side. Perform 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions on each side.



Remember to warm up before performing any new exercises and consult with a physical therapist or healthcare professional if you have any pre-existing conditions or concerns. The exercises may feel challenging but should not be painful. Listen to your body and keep in mind that this is not medical advice.


If you are experiencing pickleball-related pain or have concerns about your conditioning routine, it is always a good idea to consult a physical therapist. They can assess your specific needs, develop a customized plan, and guide you through exercises to enhance your performance and prevent injuries. If you live in the Arvada Colorado area Dr. Sandra Do would be happy to help you prepare your body for pickleball or in the unfortunate event, help you recover from an injury.

Click to schedule an appointment today!