Pickleball just keeps growing and growing – in popularity and in media attention.
It’s beyond trendy now, with some 5 million people playing, many of them active agers over 50 – and beyond.
So, it’s important to point out something that many folks might not realize:
Gym workouts make you a better pickleball player.
It’s true. If you want to have more endurance on the (smaller than tennis) court, more power in your swing, and more ability to make those shots – all the time smiling – then you need to come in here and join us for stretching, strength and endurance training.
Stretching to ‘feel wonderful’
Champ Barb Wintroub, 75, stays fit for the game and advocates for stretching.
“People are getting injured as they get older because they’re not stretching,” says Barb, a Pilates instructor in Southern California. “And they’re not standing up straight. I’m continuing to do that. And it makes a huge difference.”
She demonstrates in a YouTube video how to do squats for thighs and glutes, rotational twists for the obliques, and other stretches for arms and back. “All of these stretches are supposed to feel wonderful,” she says. If they hurt – stop.
Stretching is simple, and it’s easy to learn when we show you the right moves to help your game safely and effectively. So, come in and let’s show you how to warm up before playing and cool down after.
Tim Minnick, 79, of Austin, Texas, has been cited as the world’s oldest active personal trainer by Guinness.
Strong core and glutes are essential
“Core strength is critical in pickleball, especially rotational core strength,” like it is in tennis, golf, and other sports, Tim says. “That means the ability to rotate under control as well as stop rotation to be able to hit the ball and hit where you want to hit it.”
Tim suggests lunges with a pause for balance, and simple glute bridges, or hip raises, as demonstrated here.
Pickleball requires quick stops and starts, so it’s important to stay balanced. “That means leg strength is critical here, especially power from the largest muscle group in your body, the glute muscles, better known as the butt,” Tim says.
Working the glutes with us is important for any sports, including pickleball.
“They produce the power for successful athletic performance at any level,” Tim says.
To train for endurance? Tim recommends High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which has been proven in studies to be both effective and safe for mature athletes. HIIT means, as an example, that you run fast for a short time period – say 20 seconds – and then slow down for another time period, then repeat.
That’s how a game of pickleball goes, after all. And many games are played as part of tournaments.
“Cardiovascular fitness is critical to be able to play in tournaments,” Tim says. “It’s much more fun when you don’t have to stop and catch your breath all the time.”
Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.