5 exercises to improve your pickleball game

Would you like to take your pickleball game to the next level? Though pickleball has been around for decades, it seems to have only recently exploded as a popular aerobic pick. Pickleball courts are popping up around communities and at local gyms.

In addition to being fun, pickleball has physical and mental health benefits associated with it, such as improved eye-hand coordination, better balance, and enhanced agility. It’s also a very social sport, which creates an opportunity to meet and bond with new friends. Though pickleball is great for any age, it’s especially ideal for older adults looking to enjoy the feel of a racquet sport without the strenuous, full-court sprinting and pivoting that can jolt sensitive joints.

So whether you’re looking for a new workout option, are picking up the pickleball paddle for the first time, or simply want to sharpen your skills, the following exercises are for you. Aim to practice this circuit three times a week, in addition to your current weekly workout routine.

You will need a tennis ball.

  • Stand tall with your hands resting on your hips or in front of the body. Take a step forward with the right foot and lower into a lunge, keeping your weight in your front heel. Push through the front foot to return to the starting stance.

  • Now step out to the right for a lateral lunge. The left leg is fully extended while your right heel bears the brunt of your weight. Push through your right foot to step the feet back together.

  • Finally, step back into a reverse lunge with your weight in the front heel. Repeat this entire sequence four times before practicing on the left side.

  • Stand near a wall for support with feet hip-width apart.

  • Lift the heels from the floor, pressing your weight into the balls of your feet. Hold for two counts, then lower until the heels are just hovering over the floor, never making contact. Continue for 20 brisk reps.

  • Stand so your right foot is diagonally positioned behind the body.

  • Push off the left foot to lightly jump to the right, landing on the right ball of the foot. Swing your arms for momentum as you quickly spring back and forth from side to side for 20 total reps.

  • Stand near a wall for support and pull the right leg up, wrapping your hands around it.

  • Apply light pressure as you bring the leg in toward the chest. Hold here for 10 seconds, then switch sides. To make balancing easier, keep your grounded leg slightly bent.

  • Stand in front of a wall holding a tennis ball in your right hand. Lightly toss it against the wall and catch it with your left hand. Repeat this 15 times.

  • For more of a challenge and to improve your balance, elevate your right leg and perform the same exercise as in step one. After 10 reps, switch legs.

Ashley Blake Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach in South Jersey. Learn more about her virtual training program at ashleyblakefitness.com.

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