10 Effective Warm-Up Exercises for Pickleball

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By Jacob Jackson

Given pickleball’s explosive sprints, quick cuts, and athletic extensions to hit balls, properly warming up the body before matches is vital for optimal performance and injury prevention. Here are 10 highly effective Exercises for Pickleball to dynamically activate major muscle groups’ pickleball demands as you prepare to take the court.

Exercises for Pickleball: High Knees

Get the heart rate elevated and prime hip flexors for strides up to sprints by driving knees high in quick skips across the court. Pump arms counterbalancing leg lifts, focusing on speed not maximum height while landing softly on the balls of feet. Shoot for 30-40 yards building to a sweat.

Pickleball Exercises Help

Luxury Lunges

Take a wide step into a staggered lunge, one leg forward, the other extended back, sinking hips for a deep stretch. Flex the front quad and rear glute for 10 seconds, then power back upright. Immediately reverse lunge legs, repeating to isolate opposing sides without rest.


Promote total-body mobility needed to retrieve distant pickleball shots with inchworms. Bend at the waist palms down, then walk fingers gradually outward until decompressing in a fully extended plank. Hold for 5 counts, then walk hands incrementally back until standing tall again. Repeat the sequence for 10 reps.

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Exercises for Pickleball: Crossover High Kicks

Mimic the lateral explosive steps and weight transfers of pickleball direction changes with crossover high kicks. Quickly hop sideways at a 90-degree angle then drive the opposite knee upwards as high as flexibility allows before sticking the landing and repeating to the other side for 20 repetitions per leg.

Pickleball Swings

Nothing activates pickleball movement patterns better than simulating match strokes themselves without the ball. Gripping your paddle, take your ready athletic stance then rehearse compact forehands, backhands, overhead smashes, low volleys, and serving motions incorporating pivotal footwork across an open court. Build gradually from 50 to 100 phantom swings.

2-to-1 Side Shuffles

Laterally traverse the width of the court with reactive sideways shuffle steps, advancing two paces left then one back right promoting agile transitions between forehands and backhands. Maintain an athletic-ready position not crossing feet throughout fluid sequences of 20-40 total integrated shuffle strides building bilateral hip strength.

Exercises for Pickleball: Rotational Twist and Reach

Uncoil the torso fully and enhance the rotational flexibility of the core with open-stance twists and reaches. Extend arms sideways at shoulder level then twist far left and right trying to touch hands to the rear court fence alternately. Let momentum carry arms across the body without halting motion for 10 cyclic flows.

Pickleball Good Exercise

Wall Ball Overhead Slams

Elevate heart rates further while dynamically loosening shoulders via wall ball overheads. Grip any playground-type rubber ball with bounce then hammer upward and slam diagonally targeting a practice wall about 10-20 feet away. Relentlessly explode 30-50 overhand swings rapidly backpedaling and sprinting in between reactive rebounds moving capaciously.

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Exercises for Pickleball: Ankle Circles

Prevent rolled ankles running down errant pickleballs by diligently tracing circles outward then inward pressing weight firmly into each foot. Provide juxtaposing sensory stimulation by rolling over and then gripping with pickleballs, foam rollers, or tennis balls beneath the bare soles for 30 seconds per foot.

Arm Windmills

Preserve full range of motion locking onto distant shots using backward “windshield wiper” windmills. Clasp hands behind your back then alternate touching left and right shoulders by maximally circling extended arms behind you. Loosening rotator cuffs and upper back, complete 10 smooth big windmills per direction.


How long should you spend warming up before competitive pickleball matches?

10-15 minutes is optimal, allowing enough repetitions to develop light sweat without tiring before real points commence. Prioritize dynamic movements over static stretching.

Should you warm up before every pickleball session including casual play?

Yes, warming up before both competitive events and recreational play reduces injury risk and elevates performance by activating the neuromuscular system. The level of intensity simply scales to session seriousness.


Performing a brief pre-pickleball warm-up sequence of 8-12 dynamic running patterns, movement simulations, balance reactions, and pickleball stroke mimics enhances subsequent match performance and sustains bodily health over long-term play. Whether preparing for tournament battles or rallying with buddies, allot time to first raise core temperature, lubricate joints, and activate muscles integral for reacting on-court against whatever game-speed shots arise across the net.

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