Pickleball is America’s fastest growing sport. Unfortunately, we have been hearing about Pickleball injuries on the rise as a result. It’s a good thing we have Pilates!
As an avid Pickleball player and Pilates Instructor, I’m going to share with you a series I love for myself and clients who enjoy this sport.
I started with a high kneeling side arm series. One of the number one upper body injuries from Pickleball is the rotator cuff, so strengthening the rotator cuff and the muscles around the shoulder girdle can help prevent these injuries. Additionally, getting the arms up and over the head is essential for hitting overheads and volleys. The side bend press is specifically for those shots that aren’t perfectly overhead-you just might have to laterally flex a little to get to that ball!
The seated arm series, chest expansion, rowing, and roll-downs, are all excellent exercises for strengthening the back body. In my experience, players often complain about their backs hurting. When you witness them in their ready position, they are rounded forward from head to tail. Training their back muscles to help keep them upright will go a long way in helping them to stay in good alignment at the ready.
I added rotation to all of these exercises because Pickleball IS a rotational sport. The power comes from the core! I threw in rowing facing back for those points where your spine is all over the place while you’re running to different corners of the court. This one teaches stability from the back AND front to sandwich that spine in safely.
Squats and lunges are a no-brainer. We’ve got to protect our knees! The goal is to make your way to the net, but it’s not always a forward path. There is a lot of lateral movement to get up there. Meniscus tears are another common injury, so loading the knee from the lateral and medial sides helps build up the support system necessary to keep knees safe when lunging or sprinting for a ball. All the lunges pay attention to back-foot alignment to help strengthen the ankle joints, too.
I ended with keeling abs facing back. Flat back to strength hip flexors and to get some killer shoulder stability. Round back to challenge the shoulder stability with spinal flexion. Obliques for more shoulder stability with a laterally flexed spine and to support the lower back in quick lateral motion.
My influx of Pickleball player clients have seen a HUGE difference in their endurance during play and the way their bodies feel before and after!