Pickleball Warm-Ups and Cool-Downs


Engaging in any sport requires proper preparation to ensure peak performance and minimize the risk of injury. Pickleball is no exception. Incorporating a comprehensive warm-up routine before your game and a cool-down session afterward can significantly enhance your play and keep you healthy. Investing an extra 5-10 minutes before and after your game will yield substantial benefits, ensuring you’re always ready for the next match.

Warm-Up Routine

Pickleball is a dynamic, full-body sport, necessitating a warm-up that encompasses dynamic stretching for the entire body. This approach not only reduces the likelihood of injuries but also ensures your body has the full range of motion required for optimal play.

Arm Circles

  • Small Forward Circles: Rotate your arms in small forward circles for 30 seconds.
  • Large Forward Circles: Transition to large forward circles for another 30 seconds.
  • Small Backward Circles: Reverse the direction to small backward circles for 30 seconds.
  • Large Backward Circles: Finish with large backward circles for 30 seconds.

Core Twists

  • Position: Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
  • Movement: Twist your shoulders to the left and then to the right, keeping your hips forward. Perform 10 twists on each side.

High-Knee Marches

  • Movement: Raise one knee to hip height, tap it with your palm, and lower it. Repeat with the other leg. Continue for 30 seconds.

Overhead Stretch

  • Movement: Stretch your arms overhead as far as possible, then swing them back down behind your hips. Repeat for 15 reps.

Ankle Rolls/Balance

  • Movement: Lift one leg and roll your ankle in one direction for three rotations, then switch directions. Repeat with the other leg. Do three rounds on each leg.

Standing Side-Crunches

  • Movement: With hands on your head, lift one leg to the side and crunch your elbow to meet your knee. Perform 10 reps on each side.

Court Length Forward/Backward Jog

  • Movement: Jog up the length of the court at a comfortable pace, then jog backward to your starting point. Repeat 3-5 times.

Court Length Side Shuffles

  • Movement: With knees slightly bent, shuffle side-to-side across the court’s width. Repeat 3-5 times to practice lateral movement.

These exercises will elevate your heart rate, increase body temperature, and promote blood flow to the muscles, preparing you for an outstanding game while maintaining your health.

For a visual demonstration, check out PrimeTime Pickleball’s warm-up routine.

Cool-Down Routine

After an intense game, it’s tempting to leave the court immediately. However, neglecting a cool-down can be detrimental. A quick cool-down stretch is essential for your recovery.

Slow Walk the Length of the Court

  • Movement: Walk back and forth across the court to gradually lower your heart rate and return your breathing to normal.

Across the Chest Arm Stretch

  • Movement: Pull one arm across your chest with the opposite hand for support. Hold for 10-15 seconds, then switch sides.

Quad Stretch

  • Movement: Kick your foot back and grab your shoe’s toe near your glutes. Hold for 10-15 seconds, using the other hand for balance if needed. Switch legs and repeat.

Side Stretch

  • Movement: Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart. Place one hand on your hip and stretch the other arm over your head towards the opposite side. Hold for 10 seconds, then switch sides.

Toe Touch

  • Movement: Stand with feet together and bend at the waist to touch your toes. If you can’t reach, slide your hands down your legs until you feel a stretch. Hold for 10-15 seconds.

Inhale/Exhale Overhead Stretch

  • Movement: Inhale deeply while raising your arms out to the sides and upward until they meet above your head. Stretch your entire body, then exhale and bring your arms back down. Repeat five times.

By the end of your cool-down, your heart rate and breathing should be near normal, allowing you to continue your day comfortably.

Final Thoughts

Customize your warm-up and cool-down routines by incorporating additional stretches or exercises that suit your needs. Consider adding lunges, side lunges, leg swings, and wrist stretches.

Remember, the risk of injury is significantly higher for those who skip warm-up stretches. Before your next pickleball match, dedicate a few minutes to proper warm-up exercises. The top pickleball players always stretch, and so should you.

What do you think?

Written by Billy Pickles

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