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There has been quite a lot of talk about pickleball lately, hasn’t there? You will probably have heard that it has quickly become the fastest growing sport in the US. It has senior citizens from all over the country as its most avid fans.

It may have made you think it is not quite the hard workout you had hoped for, but you would be wrong.

How is this?

You do not need to go to the gym, exhaust yourself, and be running around for something to be good exercise and help you build up muscle!

But, does it help you build muscle? Let’s talk about how!

Can You Get A Good Workout From Pickleball?

When you play pickleball, you need to move your body around, with very short bursts of physical exertion, and this happens in every direction.

You also need to be strong, have good hand-eye coordination, and have a fairly good level of endurance.

You will definitely go through times when your heart rate is elevated. You will find yourself starting and then stopping through the game.

This means your heart rate fluctuates through the frame, your breathing will increase and your muscles will get tired.

Any exercise that can raise your heart rate, forcing your body to take in more oxygen will be considered a form of cardiovascular exercise.

Pickleball is not strength training, so your muscles won’t get huge like they would if you decided to start lifting weights, but it is considered cardiovascular exercise, so it can be a brilliant workout for many, it is just enough.

How Many Calories Do You Burn Playing Pickleball?

The number of calories you burn with any workout will depend on your more than the workout. It depends on your current weight, your overall health, and how intense the workout is.

However, if you are one of the people who use a smartwatch, you probably know that pickleball has been added as a workout you can track.

Apple Watch SE (2nd Gen) [GPS 44mm] Smart Watch w/Midnight Aluminum Case & Midnight Sport Band - M/L. Fitness & Sleep Tracker, Crash Detection, Heart Rate Monitor, Retina Display, Water Resistant

Since this was introduced, it has averaged 400 to 700 calories burned per hour playing pickleball.

Some also say that you could burn from 8 to 11 calories per minute of pickleball action.

This is about on par with the number of calories you would burn if you went for a run. It is just a bit more fun than going for a run, and the social aspect is 100% better for your mental health.

Is Pickleball Good For Losing Weight?

There have been studies that show that if you have a healthy diet, and you exercise, you are more likely to lose weight. Pickleball has been where some people lose 70 to 135 lbs by just playing pickleball and having an ideal diet.

Since pickleball can help you burn calories like other activities which are considered to be cardiovascular, it can help when you are on a weight loss journey.

What is better, is that since pickleball is a less demanding exercise than many, it is an activity you can do even when you are physically limited.

PickleBall Benefits

Can Pickleball Help With Building Muscle?

Pickleball does have many benefits, in terms of weight loss, overall health, and muscle building, just like any other cardiovascular sport. Let’s consider some of these in more depth.


Much like other similar sports such as tennis, this is a sport that promotes socializing. You will have an interaction of some form with opponents, partners, and others who are on the court.

You can gain new friendships, and find social enrichment.


Workouts make your body release endorphins, which are those chemicals that make you feel happy and positive. Runners, and athletes know this feeling, it is something of an emotional high. You can get this from pickleball too!

Musculoskeletal Functioning

Pickleball requires you to use a lot of muscles in your whole body.

These muscles will get strong, and having strong muscles is not just great for looking and feeling good, but also helping you to improve your musculoskeletal system and your motor skills.

As we get older, doing daily tasks can become much more draining and difficult, so having a healthy musculoskeletal system is imperative. This is why using our muscles is so important.

When you take care of your musculoskeletal system you actually help your body to heal faster, reduce coronary risks and improve your flexibility making you feel better overall in general for longer.

Balance & Coordination

Having stronger muscles makes us more balanced and helps our coordination. The stronger we get the better.

However, it is not just this, sports that are racket-based like this also help us to improve our hand-eye coordination, as well as our balance.

These are motor skills that start to deteriorate as we get older, and they can lead to issues like falling or being unable to complete certain tasks and movements as we get older.

This is a big part of why the older community is so drawn to pickleball, it helps to prevent these age-specific issues.

Overall Benefits – Muscular & Otherwise

There are many doctors and professionals in orthopedic health who like pickleball, as it has a low impact on joints such as the knees, and also since it uses underhand serving it reduces the strain on muscles.

It is an ideal sport for older patients to play, as it can prevent orthopedic problems in patients.

While there are still risks with pickleball, for those who have rotator cuff issues, or issues with shoulders, pickleball can be a great idea for them.

The paddle is also much lighter than tennis rackets, making it easier to use since it only weighs 7 ounces.

It is something of an approachable sport, one which combines the benefits found in other cardiovascular exercises, as well as helping people to develop social connections.

If you play in close quarters with people, you can catch up with friends, make new friendships and build on social skills, which can dwindle in older years.

One of the best parts of pickleball is how you move.

When you get on a treadmill, or on an elliptical machine, you are just moving forwards the entire time, but pickleball provides you with movement in a much more well-rounded way, as you move in a plethora of motions, in different directions and ways.

This builds on agility, endurance, and coordination.

It activates every muscular group, you use your biceps and triceps, hamstrings and quads. You stretch your core too and raise your heart rate working all of your muscles, or at least most of them.

While you won’t get buff and look like a bodybuilder from playing it, you are using your muscles and building on your strength.

What We Think!

Pickleball is far from a body-builder activity, but all exercise builds on muscle. How much it builds depends on the intensity with which you play and your current state of fitness.

It can be more impactful for those who are not too in shape or new to the sport, but it also carries benefits for everyone.

It won’t make you muscly, but it will surely strengthen your muscles the more you play!

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