As pickleball grows in popularity, it’s only natural that more and more people want to know if the sport can give them a good workout. At first glance, some will write pickleball off as not a good workout, but we beg to differ!
The more you play pickleball you can see that it absolutely can be a great workout, depending on how you play it: i.e. do you play it in singles or doubles?
You can achieve a decent workout playing doubles, as it requires your muscles to make lateral movements. But that’s not to say that singles play can give you a great workout too.
It definitely gets your heart pumping! So the question remains – can pickleball be a good workout for your glutes?
Below, we’ll take a look at the general benefits of pickleball, and the specific benefits of doubles and singles play.
Pickleball is a sport beloved by people of all ages and it’s easy to see why. Its rules are similar to tennis and racquetball, which gives it a simple learning curve.
Plus, the equipment is simpler to handle and more intuitive compared to other racquet sports such as Badminton, which makes it accessible for all.
There are also many physical advantages to pickleball. First, the game gives you an excellent cardiovascular workout.
It’s up to you whether you want the game to be intense, or if you would rather take it down a notch.
Pickleball is also an excellent way to enhance the strength in your tendons and muscles, as well as to improve your flexibility.
If you slow the game down it can help activate your slow-twitch muscle groups in your arms, glutes, and legs for a steady burn.
Meanwhile, more intense games can provide you with extra benefits to your quick-twitch muscle groups and stabilize tendons in your glutes as you move quickly around the court.
To enhance your cardiovascular endurance and strengthen your tendons and muscles, pickleball is a great place to start!
Can You Get A Good Work Out Playing Doubles?
By far, doubles is the most popular way to play pickleball. If you want to get a good workout from playing pickleball there are a few things to consider.
As we’ve already mentioned, what makes singles a great workout is how much you cover the court while you’re playing it. But with doubles pickleball you have somebody else helping you cover the court.
Still, that doesn’t mean doubles play isn’t an excellent workout, especially when the game is particularly intense.
The main difference between doubles play and single play is how long the rallies are. Rallies last a lot longer in doubles, so while your workout is less intense, playing doubles is a longer workout.
You might find it helpful to think of doubles play as a job, meanwhile a singles play as a sprint. Therefore, you’re going to get a less intense cardio workout in doubles when compared to singles.
Your glutes and quads will get the biggest workout when you play doubles. Pickleball is great for exercising your legs (see also ‘Is Pickleball Good Exercise?‘)!
However, that doesn’t mean other muscle groups aren’t being worked out when you play doubles, as doubles involves a lot of lunges and squats.
Can You Get A Good Workout Playing Singles?
Absolutely! Singles pickleball is when things really start to get intense.
Some pickleball players opt to play singles purely because of the physical benefits. Singles pickleball is played at a very high level, and is a workout for your whole body.
The main thing that makes singles play so difficult is that it is up to you alone to cover the court without shrinking down like you would in tennis.
You have no partner to turn to while you play with a perforated ball that bounces low to the ground.
As you can see, singles is a difficult game to play and most players prefer to play doubles. But as far as good workouts go, you can’t beat playing singles.
In particular, singles play is an excellent cardiovascular exercise. It can also give your legs a good workout too, but singles is the ultimate cardio workout.
What makes singles difficult from a technical perspective is how quickly you have to move around the court in order to get full coverage.
This quick movement requires you to sprint around the court, which definitely gives your muscles a workout!
If your endurance and stamina is particularly good then a normal singles session can last for 7 to 8 games, which can last for 2 to 3 hours.
But if you’re new to pickleball and don’t have the best endurance or stamina, then 3 games may be the most you can handle.
If neither doubles nor singles sound appealing to you but you still want to give pickleball a try and discover its physical health benefits, then we have great news for you!
There are many different kinds of drills you can do in pickleball, and one of them is called skinny singles, which we highly recommend if you want a drill that gives you a good workout.
Skinny singles is a type of singles play that is played on just one side of the court.
What makes skinny singles great is that you don’t need to cover the entire court, while still hitting the ball more often than you would when playing doubles.
How To Stay Safe Playing Pickleball
There are a couple of myths around pickleball that we’re going to bust today, namely when it comes to safety.
If you’re a newcomer to pickleball, then you may want to start out by hitting the ball casually and having fun – that is totally fine!
After all, the main thing is to have fun, but when you want to kick things up a notch you have to be aware of any injuries you can sustain.
It’s easy to get carried away when you’re in a competitive mindset and have your enthusiasm get the best of you, but having the right footwear is the best way to ensure a safe pickleball game.
It’s important to wear the right footwear to stay safe and so you don’t damage your feet. We recommend playing with some type of court shoes, such as tennis shoes.
We definitely advise against wearing an open shoe as this will increase your chances of falling and injuring yourself.
Pickleball is a sport that continues to grow in popularity (see also ‘Why Is Pickleball So Addictive?‘), but this growth has led to misconceptions and myths sprouting up around the sport.
However, a prevailing myth that we would like to bust is that pickleball is easy to play and isn’t a great workout.
But while pickleball is accessible, that doesn’t mean it is not challenging. The truth is, pickleball can be as intense as you want it to be, and is an excellent workout for your glutes.
We hope this article has opened your eyes to the exercise benefits of pickleball, and introduced you to pickleball as a sport that can get your blood pumping!
Pickleball is certainly a great exercise and is one of the most fun sports you can play, whether that be doubles or singles play.