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7 Great Pickleball Warm Up Stretches for Shoulders

by | Sep 8, 2022 | Pickleball

1. Posterior Capsule Stretch

Target Area: The posterior capsule is the back of the shoulder. More specifically the posterior capsule is the connective tissue holding the back of the glenohumeral joint together. This is a popular golfing stretch that applies really well to pickleball warm up stretches as well.

In the photo below you can see how I bring my arm across my chest. I use my other hand to cup my elbow and I attempt to pull the inside elbow of the arm being stretched to the front of the shoulder on my opposite side.

I focus on keeping the shoulder low as too often athletes will hike the shoulder toward the ear.

I will typically hold this stretch for 30 to 60 seconds while breathing deeply and slowly.

7 Best Pickleball Warm Up Exercises for the Shoulder

2. Pectoral Stretch

Target Area: This stretch is targeting the front of the shoulder and chest. It may be performed with the elbow in full extension or flexed to 90 degrees. 

This stretch may be done on one side at a time or on both sides at the same time.

As you can see, I want to extend my arms out to each side at the level of my shoulder. I want to brace my elbow or hand on the doorway and gently lean my body forward. 

I will typically hold the stretch position for 30 to 60 seconds while breathing deeply and slowly.

Shoulder Pectoral Stretch

3. Latissimus Dorsi Stretch

Target Area: Under the arm and along the lateral trunk of the body. 

This stretch will help with reaching overhead and attacking those high smashes.

This stretch is performed by placing one or both hands on the overhead doorframe or fence and leaning your body forward.

I will typically hold this stretch position for 30 to 60 seconds while breathing deeply and slowly.

pickleball warm up stretches for shoulders

4. Cervical Scalenes Stretch

Target Area: The space behind the clavicle along the top of the shoulder at the base of the neck. It is important to understand that this isn’t a neck stretch. 

To accomplish this I will sit on a bench and grasp under the seat with one or both hands. I will gently lean my body to one side while looking up and away from the side I am stretching.

I will typically hold this stretch position for 30 to 60 seconds while breathing deeply and slowly.

Scalene Shoulder Stretch

5. Thoracic Spine Stretch

Target Area: The upper back above the lumbar spine and below the cervical. 

I would call this more of a trunk mobility exercise than a stretch. To accomplish this I would place both hands behind my neck with my fingers interlaced. I would point my elbows forward and gently raise my elbows toward the sky.

I would be cautious not to over-extend my lumbar or cervical spine in the process.

I would typically hold this position for 3 to 5 seconds and repeat it for 10 repetitions.

Thoracic Extension Self Mobilization

6. Wrist Flexion Stretch

Target Area: The back of the wrist.

Holding a pickleball paddle for the duration of a match can get tiring on your wrist. Having ample wrist flexion and extension may help improve your paddle control and grip

To perform this exercise, extend your elbow and place the palmar surface of your opposite hand on the first two knuckles of the wrist you plan to stretch.

Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Wrist Flexion Stretch

7. Shoulder External Rotation Stretch

Target Area: Inside the shoulder.

This is my favorite stretch to keep the shoulder joint mobile and ensure the rotator cuff musculature has an adequate range of motion. If you want to read about pickleball shoulder injuries click here.

To perform this stretch place your hand on the side of a doorframe or pole. Position your forearm verticle to the ground and move your body forward relative to the hand (see also ‘How To Get Fast Hands‘).

Hold this position for 30 to 60-seconds while breathing deeply and slowly.

pickleball warm up stretches

2 Pickleball Warm Up Stretches to Avoid

Neck stretches are generally safe, but I would never recommend anyone I don’t know perform any cervical stretches due to the risk of injury.

1. Cervical Rotation Stretch

2. Cervical Flexion Stretch

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