In the sport of pickleball, there are numerous different movements that one must do during a match. Your leg, core, and arm muscles are all challenged in a variety of ways. Because of this, making sure your muscles and connective tissue are stronger and able to withstand a game of pickleball is important, to be able to participate in the sport long term. When talking about areas of concern, there are a few specific areas that are vulnerable to overuse injuries and tweaks. A very common area that is tweaked during pickleball is the lower back. This is due to the fact that during the game of pickleball you need to twist, bend, and hunch over numerous times throughout the match. This is usually done in an unbalanced way, where you are reaching to your left and right. Due to this happening during the game, it would make sense to try to strengthen your back in a way that would be specific to this movement. This post, in addition to the video above, will show you a great exercise to improve your lower back strength to help reduce pickleball injuries, and improve performance.
Before You Begin
Before you begin the exercise, we wanted to highlight the equipment that we used in the video. In the video above, we used an adjustable dumbbell that can has a weight range of 6 pounds, all the way up to 24 pounds. The dumbbell goes up in three pound increments, making it a great option for older adults who might not be as strong for huge weight increases. If you are interested in picking up the adjustable dummbell used in the video, feel free to use my Amazon Associate Link here: https://amzn.to/3yXgDnS. You can also try doing the exercise with a weighted backpack, cooler, or jugs of milk to complete the exercise if you do not want to actually purchase extra equipment.
Lower Back Exercise for Pickleball Strength and Performance
The lower back exercise that we are going to talk about, and is demonstrated in the video above, is called a “single leg Romanian deadlift.” We are going to add a slight variation to this exercise today, to hopefully make your back a little bit stronger, compared to a normal single leg Romanian deadlift. To begin the exercise, start with one dumbbell in your hand. Next:
- Put one leg forward, and one leg behind you, putting yourself into a split stance.
- Bend the front knee slightly, and then slowly let the dumbbell ride down the front leg.
- Allow the dumbbell to go down as far as you comfortably can.
- Slowly stand back up tall, making sure the dumbbell ends in the place that you started the exercise.
When you are completing this exercise, it is recommended to pick a weight very light. The reason for this, is because that when you are bending over, you are actually going to allow your lower back to bend slightly. Usually, you try to keep your back straight when doing an exercise like this. For this movement, we are practicing moving your lower back in a bent position under a small load. This carries over directly to pickleball, as you will be bending over numerous times to the left and right. We are getting your body used to these “extreme” positions, to get your back stronger and improve your performance in the sport.
Making the Exercise Easier
The video above mentioned a couple of variations that you can do to the lower back exercise to help with pickleball. One of the variations involves using some assistance like a walker, cane, piece of wood, or even a wall to hold onto. This is because the exercise is very difficult to complete on your balance. Adding the assistance takes a large amount of the balance component away. In addition to this, you can also decrease the range of motion on the movement. In the video above, we use a stool to raise the “floor” you are reaching the dumbbell towards. You can also lower the dumbbell to only your knee, or even the middle of your thigh. Any range of motion is better than not doing the movement at all.
We hope you enjoy the lower back exercise, and will apply it to your pickleball training off the court. Make sure to check out our other articles, showing other ways to strengthen your body for pickleball and other sports older adults enjoy.
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