Newsletter Signup | Subscribe to Magazine

Dynamic warm-ups perfect for pickleball, tennis and other sports

Story By Adrienne Ballingall  +  Photography By Mike Ritterbeck

Court Authority Adrienne Ballingall is the director of court sports at Belfair.

How often do you see players jump out of their cars right onto the pickleball court or tennis court and begin hitting balls? Perhaps you do it as well. A dynamic warm-up is so important for injury prevention, flexibility and match warm-up, especially in these colder winter months. A dynamic warm-up gradually elevates your heart rate and allows your muscles to warm up while moving them through a functional range of motion – it also simulates moves you might make during play. Static stretching as we knew it in the past (stretch and hold) should be reserved for when play is done. Ten minutes would be a good time allowance for pre-match preparation – you will be ready to compete and get that early momentum. Talk with your doctor or athletic trainer if you have any concerns on what might be best for you and for the correct form. All warm-ups can be scaled based on age and fitness level.

Here are 12 great dynamic moves for pickleball and tennis:

1. Light jog around the courts – perhaps add some back peddling but do so slowly as not to fall back. 2 laps around 2 courts would be great.

2. Side shuffles, as these sports utilize a lot of side-to-side motion. Move across and back 1 court, 2 times.

Side shuffles

3. Karaoke moving in both directions. Karaoke is also known as a grapevine. One foot alternates, crossing in front of and then behind the other foot as you side shuffle across 1 court, 2 times. Gradually increase your pace in the above exercises.

4. High knees in place or across the court. Alternately, raise one knee then the other as high and fast as you can. This can be done in place or as you move across the court. Get each knee up, 10 times.

5. Lunges across the court. Add trunk rotation, if able. Take a step forward, allowing the knee and hip to bend slowly. Keep the knee over the ankle, not over the foot. Alternate legs, 5 times for each leg. If able, you may rotate your trunk in between steps.

6. Butt kicks in place or across the court. Kick your feet back as far and fast as you can. This can be done in place or as you move across the court. Kick each foot, 10 times.

Butt kicks

7. Jumping jacks. You know the drill. Jump to a position with the legs spread wide and the hands touching overhead.

8. Hip circles. Think open and close the door. Stand on one leg, using the net for support if needed, and gently swing the opposite leg in circles out to the side. The leg can be swung out or in – 10 circles in each direction. Switch legs. This can also be done walking across the court alternating legs.

Hip circles

9. Heeling walking. Walk on your heels across the court, 1 time.

10. Toe walking. Return across the court on your toes, 1 time.

11. Arm windmills. With your arms to the side and palms down, make small circles forward and increase to larger circles – both forward and backwards – 20 seconds each way.

12. Arm swings across your body. Swing your arms in unison across your body in both directions, 5 times each.

There are many other exercises from which to choose but a little time warming up before you play will help prevent injuries and improve your performance. It’s time well spent.


Sports & Lifestyle Campus

The professionally staffed Sports & Lifestyle Campus at Belfair caters to its members with a complete selection of fitness equipment and free weights. A variety of fitness programs are offered, including personal training, personal stretch sessions, aquatic training, custom golf exercise programs and deep tissue and relaxation massages. Campus highlights include:

  • Fitness center
  • Locker rooms
  • Steam rooms
  • Message rooms
  • 6 Har-Tru tennis courts
  • 1 grass tennis court
  • 2 pickleball courts
  • 2 bocce courts
  • 2 shuffleboard courts
  • Indoor lap pool
  • Outdoor pool
  • World-class golf – Belfair is also home to two Tom Fazio-designed golf courses and a state-of-the-art Golf Learning Center, staffed by PGA certified instructors.