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How to Cross-Train for Pickleball

How to Cross-Train for Pickleball

  • Ever feel like taking your pickleball game up a notch? Here's a secret weapon: cross-training! It's like giving your pickleball skills a power-up by adding other workouts. Just like athletes in other sports, you can benefit from activities that build different strengths and keep your body feeling great.

It’s OK to step off the pickleball court. 

Taking a short break from pickleball to train in another activity can improve your pickleball game and, more importantly, have a positive impact on your overall health. 

This approach is called cross-training. Athletes often participate in other types of training that complement their main sport and improve other aspects of their fitness. 

When it comes to cross-training, pickleball players have plenty of options for complementary activities. In this guide, we’ll explore the importance of cross-training, and break down some of the best activities to help you choose the best training regimen. 

Why Pickleball Players Should Prioritize Cross-Training

Cross-training can have a substantial impact on your pickleball game and your health. 

Depending on the cross-training activity you choose, participating in another activity can improve your flexibility and footwork, which will help you perform at the highest level on the pickleball court and reduce the risk of injury.

It can also help your endurance. Studies have found that different types of exercise impact our heart health in different ways. The more varied your exercise, the better your cardiovascular health will be!

Taking a break from pickleball to try something new can also provide some rest for your muscles and allow you to recover while also engaging your brain. Learning something new keeps us sharp, and working different muscles helps us improve our mobility.

How to Choose a Cross-Training Activity

Once you’ve decided to cross-train, it’s time to pick your additional activities! Before you choose, it’s important to consider your goals and your fitness level.

 Are you trying to improve your endurance or heart health? A more intense activity might be the perfect complement to your weekly pickleball match. On the other hand, if you’re hoping to become more flexible and prevent injury, a low-intensity activity might be the perfect fit.

The Best Cross-Training Options for Pickleball Players

With your fitness and pickleball goals in mind, you’re ready to explore cross-training options. 

Any physical activity is better than none at all, of course, but some will have a larger impact on your game than others. Let’s break down some of our favorites.

Running or Cycling

Lace-up your sneakers or dust off your bike. Running and cycling are excellent cross-training options for pickleball players. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to do anywhere. 

Running and cycling is a great way to improve your overall endurance and cardiovascular health. Cycling can also increase your leg strength. 


Like running and cycling, swimming can have a positive impact on your cardiovascular health.  It’s also very different from pickleball, which can provide a needed reprieve for your brain and increase your energy when your next match rolls around. 

It’s a great option for pickleball players who want to work different muscles and sneak in some additional recovery time. Swimming can be intense, but working out in the water can help loosen up your muscles and put less pressure on your joints. 

Strength Training

Put your pickleball paddle down and reach for the weights instead. Strength training several days a week can help with all aspects of your game. 

Upper body training focuses on your shoulders, arms, back, and chest, which will help you generate more strength and power on every stroke. Lower body training, like squats, can help strengthen your leg muscles, make your first step a little more powerful, and improve your footwork. 

Joining a gym with strength training classes or working with a personal trainer are excellent ways to kick off your weight training routine and ensure you are completing each exercise safely. 

Yoga or Pilates

Ommmm. Take a deep breath and relax. Yoga and pilates can help you relax your mind and increase your flexibility. Both exercises can help you improve your core strength, which is a key source of power on every pickleball swing. 

Yoga’s slow and steady movements will also help you improve your flexibility and jumpstart your recovery. If you’re interested in giving either activity a try, search for a free class at a local studio or take a class at your gym or club. 


HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training, and, boy, can it be a workout! HIIT is very popular among athletes who need to improve or maintain their agility and work on their endurance. 

In a HIIT workout, you complete several bursts of high-intensity activities and then take a few seconds to recover. From jumping rope to swinging a kettlebell, HIIT workouts incorporate many different types of movements and never get boring!

Have You Ever Cross-Trained?

Whether you’re hoping to become a pickleball pro or just improve your performance for open play at your neighborhood court, cross-training can help you take your game to the next level. If you’re considering adding another workout to your routine, consult your doctor and coach to find the best fit for you. Let us know which activity you choose!

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