Heart racing. Sweat dripping. Need an oxygen tank to catch your breath. These are not usually things associated with the game of pickleball.
Pickleball was traditionally known as a sport for seniors. Aunt Shirley's morning activity with friends. It wasn't about wins and losses, just a way to spend time with the crew.
But that couldn't be further from the truth. Well yeah, Shirley is still out there getting after it with her squad but the game that is sweeping the nation also has a much more competitive form.
For many people, pickleball has become the new favorite cardio workout. Playing singles specifically can replace your time on the treadmill or the Peloton. It will get your heart rate up and burn those calories while having the time of life.
Here is the data from a pickleball session from one of our followers.
Now, this is a really long pickleball session. Good for you Joe. But still, the HR getting up to the fat-burning zone, and the number of calories burned are both impressive statistics. And we're guessing the session was extended to 4.5 because they were having too good of a time to quit.
Doubles or Singles
I'll go ahead and say it, pickleball is more fun to play as doubles. You can invite more friends to the party, and the game is completely different with 4 players standing at the kitchen line testing the hand speed of their opponents. It is the version of the game that is more common throughout the country.
But, if you're looking to maximize your workout while on the court, you can't beat singles. I would even contend that singles pickleball is a better workout than the same amount of time playing singles tennis.
Work it Out
Have you heard of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)? That pretty much explains the type of workout you're getting on the pickleball court. Tons of 10-20 second rallies where you're sprinting around the court and trying to crush forehands and backhands. The side-to-side and front-to-back movement of covering the court is sure to get your heart pumping. And the race to be first to eleven points is all the motivation you need to keep going.
The pickleball court is only 40' by 22' but it is all you need to get the job done. Try covering that whole court by yourself and you'll get a true appreciation for your doubles partner.
In singles, just like in doubles, it is advantageous to get to the kitchen line. The person returning the serve sprints up to the kitchen line if their return is well hit. The server then has to either try to pass them down a sideline or hit a drop shot and move up towards the kitchen.
If their return of serve is not hit well then players end up exchanging groundstrokes until someone feels they have a chance to get to the line. The exchange results in balls being hit from side to side sending both players sprinting from sideline to sideline.
If this doesn't sound like enough of a workout, then add trying to hit a perfect shot every time you run down a ball. You've got to plant, wind up, swing, and then recover for the next shot. By the end of a couple of games, you'll be drenched in sweat. If you're matched with a similarly skilled opponent then you're in for hours of fun and a great workout.
Next time you can't put together a group of four, or you're looking for a great cardio workout, give singles a try. Just remember to hydrate with FITAID, the official recovery beverage of the dink.