HERE'S WHAT'S HAPPENING IN OUR COMMUNITY!

Pickleball Shoulder Injuries: Four Prevention Exercises for Players

“You Don’t Have to Be Old and Broken” by Lon Kilgore. Here’s what we’ve seen in the gym: active seniors who start a carefully programmed and well-coached fitness program become stronger and fitter than they were 10 or 20 years ago. We believe fitness is the best way to prevent an injury. Here are a few movements you can do that will specifically strengthen your upper body so strong muscles will stabilize your joints and reduce the risk of wrist, elbow and shoulder pain.

Click here to read about our top preventative exercise for the lower body!

Pickleball Shoulder Injuries: Prehab

1. Ring or Body Rows

[caption id="attachment_10178" align="alignright" width="500"]A group of older adults perform ring rows as part of a program that can be used to prevent pickleball shoulder injuries. To make the movement easier, move your feet back so you’re more vertical. To make the row harder, move your feet forward.[/caption] We highly recommend ring or body rows to strengthen the muscles on the back and prevent pickleball shoulder injuries. Many people have imbalances caused by overly developed chest muscles or bad posture, and strengthening the back muscles can do wonders. Ring or body rows will work the biceps, lats, rhomboids, trapezius muscles, posterior deltoids and a host of stabilizing muscles. Here’s how to perform a row: A. Use a set of rings, a barbell safely secured in a rack or a stable object you can hang onto. Safety first: ensure you won’t fall over backward. We’ve even seen clients perform rows by gripping a door frame. Place feet at hip width and slowly lower yourself backward under control. Keep your abdominals engaged so your body moves like a stiff board. Only your arms and shoulders move. Use a spotter if you have any worries about falling. B. At the bottom, ensure your shoulder blades are pulled together, and then use your arms to pull yourself back up. If you’re using rings, they should touch your shoulders. If you’re using a bar, it should touch your chest. C. If the movement is too easy, adjust your feet so the angle of the body is closer to parallel to the floor. If the movement is too hard, adjust the feet so the angle of the body is closer to vertical. General starting point: 3 sets of 8-10 reps with about 60 seconds of rest between sets.

2. Dumbbell Floor Presses

[caption id="attachment_14091" align="alignright" width="500"]A senior performs a dumbbell floor press as part of a program that can be used to prevent pickleball shoulder injuries. Dumbbell floor presses can be done with one or both arms.[/caption] While the bench press can place a lot of stress on the shoulder joint, the floor press limits the range of motion and is often much easier on the shoulder. This movement will work the pectorals and triceps. Here’s how to perform a floor press: A. Lie on the floor on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor at shoulder width. B. With your elbows on the ground 45 degrees from your torso, rotate your forearms perpendicular to the floor. Have a training partner or coach hand you light dumbbells. C. When you’ve stabilized the dumbbells, use your chest and arms to press the dumbbells toward the ceiling. When your arms are fully extended, slowly lower the dumbbells until your elbows gently touch the floor. Have your spotter take the dumbbells when the set is complete. D. If the dumbbells are too light, increase the load. If they are too heavy, reduce the load. A spotter should watch to make sure the dumbbells never fall on top of you. General starting point: 2 sets of 8-10 repetitions with about 60 seconds of rest between sets. This is a barbell floor press, but the principles and execution are the same with dumbbells:

3. Dumbbell Shoulder Presses

[caption id="attachment_12489" align="alignright" width="500"]A man with glasses performs a dumbbell shoulder press as part of a program that could be used to prevent pickleball shoulder injuries. Be sure to keep your abs tight and avoid arching your back.[/caption] Some people have shoulder conditions that prevent them from doing shoulder presses. If overhead movements cause pain, they should be avoided. But if you have pain-free overhead movement, pressing can strengthen your deltoids, triceps and traps and preserve range of motion. Use it or lose it! By moving the shoulder joint through its full range of motion and building strength, you can avoid pickleball shoulder injuries related to overhead smashes. Here’s how to perform a dumbbell shoulder press: A. Stand tall with your feet under your hips. Engage your abs to pull your rib cage down, and avoid arching the back. Bring two dumbbells to your shoulders with your palms facing each other. B. Press the dumbbells overhead, ensuring movement comes from the shoulders only. You should not arch your back or lean back.  C. After your arms reach full extension, lower the dumbbells slowly until the upper arm is perpendicular to the floor.  D. If the dumbbells are too light, increase the load. If they are too heavy, reduce the load. A spotter should watch to make sure the dumbbells never fall on top of you. General starting point: 2 sets of 8-10 repetitions with about 60 seconds of rest between sets.

4. Single-Arm Dumbbell Bent-Over Rows

[caption id="attachment_15930" align="alignright" width="500"]A fit woman in purple shorts performs a bent-over row as part of a program that could be used to prevent pickleball shoulder injuries. The bent-over row can also be performed without a bench for support, which increases the role of the core muscles.[/caption] The bent-over row is similar to to the body row. It’s another great exercise you can use to strengthen all the muscles of the back and avoid pickleball shoulder injuries. We’re going to do it one arm at a time to avoid letting a stronger arm compensate for a weaker arm. Here’s how to do a single-arm dumbbell bent-over row: A. Find a stable bench. To work your right arm, place your left hand and left knee on the bench. Reverse for the left arm. B. With your support arm straight and your spine braced in neutral, use your arm to pull a dumbbell toward your torso.  C. Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position. General starting point: 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions with about 60 seconds of rest between sets. Here’s Coach Mike with a video on the dumbbell row:

Don’t Wait Until It Hurts

If you’re playing pain-free or have never experienced pickleball shoulder injuries, now is the time to act. You have healthy shoulders, and you can prepare them for sport—and life—with some basic exercises performed regularly. It’s common to say, “I feel fine.” But what happens when you don’t? You can’t play, and you lose momentum.  Fitness is the best defense against injuries. Even better, fitness will help you play better and win more often. For athletes in any sport, we always recommend supplementary training that builds general fitness, corrects imbalances and prevents injury.  If you’d like to learn more about how our program can help you or someone you know, click the button below!

Book a Free Consultation

fill out the form below to get started!

Take the first step towards getting the results you want!