Ashley Roberts here with Third Shot Drop Custom Paddles. I am a certified personal trainer with 17 years of experience.
Training is extremely important and should form an integral part of an athlete’s daily routine. Last month we talked about the foundation of your body. It is so critical to do corrective exercises and stretches to ensure the length/tension relationships between our muscles is balanced so that our Kinetic Chain is optimized to perform it’s best.
For pickleball and tennis players alike, a strong core will help add power to your swing and keep you stable during sudden start-and-stop movements.
Think of your core as your body’s power source. It’s through your core that the power will transfer from the ground, to your arm, then to the paddle. If your core is strong, you’ll deliver a powerful strike. If your core is weak, your power will be low and you’ll be more likely to develop an injury.
If you’re looking to become a stronger pickleball player and improve your performance, a strong core is a good place to start.
Major muscles included in the CORE are the pelvic floor muscles, transversus abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, and the erector spinae.
Your core muscles wrap around your trunk like a corset. Gently draw in your navel towards your spine—this is controlled and is not the same as “sucking in”. Try to breathe normally while activating the core. Imagine if somebody were coming towards your abs with a fist. In order to decrease the effects of that BLOW, you would brace the abs (activate the core) to create a contraction that would stabilize and protect.
Perform daily and hold for 30 second intervals. You can build up to 60 seconds. Once that becomes easy, you can begin to add variations to further challenge your core.
While in a plank, be sure to activate your core, hold a gentle contraction between your glutes ensuring that your back is in a neutral spine and not arched. Your spine should be long and strong. This includes the cervical spine too, so be sure your chin is tucked in and the neck is in line with the rest of the spine. Hands are directly under the shoulders and feet are hip width apart. You can modify the plank, by doing it on the knees and build up to the toes.
You can further challenge yourself by doing planks with one leg extended 1 foot above the ground. You can also do alternating shoulder taps (pictured below). Try to keep the hips even and square.