Your Pickleball Swing: It’s All In The Grip


Try this exercise routine to help strengthen your grip and have more control over your paddle

On a scale of one to 10 (with 10 being the tightest), your grip pressure while playing pickleball should fall between three and five. Many players tend to hold the paddle too tightly, which can lead to fatigue, says Jeffrey Beck, a clinical exercise physiologist who has a fitness segment on a Utah CBS affiliate. Strengthening your hand and arm muscles leads to a better mind-body connection and more control over your paddle, he says. “On top of that,” he adds, “grip strength is key in everyday activities and your health overall.” Here, Beck offers some helpful exercises. Try not to hold the weights (soup cans also work) too tightly. Perform these moves once or twice a week, with a rest of at least three days in between.

1. Standing Dumbbell Extensions

A. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold one end of a dumbbell in each hand.

InPickleball | Standing dumbbell extensions A
InPickleball | Standing dumbbell extensions B

B. Keeping your arms straight out in front of you, flex your wrist to bring the weight toward you. Then extend your wrist to bring the weight away from you. This constitutes one rep. Do three or four sets of 10 reps.

InPickleball | Standing dumbbell extensions demo

2. Grip Crushers

InPickleball | Grip crushers A

A. In a seated position, hold a dumbbell in your right hand. Extend your arm toward the floor and brace the back of your arm against the inside of your left thigh.

B. Allow your hand to open and let the dumbbell roll to your fingertips. Now close your hand and perform a wrist curl, squeezing the weight (in this one case) as hard as possible. Return to the starting position. Do three or four sets of 10 reps per arm.

InPickleball | Grip crushers B
InPickleball | Grip crushers demo

3. Rear Rotations

A. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing you, with your arms at your sides.

InPickleball | Rear rotations A
InPickleball | Rear rotations B

B. Raise the weight slightly behind you by lifting your pinkies toward the ceiling. Return to the starting position. Do three or four sets of 10 reps.

InPickleball | Rear rotations demo


A. Sit on a bench or chair and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Rest your forearms on your thighs, palms facing up. 

InPickleball | Seated rotations A

B. Rotate the weights inward so your palms are facing the floor. Return to the starting position. Do three or four sets of 10 reps.

InPickleball | Seated rotations B
InPickleball | Seated rotations demo

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