Paddleball Muscle (Core Strength)
The western black tailed Jack rabbit can accelerate to speeds clocked at over 45 miles per hour, At 45 mph Jack may not be the fastest animal but Jack does is accelerate quicker than most any other animal on the planet!
The need for speed in the paddleball should never be underestimated, though many confuse speed with quickness. A Jack rabbit has quickness.
Quickness; (Wiz def.): The ability to rapidly accelerate to full speed. There are many players in the game who have great speed yet lack an important counterpart, acceleration quickness or burst speed created from burst energy.
The Jack rabbit’s ability to channel burst energy to its extra-long legs allows rapid acceleration and is their key asset to avoid being preyed upon by other animals. Paddleball players can create burst energy by increasing strength and endurance thereby keeping their opponents from preying upon them on the paddleball court. This is done by building “Paddleball Muscle”.
Burst Speed; (Wiz def): Short durations of highly focused energy to the legs that produce extraordinary quickness to an intercept position ahead of the ball thereby giving an extra ½ second to set the feet, survey the court and hit an offensive kill or pass shot for a winner instead of flailing defensive shot. All while remaining calm and in control.
The scenario described above is only possible with well-conditioned strong yet flexible muscle. Core exercises train the muscles in your pelvis; lower back, hips and abdomen to work in harmony. This leads to better balance and stability, whether on the courts or in daily activities. Most sports and other physical activities depend on stable core muscles.
Building burst speed will come with building of core muscle: It is important to achieve core stability to protect the spine and body from injury in dynamic movement. We also want to effectively and efficiently transfer and produce force during dynamic movement while maintaining core stability. Research has shown that athletes with higher core stability have a lower risk of injury.
For years I have used the following exercises for development of core strength and endurance and for many years played every tournament injury free. Following this simple regimen of exercises will help develop core strength and endurance for use on and off the paddleball court.
Remember doing anything is better than nothing. As we get older our bodies will let us know how much is too much, when you’re in your age is in the 20s or 30s a little pain will give you some gain but by 40, 50 and beyond if you feel pain back off and give your body time to recoup and heal. Remember every time we do work muscles tear and rebuild. The time to re build is longer as we get older so be mindful yet work as hard as you can without stiffness and pain.
These simple exercises 2 to 4 days a week at the gym or in front of the television is all it takes to make huge improvements to your core strength, don’t overdo the first time though these exercises are harder than they sound:
- Leg Lift / Push-up Combo (2 to 4 sets)
Lay flat on your back raise and hold your legs 6 inches off the ground. Hold 15 to 60 seconds (you will feel a burn deep in the core) roll over and do 5 to 15 good push-ups holding your back as straight as possible. You will really feel the burn in your mid-section! Now roll back over on to your back, pull both knees into your chest and stretch for 20 seconds before repeating the next set.
- Sit-up / Forearm curl combo (2 to 4 sets)
On a sit up bench or if at home (when at home use a couch or heavy chair to lock your feet into position) do 15 to 40 sit-ups keeping your back straight and exhale on the way down and come up with empty lungs for a better burn. I suggest alternating twisting your torso to the right and to the left as you come up for added oblique muscle toning.
You will feel the burn in your mid-section! When finished go immediately to a standing pose and do 10 to 20 forearm curls using a curl bar or dumbbells. Use 25 to 60 lb. total weight, you will need to judge the weight on how you feel it is important to keep your back straight and use perfect form, do a slow controlled lift and alternate your body weight from one foot to the other as you lift the bar this will aide in building balance for the paddleball court…
- Stationary bike sprints ( 10 to 20 minutes)
Do this exercise immediately after exercise I and 2 this will help tie everything together and give your endurance a kick start. Sprint work on a stationary bike is an easy quick and safe way to produce big gains in core strength and endurance, the key is to start out slow bring your heart rate up to 70% to 80% of your maximum capacity then do 15 to 30 second sprints standing and using a moderate set resistance on the bike (you will need to experiment with this) but I use between 50 and 75 % of the maximum resistance setting while doing the sprints then back off for 2 minutes.
So the drill goes, warm-up 2 to 6 minutes then sprint 15 to 30 seconds then back off for 2 minutes then sprint again, check your heart rate and make sure you stay in the aerobic zone! As your strength and endurance improve experiment with the durations, I find when I am feeling good 1 minute sprints with 30 second rests are great. At 56 I am able to train at approx. 135 -145 beats per minute and that works great for me, if you train at too high of a rate in the “anaerobic range” you will be sore the next day for sure and will stay sore for a few days this is why many people stop working out so be careful and try to work your way up and into better condition over months not days… Good Luck!