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How Many Calories Are Burned Playing Pickleball for 60-minutes?

Pickleball is a great cardiovascular workout if the intensity is kept high. A play may burn 8-11 calories per minute on the low end going up as high as 15-calories per minute on the higher end.

Pickleball Weight Loss Strategies

The number of calories burned playing pickleball can be more or less, depending on several factors including:

  • intensity,
  • duration of the game,
  • competitiveness and training level
  • player’s muscle mass
  • player’s bodyweight
  • # of rest breaks
  • and more.

Pickleball Game Intensity

Of course a more competitive match has a greater intensity than a casual game. Measuring heart rate and respiration rate are two great indicators of intensity.

To estimate a player’s maximum heart rate the player should subtract your age from 220. For example, I am a 47 year old male. 220 – 47 = 173. Now if I want to work at an age related intensity of 75% maxium heart rate I would then multiply 173 x 75% for a calculation of 130 beats per minute. 

A moderate intensity match might be one that keeps my heartrate between 120 beats per minute and 140 beats per minute. This is referred to as using the The Karvonen formula.

To get the most of your casual games, it’s best to increase your pace and maximize your workout time to increase the number of calories burned.

Duration of a Pickleball Game

The USAPA (United States of America Pickleball Association) recommends playing for an average of 50 minutes per match. Playing a full set means playing for as long as an hour.

That’s an average of 350 – 475 calories burned playing pickleball for 60 minutes. At greater intensity, or if you are a larger person you can burn up to 600+ calories per set.

If you play two sets, that’s about 1,200 calories burned in two hours of playing a fun game. A more exciting way to work out, isn’t it?

Keep in mind that the amount of rest breaks between points will greatly impact this number. I have been in matches that spend more time between points than actually playing. 

Novice or new pickleball players will often spend more time retrieving the ball and setting up to serve which results in fewer calories burned.

Pickleball Game Competitiveness

The level of compentition and skill will greatly impact how many calories are burned during a game. As mentioned above, a new player won’t burn as many calories because points will end quickly usually on the serve or the return.

Conversely, a more competivite match between highly skilled players may take the same duration, but involve longer and faster ralleys. This means move movement on the court and higher intensity per point.

More Muscle Means More Calorie Burn

More calories burned means more weight loss.

More muscle might not mean better performance on the pickleball course, but a player with more muscle mass will burn more calories per minute of play simply because muscle burns more energy than fat.

One pound of muscle burns an extra 50 calories per day. Simply having 5 extra pounds of lean muscle mass on your body will contribute to an extra 250 calorie burn per day.

More Body Weight Means More Calorie Burn

Interestingly, it burns more calories to move a heavier body around the pickleball court. That means a larger male will burn more calories than a smaller female, but it also means a person with more body fat to lose will burn more calories than a thinner person playing for the same duration.

More Rest Breaks Means Fewer Calories

Obviously more rest breaks would mean fewer total calories burned while playing pickleball, but not always.

There is a Goldilocks effect here. If you play too intensely without any rest breaks you will burn more calories during play, but you won’t be able to play as long. If you take too many rest breaks you can play for hours, but hardly burn any extra calories.

The sweet spot is finding the highest intesity play that allows you to recover between points without letting your heartrate drop below the bottom of you target range.

Decreased rest breaks increases the effectiveness of these pickleball weight loss strategies.

Final Thoughts:

These pickleball weight loss strategies can be a fun and effective way to stay motivated, mix up your training program, and enjoy a healthy hobby.

The goal of any weight loss strategy is to remain healhy while achieving sustainable improvement.

If you would like to learn more about weight loss check out this article on the benefits of muslce mass for calorie burn.

Anthony Maritato, PT

Anthony Maritato, PT

Physical Therapist

Anthony Maritato, PT has been a licensed physical therapist and private practice owner since 2006. Ohio license #PT011602.

Anthony has been passionate about helping patients recover from total knee replacement surgery as well as rotator cuff repair surgery.