Find out how many calories pickleball burns to see how much this fun activity benefits your weight loss and weight control efforts.
Some rough estimations are that the average person will burn around 177 – 305+ calories per 30 minutes of singles pickleball.
While there are more effective activities too, it is fair to say that pickleball burns a nice amount of calories.
Keep in mind that your actual results can vary due to details like your weight, how intensely you play, and much more.
Below you can also find tables that give more precise estimations for different weights, singles vs doubles, how pickleball compares to tennis, and more.
Biggest influences on calories burned with pickleball
It is important to know that correctly estimating exactly how many calories pickleball burns is hard to do.
There are many details that influence your results but are hard (or inconvenient) to measure.
At the same time, it can be helpful to know what some of the most important details are.
This can help you get better estimations and/or help you make your pickleball sessions burn more calories.
Some examples of these details are:
- Weight: How much you weigh will influence how much energy your body needs to use to move around the pickleball field.
- Body composition: Different tissues in your body can vary in terms of energy needs. For example, an amount of muscle tends to burn slightly more calories than the same weight in body fat.
- Pickleball intensity: Pickleball sessions can vary a lot in intensity. A leisurely game among friends will burn fewer calories than the final of a professional tournament.
- Singles vs doubles: You can play pickleball both 1 vs 1 and 2 vs 2 but both of these are done on the same field. This makes it so singles matches generally involve more steps and in turn more calorie-burning.
Hidden calorie burning from pickleball
To make it even harder to make good estimations, the extra calorie burning thanks to pickleball is not necessarily limited to the session itself.
More specifically, if you play pickleball really intensely, you can get an afterburn effect.
This afterburn involves using up more energy than usual for a limited amount of time after you stop playing.
The afterburn may not do as much as the pickleball session itself but the results of this effect can really add up.
Additionally, sports like pickleball can involve positive secondary effects that again benefit calorie burning.
Unfortunately, estimation (and many measuring) methods do not include these things.
Estimations calories burned pickleball
How many calories pickleball burns is currently not the most well-studied subject.
However, there are still ways to make estimations.
For example, there are these numbers called MET values which are rough estimations of how intense certain activities are.
You can use these numbers in the following formula to estimate the number of calories you burn: METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200 = calories burned per minute
One small study with 15 middle-aged to older adults (40-85 years) measured an average MET of 4.1 (1).
A potential issue with this is that younger and more active individuals will likely play pickleball at higher intensities.
A different anchor point is the MET estimation of 6 when playing doubles tennis (2).
This is a reasonable MET estimation for singles pickleball since the playing area is smaller than in singles tennis.
In turn, I will use the MET of 6 for the general pickleball calorie-burning estimations in the first table below.
After that, you can also find some tables with rough estimations of how singles and doubles pickleball compare, the difference with tennis, and the calories burned in a single pickleball match.
It is worth noting again that all of these numbers are rough estimations. In reality, there are details that are not in the formula but do influence the results.
Calories burned while playing pickleball
You will likely find it the most convenient to be able to estimate how many calories you burned by looking at your playing time.
The numbers below are estimations for playing singles pickleball.
|1 Minute||15 Minutes||30 Minutes||45 Minutes||60 Minutes|
|125 Pounds (56 kg)||6 calories||89 calories||177 calories||266 calories||354 calories|
|155 Pounds (70 kg)||7 calories||110 calories||220 calories||330 calories||439 calories|
|185 Pounds (83 kg)||9 calories||131 calories||262 calories||393 calories||524 calories|
|215 Pounds (97 kg)||10 calories||152 calories||305 calories||457 calories||610 calories|
Calories burned singles vs doubles
Pickleball is a sport that can also be played 2 vs 2.
One thing to keep in mind is that this reduces the intensity per minute and in turn, the number of calories burned.
To get these numbers, I used the same ratio as the results in singles vs doubles in tennis and a playing time of 30 minutes.
|125 Pounds (56 kg)||177 calories||133 calories|
|155 Pounds (70 kg)||220 calories||165 calories|
|185 Pounds (83 kg)||262 calories||197 calories|
|215 Pounds (97 kg)||305 calories||229 calories|
Calories burned pickleball vs tennis
There are many racket sports you can consider for burning more calories.
In the table below, you can find the estimation differences between pickleball and tennis.
These results imply that tennis burns about 33.1% more calories than pickleball.
|125 Pounds (56 kg)||236 calories||177 calories||177 calories||133 calories|
|155 Pounds (70 kg)||293 calories||220 calories||220 calories||165 calories|
|185 Pounds (83 kg)||350 calories||262 calories||262 calories||197 calories|
|215 Pounds (97 kg)||406 calories||305 calories||305 calories||229 calories|
Calories burned in a pickleball match
For the more competitive individuals, I also calculated some calorie burning estimations for pickleball matches.
The actual duration can of course vary on how fast the players score points.
However, I used around 15 minutes or more for a singles game. In turn, a best of 3 lasts about 30-60 minutes.
Below you can find estimations about how many calories you would burn more or less in a 1-hour match for singles and doubles pickleball.
|Pickleball Match Type|
|125 Pounds (56 kg)||354 calories||266 calories|
|155 Pounds (70 kg)||439 calories||330 calories|
|185 Pounds (83 kg)||524 calories||393 calories|
|215 Pounds (97 kg)||610 calories||457 calories|
How to burn more calories with pickleball
By now you likely understand that there are ways to influence how many calories pickleball burns.
The first way to burn more energy per minute is by playing pickleball at higher intensities. Potentially up to the afterburn effect.
This can mean finding more challenging opponents or really going after every challenging ball.
Secondly, you can add resistance training workouts outside of your pickleball sessions to your routine.
The extra weight in muscle will make it so you burn just a few more calories while playing.
In theory, you could also increase your weight by wearing a weighted vest.
However, this last option is likely not the best choice in terms of having the best pickleball match.
Is pickleball good for weight loss?
The numbers above may sound impressive but you likely want to know whether pickleball is actually good for weight loss or not.
Before giving a few rough examples, it is important to know that your diet and other lifestyle habits will influence your pickleball weight loss results a lot.
That aside, let’s say that a 155-pound person with a routine that keeps them at the same weight decides to play more pickleball.
This person would burn around 878 calories or about 0.38 pounds (0.17 kg) while doing two 1-hour pickleball sessions a week.
After a month, this would mean burning an extra 5268 calories or about 1.51 pounds (0.66 kg) of body fat.
These amounts are definitely welcome but it is also fair to say that there are more effective exercise options too.
In simpler words, while pickleball is good for weight loss in itself, you can get more results in the same amount of time with other workouts too.
Muscles worked playing pickleball
Playing pickleball mainly works muscles like your shoulders, chest, triceps, biceps, forearms, quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, abs, obliques, lower back, erector spinae, and hip flexors.
If you are relatively inexperienced when it comes to resistance training, pickleball could help you grow and strengthen some of these muscles a small amount.
That being said, you should generally not expect any muscle growth from playing pickleball.
Is pickleball a good workout for burning calories?
With the numbers above, it is fair to say that pickleball is a reasonably good workout for burning calories.
Especially if you find this sport fun to do which would make consistency easier.
At the same time, it is important to know that there are more effective exercise choices when it comes to burning calories too.
Part of the reason for this is that pickleball requires you to spend time going to a playing field.
In turn, this makes it just a bit harder to implement pickleball into your routine compared to something like running where you can just step outside your door and start burning calories.
So whether or not pickleball is ultimately the right exercise choice for burning calories will also depend on your personal preferences and location.