Strength & Conditioning for Paintball [2022]

Fitness for Paintball

Playing paintball is great for your health. Running, jumping, climbing, crawling and getting your heart rate up and socialising are all solid benefits for you. Once you get serious about playing paintball, you’ll see how fitness plays a key role in how well you can play. If the opposing team turn up fitter, faster, stronger and more agile, they’ll have an advantage over you in the field, regardless of your skill level.  I’ve put together a few tips on how you can maximise your fitness levels for competitive paintball.

In addition to the great physical-health benefits; paintball possesses some fantastic mental-health benefits.  Not only thanks to the social aspect (proven to alleviate depression in many people); the fear of getting shot in the backside (or worse, the neck), is a fantastic catylst for putting you into flow state. Fear is fantastic for focus!

Back to the physical aspects, and the strength and conditioning:


A slow target is an easy target, and if you want to get successful at paintball you’ve to get quick. Sprinting is the key to building your speed over short to medium distances, and that starts with technique. Once your technique is sorted out at low speed, start building your sprints. You can start off building over a four week period of high-intensity intervals going from 10 metres to sixty metres, and adjust your training from there to keep maximising your fitness and speed.

Tabata intervals are fantastic for most sports, and this includes paintball.  Specificity is key, so if you can train sprints with your paintball gun, then do it.

2 Tabata intervals, twice a week, will be plenty to build speed and specific fitness.
Tabata intervals involve 20 second bursts of all-out work, followed by 10 seconds rest.
This is repeated for 8 rounds, so that you do a total of 4 minutes work.  It’s an absolute killer.

Use an app, or a youtube video as your timer

I’d definitely recommend wearing some layers for your warm up, and using a job and some dynamic stretching before doing for a 100% effort sprint.  I pulled my hamstring last year doing a race, it sucked. Make sure you warm up, so that you’re actually sweating.


Things change quickly in a paintball match, and you need to react. Building agility isn’t so hard, and you can get to it with a couple of simple tools and exercises. You’re working on getting fast feet, quick reactions, and quick changes of direction, so work with a partner to create some challenging drills, or grab a few from the internet and hit the park.

You don’t need that much muscle to play paintball. Body weight resistance exercises are a good idea, but if you’re not strong enough to do that yet, feel free to use weights. Things like press ups, pull ups, mountain climbers, one-legged squats and box jumps are a great place to start. As with everything, endeavour for good form to avoid any injures and maximise results.

Here are some good agility paintball-exercises that you can do with a BOSU board

A skipping rope is fantastic too.

Practice being on your toes, and practice changing direction quickly. Sprints around cones and are great for this.


Try not to fall into the trap of thinking endurance means lots and lots of cardio exercise. Excessive cardio will get you fit, but will divert your body’s energies from your strength training. Instead of dividing the concept of strength and cardio into two areas, combine them. Do faster, more explosive strength exercises which use multiple muscles and decrease your rest periods. [1] Long gaps between sessions are better for creating large muscles rather than increasing your strength and endurance together, sometimes waiting three days or more in between working on a muscle group. [2]

Muscular endurance in the arms and legs are vital for paintball. Stick with compound exercises such as squats and chin ups, rather than isolation exercises such as bicep curls and leg extensions.

With any exercise, make sure you do a proper warm up and cool down, and if you have any existing medical conditions be sure to consult with your doctor before trying any high intensity exercise.

Consider periodising your training for the on and off season.  Focusing on specific fitness and reducing the volume and duration of fitness or S & C sessions during the competitive season.

Example Training Session for Paintball Fitness
Warm up

Light jog – slowly increasing intensity/speed. Jog for 5 minutes.
Dynamic stretching
Squats, arm circles, neck-nods, over-the-gate hip warm ups.

Skipping drills – 10 minutes

Tabata Interval of Sprints – 4 minutes total

Cone agility Drills – 20 minutes

Stability ball Hip Extension and Leg curl – 2 sets of max repetitions

Stability Ball Pike (or Knee raises) – 2 sets of max repetitions

Stability Ball Press Ups – 2 sets of max repetitions

Cool down – foam roll

Get massive – go shoot some mofos

Not with real guns though, that’s stupid.

About Drew

MMA, Fitness & Marketing enthusiast from North Wales, UK. A Stoic Hippy with no hair. Not to boast but - 1st Class Degree in Sports Science from Loughborough, MSc in Nutrition from the University of Liverpool. 20 years experience of weight & fitness training.
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1 Response to Strength & Conditioning for Paintball [2022]

  1. Marcin says:

    Very good post about Paintball. ๐Ÿ™‚ 100% True ๐Ÿ™‚

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