Badminton players need to possess a variety of fitness capabilities to be successful. Cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, agility, power and strength are all desirable traits that can be developed with regular training. Strength training for badminton should be as sports specific as possible, and your program should reflect the demands of your sport while still leaving sufficient time and energy for playing practice.
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The Strength Demands of Badminton
Strength, according to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, can be categorized in a number of ways: absolute strength refers to the maximum amount of force a muscle or muscle group can develop; strength endurance refers to the ability to perform a high volume of sub-maximal contractions without fatigue; and speed strength, which is better known as power, is strength expressed at speed.
The low weight of modern badminton racquets and the low inertia of the shuttlecock means that badminton has a relatively low demand for absolute strength. However, badminton players will benefit from increasing their strength endurance and speed strength.
You can develop strength endurance and speed strength by using a variety of strength-training equipment. Free weights such as dumbbells, barbells and kettle bells, resistance-training machines, rubber resistance bands, medicine balls and body weight exercises are all effective strength-training modalities.
Regardless of the type of strength training you perform, begin each workout with some light cardio and stretching to warm up, and finish each workout with more stretching to minimize muscle soreness and promote flexibility.
Major Muscles Used in Badminton
Badminton involves a lot of lunging movements, which engages the quadriceps and hamstring muscles of the thigh as well as the gluteus maximus or butt muscles. The adductors and abductors, located on the inside and outside of your thighs, respectively, are also heavily involved, especially when you lunge in multiple directions.
Badminton also involves lots of twisting and reaching movements, which place a significant demand on your core muscles—your abs, waist and lower back. Hitting the shuttlecock uses the muscles of the chest, back and shoulder, and the degree of involvement depends on the shot being played.
Strength-Training Exercises for Badminton
There are a number of exercises that you can perform to increase your strength for badminton. Forward, sideways and backward lunges with or without weights will help develop lower body strength, as will squats, leg extensions, leg curls and leg presses. Develop power to increase your court speed and vertical jumping ability by performing split squat jumps and squat jumps.
To improve your upper body strength, perform shoulder presses, lat pull downs, chest presses and rows. Like most racquet sports, badminton players are prone to developing rotator cuff problems. To minimize your risk of developing rotator cuff problems, you should perform medial and lateral shoulder rotation exercises using dumbbells, cables or resistance bands.
Developing a Strength-Training Program
Because strength training is one of a variety of fitness components that need to be addressed in your program, make the most of your training time by performing compound exercises that exercise multiple muscle groups. This approach means that you can train all of your major muscles using a minimal number of exercises in a single exercise session performed once or twice a week.
Build each workout around lower body and core exercises as these are the dominant muscle groups used in badminton, and also include exercises for the upper body. To combine upper and lower body work into the same exercise, perform complex exercises such as front squats combined with shoulder presses or lunges with biceps curls. This will further reduce your strength-training time and allow you to focus on other elements of your sport.