All sports can get you fit, but it’s commonly accepted that to play a sport well additional and very specific training is needed to improve your play. Badminton is no exception, and if you incorporate the following five drills every week we guarantee you’ll see an improvement in your game.
Although shuttlecocks and badminton rackets are light compared with other sports equipment, players who have more upper body strength generally play a better game. And when good strong players are matched with like players, long and challenging rallies result, requiring them to match their strength with speed and endurance. In addition, it’s a game of precision so body control, balance and agility are crucial too.
1. Kettlebell Woodchopper
The kettlebell is a simple and effective way to bring functional exercises and resistance training together, and of all the kettlebell exercises we reckon the woodchopper serves the badminton player best. This fantastic compound move strengthens the abdominals, back and shoulders. It trains the body to move through a range of motion that perfectly mimics the turn of the torso for forehand and backhand shots.
To perform the exercise, set your feet hip distance apart and hold the kettlebell in both hands in front of you. As you bend your knees, take the kettlebell down across your body by twisting your body to one side, then, as you lengthen your legs, twist your body in the opposite direction and take your hands high to the other side. You can work your arms individually too with a slightly lighter weight. Repeat on both sides with both arms together and individually at least 15 times.
If you need some kettlebells to get started, take a look at our shop here.
2. Loaded Badminton Racket Wrist Rotations
Flexible and strong wrists will advance the accuracy and variety of shots you can make, and holding a loaded racket as you exercise will further improve your wrist strength by creating better grip.
For this exercise, pop the cover over your racket and add weight to it by zipping in a book then flex the wrist up and down 20 times with the palm down, do a figure of eight right to left 20 times, flex the wrist up and down 20 times with the palm up then finish doing a figure of eight left to right 20 times.
3. Multi-directional Shuttle Runs
On court agility enables you to get in position in good time to plan return shots and this exercise will help you to achieve this as well as building your endurance as it’s high intensity too. It’s best done with a training buddy so you can add an element of the unexpected as you can call directions for one another.
Make sure you have adequate space and visualise a compass with you at the centre. You need to face due north all the time, just as you face the net when you play, and after every shuttle you need to return to your start point ready for the next call. Allow your partner to call random directions, sprint five steps in each direction when it’s called, hit the floor with one hand and then sprint five steps back to where you started and hit the floor with the other hand.
As your fitness builds, try to move faster rather than further and trade touching the floor with tuck jumps. Devote at least ten minutes to this drill every time you train.
4. Single Foot Calf Raises
A great deal of balance comes from the stabilisers at the lower legs, added to which rapid changes in direction can put strain on the ankles and calves, so building strength and stamina will reduce falls and enable swift changes of direction.
Using a bench or a step, position one foot so the ball is supported on the step and your heel hangs over the edge. Rest your other foot against the back of the ankle. Drop the ankle of the first foot as low as you can then elevate it has high as you can and repeat.
Initially you’ll need to rest a hand on a wall to keep your balance, but as your balance improves gradually reduce your reliance on the wall until you can dispense with it altogether. Also you’ll probably find the lower leg fatigues very quickly on the first few occasions so keep swapping legs to allow rest and build endurance. Aim to do 20 on each leg without using a wall and then hold hand weights as your strength builds.
Get yourself an aerobic step to help with this exercise here.
5. Deep Squats
Strong legs are the power behind the rapid moves and high jumps you have to make to achieve the full range of serves and returns, so this simple badminton exercise will keep them strong and in so-doing build a structure of support for the knee to keep it nicely aligned during those swift turns and twists.
Working under your own body weight is effective, adding resistance in the form of a barbell, dumbbell or kettlebell is even better, and the greater the weight you work with the greater the leg power that results.
For a deep squat, stand tall and set your heels outside your hips then turn your legs from the hips so your knees and toes look outwards. Slowly bend your knees as much as you can bringing your tail down and then lengthen your legs. Keep your heels and your ten toes on the floor throughout and tense your glutes on the up phase to build more strength in the backs of the legs and to support the lower back.
Aim for three sets of 15 initially and then build both your reps and resistance as your strength improves.
If you want to get strong muscles, check out our range of barbells and weights get the equipment you need to enhance your game here.
Collectively these exercises should not take more than 20 minutes and we recommend you blend them with your workouts on non-game days at least twice a week.
Commit by booking time into your diary and record your achievements in a journal, noting down which aspects of your game see the most benefit. We’d love to hear from you when these simple drills help you beat a long-standing opponent or get you selected for a team.
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