What began as an excuse for the leisure class to flirt and sip cocktails has transformed into the high-powered sport of badminton. A sport that revolves around shoulder and leg strength and endurance, badminton now ranks among the fastest sports in the world. A smash performed by a Chinese player zipped through the air at 206 miles per hour, according to Bernd-Volker Brahms book “Badminton Handbook.” This complex sport makes demands on your entire body. Exercises should include strength, flexibility and cardiovascular training as well as drills to perfect your skills on the court.
Build Power and Strength
Build explosive strength and power for badminton via a regular weight training program. For example, a program tailored to badminton players can be structured over the course of four months, according to “The Ultimate Guide to Weight Training for Badminton” by Rob Price. In the first four weeks, target certain muscle groups for endurance training every other day as follows: dumbbell bench press for the chest, calf raises and leg curls for the legs, bent-over dumbbell rows and seated cable rows for the back and triceps push downs. For the chest and triceps exercises, perform three sets of 15 reps each and for the legs and back, two sets of 20 reps each. On alternate days, perform the following exercises: lunges, leg presses and extensions, lateral and front raises for your shoulders and reverse wrist curls for your forearms. As you grow stronger, shift to power training from weeks five though eight. For example, do T-bar rows and bent-over barbell rows for your back, dips for your triceps, jump squats for your legs and flyes for your chest. Alternate your schedule between endurance and power training for the next two months, performing even more challenging resistance exercises.
Improve Flexibility and Mobility
To play badminton well, you need flexibility and mobility to be able to twist, turn and reach on a swing with less strain. Mobility exercises should be performed with gentle movement in which you steadily increase the range of movement. For example, swing both arms in forward, backward and sideways circles. Other mobility exercises include forward lunges, side, knee, trunk and hip bends and head, arm and trunk rotations. Perform stretches that lengthen your muscles to a painless limit and then press against a stationary object in the opposing direction for about six seconds, according to Ashok Kumar’s book “Dph Sports Series – Badminton.” For example, a stretch for your hips is to sit on the ground with your legs split sideways as far apart as is comfortable. Have a partner kneel between your legs and hold down your ankles. For six seconds, try and close your legs against your partner’s hold. As you relax, your partner should slowly push your legs farther apart.
Engage in Anaerobic and Aerobic Exercises
For much of the game of badminton, you’ll be playing at an intensity that requires anaerobic energy sources. The duration of the game also demands an aerobic metabolism. You need to perform exercises that help you tap into these energy systems. For example, anaerobic conditioning can include shuttling running or sprints or a game of shadow badminton in which you move around the court without hitting an actual bird. Aerobic exercises include longer runs of, for example, 800 meters, rope jumping and stationary cycling. In these exercises, build your cardiovascular endurance so you can perform at high pitch throughout the game.
Perform Game-Playing Skills
By performing drills, you can hone your skills through repetition. Once you learn the basic techniques of swings, serves and footwork, you should perform exercises that improve the many skills required to play effectively. For example, in a gravity footwork drill, you move your nondominant foot backward from the ready position as you pivot in the opposing direction, according to “Badminton: Steps to Success” by Tony Grice. By stepping back, you allow gravity to help you move in your preferred direction. You then move toward the net on a diagonal path, reach with your racket and switch from a forehand to a backhand grip. Perform this drill for five minutes, repeating the sequence of movements.
Kay Tang is a journalist who has been writing since 1990. She previously covered developments in theater for the "Dramatists Guild Quarterly." Tang graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and political science from Yale University and completed a Master of Professional Studies in interactive telecommunications at New York University.