Strength Training for Badminton at Home - Part 1

Strength training can be done effectivly at home even with minimal equipment. The important thing: a well-rounded plan with good progressions and an underlying periodization.

Strength training is an important component of Badminton training and a solid foundation can be build up without having to go to a gym. But the program and the exercises have to be chose wisely - whoever has the possibilty to consult an experienced coach to create an individualized plan should use this opportunity. If this is not the case, you should spend some time and thoughts about your training - even experienced Badminton coaches but unfortunately also beginning Strength coaches ofter make mistakes in coming up with a Strength training program for Badminton.

Let's start with a short reflection - why do we need strength training in Badminton? For one, to prevent and reduce injuries, especially overuse-injuries which are common in Badminton and second, to be able to produce more performance on court.

For that you should know, which areas of the body you should target and where those "Badminton injuries" typically occur but also where your individual weak points are. In Badminton normally the ankle, the knee-and-hip-complex, the low back as well as the shoulder-elbow complex are the areas that are compromised the most.

Also to create a good strength program for Badminton, you should know that Badminton is considered a "quadriceps-dominant" game sport. So there is a lot of impact and use of the frontal chain and a need to strengthen the back side of the body. For the interested reader who wants to dig deeper into the topic, consider the article "A suprising FMS result in Badminton players".

These are the main "Badminton" points we will adress in our program. 

On the second point - Badminton performance enhancement - you can spend a lot of time on, or you don't. At least for the start. For the reason, if you really protect your body effectively from injuries, you will automatically adress many areas that will also help you to move more quickly on court and create more power with your racket. We need a good base on leg strength, a good overall stability, a good mobility in the upper body and shoulder muscles that protects you. If this is build up accordingly with injury prevention in mind, more performance on court will come hand in hand. With injury prevention in mind, some numbers out of high-performance Badminton are 1.5 times bodyweight for a below-parallel squat and straight-leg deadlift between 130-200 kg for men and 90-130 kg for women. Of course build up through years of training and with the help of experienced S&C coaches.


Now let's get to the overall structure of the program:

For "weekend warrior" strength training should be done 2-3 times per week when we work on foundation. For starters even one time per week could have an effect, overall - especially when you put additional things into your program like running or actual beeing on court - two times per week seems the best fit for most people. We will also use a whole body workout routine. Splits, "leg-days" and stuff should be used by the ones training at least one time per day and are guided by a professional coach. 

How to build the program, which exercises should be put into it? Here a lot of mistakes are commonly done. The most important thing is to come up with a system, or copy and adjust already proven ones. I was strongly influenced by Nick Winkelmann and the Athletes' Performane (now EXOS) system, who are the world leaders when it comes to performance enhancement and as well as from Michael Boyle, another leading expert in the field. I was teached by them and used their systems and method and mingled them with "Badminton" and my experience.

Instead of talking about single exercises at that point, it makes more sense to define target areas - by doing this it is for sure, that all areas are covered and that not multiple exercises target one single area. Its also easier to change the program by putting variations into it without the danger of using to many similar exercises and run into local over-training. By using this systems, the whole body is covered:

1.Exercise: Lower Body Pull

2.Exercise: Upper Body Push

3.Exercise: Lower Body Push

4.Exercise: Upper Body Pull

5.Exercise: Core Anti-Motion / Motion

Only 5 exercises? Nor really. Remember, these are only the target areas, where we will now at another dimension: planes of motion and stances. Regarding the lower body, for me these are mainly the different stancec: parallel, single leg, split stance and for the upper body, vertical and horizontal movements while for the core, we look at all three planes of motion and work on flexion / extension, lateral flexion and rotation.

At first, this sound quite complicated and complex - but it is nessecary and important, so try to understand and follow - and be sure, this will lead to a single program with "real" exercises. But understanding the build up, will empower you to make changes and adapt the plan with time and individual needs.

When we think about a 45-60 min program (longer a session of strength for Badminton should not be) and with 3 sets beeing the most effective we will have maximum 6 different exercises when we think of 30-45 sec work and 120 sec rest. To slim the program to 45-60 min, we use "mini circuits" in our program. We cycle two exercises working on different areas, this allows us to put 12 exercises into our program, without compromising our 60 min maximum.

Now we have:

1.1 Exercise: Lower Body Push parallel

1.2 Exercise: Upper Body Push horizontal

2.1 Exercise: Lower Body Push Split Stance

2.2 Exercise: Upper Body Pull vertical

3.1 Exercise: Lower Body Pull parallel

3.2 Exercise: Upper Body Pull horizontal

4.1 Exercise: Lower Body Pull one-leg

4.2 Exercise: Upper Body Pull horizontal

5.1 Exercise: Core lateral flexion 

5.2 Exercise: Core Anti-Rotation

When you have a closer look, not all areas are covered here. Why this? At this point I already put in "the Badminton", so Badminton specific considerations by e.g. reducing above shoulder height work by cutting upper body push vertical and put more exercises to protect the shoulder and work more for the backside of the hip into the program. Core is also coverd in some areas already, as we will use only so called functional exercises with stabilily focus e.g. single leg dead lifts into the program and do not use old school weight machines.

This structure now can be filled with life and we will do so in Part 2 - go for it!

Diemo Ruhnow

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