Badminton Life

Physics of Badminton - Theories and Studies

Studies on the physics of Badminton show that a badminton player needs to have a certain level of muscular strength, power, local muscular endurance, flexibility and athleticism.

It also shows that aerobic capacity and anaerobic capacity are the two most important fitness components in badminton because of the physically demanding nature of the game.

Let's examine the physiological aspects involved.

Muscular Strength

Muscular strength is the force that a muscle or muscle group can exert against a resistance in one maximal effort. Typically, In the physics of badminton, 1RM ( Maximum repetition) strength test like the 1RM back squats and bench presses, are used to measure this parameter of fitness. It is the maximum weights or times that you can perform.

Other type of strength test includes back strength using back strength dynamometer and grip strength test using handgrip dynamometer.


Power is the rate of doing work. Muscular power is a product of muscle force and action velocity.

P = Work/Time

In other words, power can also be defined as work done (force x distance) per unit of time or force x velocity. In the physics of badminton, example of power test are Weight Throw or shuttle Throw.

Local Muscular Endurance

Local muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle or muscle group to perform repeated contractions against a sub maximal load for an extended period of time. A test of local muscular endurance requires the athletes to perform the test in a continuous manner without advantageous rest periods or extraneous body movements. In the physics of badminton, examples of local muscular endurance tests are maximal repetitions of chin-ups, push ups, parallel dips and endurance sit-ups.

Aerobic Capacity

Aerobic capacity is the amount of work a person can perform, normally determined by the rate at which oxygen is utilized during exercise. The ability to produce energy depends on the cardio respiratory system to supply oxygen and how well the muscular system is able to extract oxygen. Aerobic capacity or what is known as "MaxVO2" is usually measured directly using laboratory measurements and equipment including the metabolic cart/ gas analyzer and treadmill/ cycle ergo meter.

However there are other ways to measure aerobic capacity indirectly in the field using tests such as Cooper's test, 2.4 km run and 20 m shuttle run. In the physics of badminton, the 20m shuttle run test was found to be a more suitable test for badminton players since the game involves a lot of 'stop and go' action.

Some of the main adaptations to aerobic training are:


- increased blood volume

- increased Vo2max

- Decreased heart rate

- Decreased blood pressure

Gross Muscular - Increased in muscle fiber size (slow-twitch) - Increased oxidative capacity of slow & fast-twitch fibers - Increased muscle ability to spare carbohydrate and burn fat


- Increased in enzymes that help generate Adenosine Tri Phosphate (ATP) aerobically

- Increased glycogen and glucose stores


- Decreased fat

- Increased efficiency of body that transfer heat

- Improved performance

- More positive mental state

Anaerobic Capacity

Anaerobic capacity is the amount of work performed using primarily anaerobic energy system. Anaerobic power is strongly related to explosive movements. It is the ability to perform brief maximal muscular activity and ability to supply energy without the presence of oxygen.

In the physics of badminton, a variety of tests to measure anaerobic capacity in the upper body and lower body are performed. There are 300yd shuttle run and 5m multiple shuttle run test or Wingate test (Direct laboratory measurement).

Some of the adaptations to anaerobic training are:

Cardio Respiratory

- Little or none

Gross Muscular

- Increased in muscle size (fast-twitch fibers)

- Increased in power output


- Increased stores of Adenosine Tri Phosphate (ATP), CP, glycogen

- Increased lactate levels & fatigue tolerance

Others - Decreased body fat

- Improved performance

- More positive mental state


Flexibility is the range of motion about a joint. Examples of flexibility tests are sit and reach, graded flexibility test and goniometry measurements.

Body Composition

In the physics of badminton, body composition refers to the relative proportions by weight of body fat and lean mass.


In the physics of badminton, Anthropometry is the measurement of the size including heights, weights and proportions of the human body.

Energy System

The physiology behind the aerobic and anaerobic energy system is complex. The energy we get from food is eventually broken down to a chemical compound called adenosine-triphosphate or better known as ATP. Muscle cells use the ATP molecule as the direct and primary energy source of muscle activity.

The 3 types of energy system are:

- ATP-CP (Phosphgen)

- Glycolysis ( Lactate)

- Aerobic

The ATP-CP System

At maximal level of effort, the amount of ATP stored in the muscle is only sufficient for about 1-2 s of activity. The ATP-CP system is activated immediately, maximal efforts. It is however, a very short term system, limited to a total duration of 6-9 s by the sum of ATP stored in muscle. Example of ATP-CP system in the physics of badminton is a jumping smash or a fast, deep lunge to retrieve a shot or smash.

The ATP-CP system provides the high energy phosphate compound adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is immediately available to muscle, so the energy needs of fast and powerful movement are met in the immediate area of the muscle.

In exercising muscles, ATP concentration does not decrease in proportion to the demand for ATP, because the products of ATP hydrolysis - adenosine diphosphate (ADP), inorganic phosphate and hydrogen ions - all participate in another reaction with creatine phosphate to reform ATP.

The type of energy is vital for actions of very short duration during play such as a jumping smash or a deep, fast lunge to retrieve a shot. Training programs enhance the contents of phosphagens in the muscle. Increase in ATP and creatine phosphate occur only in muscles being trained and training activities of higher power output ADP + Creatine Phosphate.

To develop the ATP-CP system, high intensity workouts of 4 to 7 s are necessary. Any recovery from a maximal effort has to allow for the full resynthesis of CP and is aided by relative inactivity, with walking preferred to jogging. The recovery rate for CP resynthesis will be determined by how much of the CP stores have been exhausted.

An indication of the time involved in recovery is to consider that 50% of CP is resynthesised in 30 s and 100% resynthesis may take 2-3 minutes. In repeated bouts of maximal intensity exercise, such as repeated jumping smash in badminton, the recovery must allow time for CP combination.


Glycolysis is essentially the breakdown of glucose to pyruvic, acid and the conversion of this intermediate, in the absence of oxygen, to lactic acid. The series of reaction needed to break down glucose to lactioc acid creates greater time delay in energy production compared with the phosphagen system. In other words, the phosphagen system has a greater potential for supplying energy demands for very quick and powerful muscular actions of short duration.

Aerobic system

The aerobic system is a complex system which uses carbohydrates, fats, and sometimes protein as the starting point in the provision of energy. The process of glycolysis breaks down the glycogen in muscle to glucose and the glucose transported to the muscle by the blood into a substance called pyruvate, with the assistance of glycolytic enzymes.

The pyruvate enters the mitochondria and is converted into another substance called acetyl coenzyme A. Acetyl coenzyme A enters the second stage of carbohydrate metabolism, known as the Krebs cycle.

The main function of the Krebs cycle is to produce ATP by the breakdown of acetyl coenzyme A. This produces carbon dioxide and hydrogen ions. The hydrogen atoms produced from the Krebs cycle are oxidized in the Electron transport chain to provide energy for the formation of large amounts of ATP from the combination of ADP and phosphate group.

Hope you will now understand more on the physics of badminton. The stuff is a bit heavy, but it's good to know a bit about the physiological aspect of the game you are playing.

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