Badminton Life

Weight Training for Badminton

Badminton requires good hand eye co-ordination; flexibility of movements, instant reflexes and above all peak physical fitness to endure long rallies and matches.

So it is important to improve one's physical attributes when playing badminton by doing weight training besides other exercises like sprinting, jogging, jumping and stretching.

If still you are not convinced about weight training to improve your power and endurance, consider the fact that a badminton match lasts anywhere from 20 minutes to 70 minutes, without rest during rallies. If you are not in peak form, you can lose lot of points from being tired.

Another more important reason for weight training in badminton is prevention of injuries like shoulder dislocation and tennis elbow which can occur due to imbalance in muscle strength occurring due to lack of or inadequate weight training.

Weight training in badminton is chiefly done to strengthen your hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder joints and the muscles that surround them. In addition, it is also done to strengthen abdominal, back and lower limb muscles, which will help you in stretching, smashing, lunging forward and diving when playing badminton.

First and foremost, you must grip your racket firmly and with strength to execute a powerful smash. You must use hand grippers to increase the strength of your hand muscles.

Weight training exercises used to strengthen the forearms and arms can be done with dumb-bells. Examples of movements that can be done are:

- Flexion and extension of the wrist holding the dumb-bell against the gravity.

- Flexion and extension of the elbow holding the dumb-bell against the gravity.

- Abducting the arm (keeping the arm beside your body in standing position as in military attention and then gradually taking it away from your body sideways without bending the elbow or wrist till your hand is at the level of your shoulders and neck) holding the dumb-bell.

For strengthening your chest and shoulder muscles to give you power during smashing, routine push-ups can be done in which your body itself acts as the weight to do the exercise. By the same exercise, your back muscles surrounding the shoulder blades on either side are also strengthened. Similarly, lifting barbell can also be done to strengthen the arm and shoulder muscles.

Similarly to strengthen your forearms, arms, back and chest muscles, routine pull ups in a horizontal bar can be very useful which gives exercise to all the above muscle groups at the same time. Here also your body serves as the weight.

For specifically weight training middle and lower back muscles, barbell or dumb-bell dead lift with stiff legs can be done. Here a barbell or dumb-bell is held in both hands with the player bending forward with his knees locked, and he slowly straightens himself thereby working his back muscles.

Sit-ups are ideal to strengthen your abdominal muscles. In sit-ups also, your body acts as the weight. Make sure you do sit-ups in a firm floor without straining your back. Alternatively, an ab crunch or barbell can also be used to weight train the abs.

To strengthen your thigh and calf muscles, proper squats are to be regularly practiced which strengthens your quadriceps (thigh) muscles, hamstrings and calf muscles besides strengthening the heel (attachment of calf muscle Achilles tendon to the calcaneal bone). Alternatively, you can do squats with barbell for better benefits. While doing so, two spotters (training assistants) should stand on either side of you to support the weight when you complete the exercise or tend to drop it.

For strengthening calf muscles, barbell seated calf raise (here the player sits in a chair supporting the barbell in his thighs and raises his ankle from the floor, thereby lifting the weight) and calf press in a leg press machine can also be done.

Usually weight training in badminton is recommended twice or thrice weekly amidst other exercises. Fine. What does weight training actually do to you? Well, it causes what is known as hypertrophy of the muscle fibres (increase in size of the individual muscle fibers).

It increases the power of the muscle resulting in better power play. It has been shown that slow movements bearing heavy weights is beneficial when one chooses to do weight training in badminton as they aid in muscle hypertrophy better.

One more issue is when to start weight training in badminton. It is ideal to start around the age of 20 because, till that age, bone growth occurs in adults. When weight training is done before that, there is a risk of injury to the growth plate of the bone, which can stunt the growth of that particular bone resulting in deformity.

Precautions to be followed during weight training in badminton:

- Do adequate warm ups before weight training.

- Choose the appropriate weight, neither very light nor very heavy.

- Take adequate rest between 2 to 5 minutes after each 10 to 15 movements.

- Consume adequate water during training.

- Eat carbohydrates and proteins within one hour of weight training.

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