Badminton Stretching: Level Up Your Game With These Exercises

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Last Updated on 07/01/2024 by Kriss

Do you sometimes feel stiff, or lack the final few centimeters to reach the shuttle? This is where stretching can make a big difference. Today, we will describe our approach to stretching off the court and talk about how it can improve your badminton game, physical fitness, and other aspects of your life.

Stretching – At a Glance

  • Stretching exercises for badminton players target specific muscle groups in your shoulders, hips, and legs.

  • You can improve flexibility and gain mobility on the court by committing to a regular stretching routine.

  • Static stretching should never be done before your badminton session, but afterward or 3+ hours before the session.

  • You can make progress by using the simple stretching system of time under passive tension for each muscle group. Aim for 3-5 minutes per stretch.

The Importance of Stretching for Badminton Players

Stretching is essential not only in badminton but in your daily life as well. Whether comfortably sitting on the ground, or squatting with your heels down – basic mobility affects all of us. When it comes to badminton we can think of it as maintaining and improving mobility of important muscle groups and joints.

In badminton, our whole body has to work hard. You lunge with your whole body weight multiple times per rally, your body rotates with each clear or smash, and you twist left and right to reach those smashes that come to the sidelines.

Deep lunges require good flexibility in hips and hamstrings
Deep lunges require good flexibility in the hips and hamstrings.

A lot of people think that stretching helps to prevent chronic injuries or decrease soreness. This is actually not correct. Multiple studies like this one concluded that:

“Stretching before and after exercise does not significantly affect muscle soreness or the risk of injury in physically active individuals.”

I like to think of stretching more as a method to keep the muscles and joints nicely oiled and smooth. It won’t cause havoc if you don’t do it, but it sure is a good idea to take care of it.

If you want to decrease injury risk, you should do a good warm-up before each badminton session. Multiple studies proved, that a warm-up not only decreases injury risk but also increases athletic performance (source).

But let’s get back to stretching.

How To Increase Flexibility

Increasing your flexibility is simple. There are two types of stretches: active and passive. Active stretching (sometimes also called dynamic stretching) has your muscles under tension and often involves movement of the muscle group. When you do a push-up all the way down you are actively stretching your chest muscles (while they are under tension).

Passive stretches (also called static stretches) don’t involve active movement. You also aim to have no tension in your target muscle group. Yoga often uses this stretching method. There’s no single ‘best’ way to stretch. All types of stretching improve flexibility, but passive stretching is generally more favored.

Key Muscle Groups to Target for Badminton Stretching

Your whole body is a system where gears click into each other. So you should not only focus on one joint or muscle to stretch. Everything works together. However, when it comes to badminton, there are a few muscle groups that we want to target in detail.

  1. Shoulders: Especially your racket arm is under a lot of stress during a badminton game. For a good rotation, you need to have good mobility in your shoulders.

  2. Hips: Your hips connect your upper body with your lower body. Hip mobility is needed for deep lunges and it also initiates the full body rotation for powerful smashes.

  3. Legs: If you want to win points – footwork is key. The goal is to keep your center of gravity low to the ground and stable during those quick movements.

Top Badminton Stretches to Improve Your Game

Now that we’ve discussed how stretching is beneficial for badminton and the key muscle groups to target, let’s move on to a few stretches you can do to increase your mobility. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or pro player – everyone can do these stretches. These stretches are designed for long holds under passive tension. You should do all of them for 3-5 minutes, or just pick the ones you like or need the most.

A good surface for the exercises would be a yoga mat or something similar – some of the following stretches might be uncomfortable on a hard surface.

Leg Stretch

Hamstring stretch for the right leg.
Hamstring stretch for the right leg.

Your hamstrings are a large muscle group at the back of your legs. They are involved in pretty much any walking or running activity, so obviously they are also important for badminton players. With this exercise, we stretch one leg at a time. This helps to notice imbalances between both legs.

Tips for this stretch: Keep your arm straight, this helps to relax a little bit more. Your other leg and head should be relaxed and stay on the ground. You can see, that we use a little strap on the sole of the foot. If you are very flexible, you can just use your right arm and grab the outside and sole of your foot. For most people, a belt or other type of strap will do the trick.

Hip Flexor and Glute Stretch

Hip flexor stretch
Hip flexor stretch. Stretching the hip is essential for lunges and rotation.

Hip flexibility is important for any kind of rotation. Whether it is a clear or a scissor kick – your hips are always part of the movement. This stretch is awesome because it stretches a lot of hip muscles! First, we stretch the glutes on our right leg, which is an important muscle group for lunges. We also stretch our deep six lateral rotators with that front leg. On the back leg, we stretch our most important hip flexor – the Iliopsoas.

Tips for this stretch: Start in a push-up position and then put your right foot forward outside of your right hand. After that, you can push your right foot a little bit more forward. Then drop your left knee to the ground. Find a hand position that works best for you.

Keeping your arms straight is the most common position, but if you are very flexible you can drop your forearms down to get a deeper stretch. If you are really tight in your hips you might need something where you can put your hands on the floor. A raised object like a stool works great in this situation.

For some of you, it might also be good to add some cushion under your knee to make the stretch a little bit more comfortable. You can also rotate your foot up to 45 degrees on that front leg if this makes it more comfortable for you. Try to stay relaxed and hold for a full 5 minutes to get a really good stretch for those hips.

Shoulder Stretch

First shoulder stretch for the triceps and deltoid muscle groups.
The first shoulder exercise stretches the triceps and deltoid muscle groups.
Second shoulder that also stretches your chest and back.
The second shoulder stretch also stretches your chest and back.

Your shoulders are a key joint for badminton, controlled by many muscles. In order to develop better mobility we included two stretches here. The first stretch goes deep into the triceps region and also the deltoid muscle, which is important to move your arm in pretty much any direction. The second stretch also stretches those muscles but with a different sensation. It also frees up your spine and stretches your chest as a bonus.

Tips for shoulder stretch #1: Start with your left arm and use your fingers to crawl that hand as far to the right as it can go. Then do the same for your right arm, but go over the left arm. Rest your head on top of the arms and relax. Switch sides after 3-5 minutes.

Tips for shoulder stretch #2: This one is hard for a high percentage of badminton players. Since we do so many overhead motions, our shoulder joints adapt. This process is called “osseous adaptation”. So if you cannot touch your hands behind the back (I’m far from it!), you can use a strap, towel, or belt to bridge the gap. But it is important to get that connection with something so your hands can pull against each other.

Your body will try to fall and lean forward here. Try to stay upright to get the best stretch for your shoulder and back here. I usually only hold this pose for 2-3 minutes.

Back Stretch

Back stretch using a wall. This one is called the hangman pose.

Isolating the back can be hard without any tools. With this stretch, we target the shoulders as well as the upper back. Your lats (latissimus dorsi) get a good stretch in this pose.

Tips for this stretch: This one can be very intense, but also very satisfying. Start by lying on your belly so that your head touches the wall. Then take your arms a little bit more than shoulder-width apart and go as high as comfortable. Drop your head and try to breathe.

Spread your fingers wide and don’t hold onto something. If your hands start to slip – simply readjust a little bit. As I’ve said, this stretch is very intense and you might not be able to hold it for a long time in the beginning.

Stretching Tips for Badminton

Now that we shared our approach to stretching with some exercises it is time to give you some more general tips for stretching in general.

Establishing a Routine

Having a routine is very important. Playing badminton once a month won’t make you much better, and the same is true for stretching. After each training or match, make sure to give special attention to the muscle groups most important for this game: hamstrings, glutes, hips, and shoulders, as well as back muscles. We recommend stretching every day since it doesn’t take much time. Consistency is key.

Focusing on Quality

When stretching, the technique and form often don’t play such a big role. The important part is the stretch. Your training partner might be able to get deeper into stretch than you but that doesn’t matter. What matters is, that you do the stretch and that you feel the stretch in the right way. Progress will come naturally.

Good Yoga form
Good form is nice, but not required to get a nice and deep stretch.

Pay attention to your body. Sharp pain should be a warning sign to stop or loosen up the stretch. Also, don’t go so hard that you have to stop after 10 seconds. This will help both improve flexibility and reduce any possible injury risks related to doing stretches or suffering from chronic issues as well.

By taking into account all these things, you will slowly make progress each day and you will also be able to enjoy stretching a lot more.

Patience and Persistence

It is important to remember that achieving increased flexibility takes a lot of time. Doing your stretching session each day and incorporating it as a routine really helps. You will usually start to feel results after 30 days, and after 90 days you will see a big difference if you stay focused. These numbers are just estimates though. Everybody is different and adjusts at a different pace.

This is again a good reminder to say that you should not compare yourself to others when it comes to flexibility or stretching progress. Focus on your own progress and stay patient.

Conclusion

To achieve great agility on the badminton court, proper stretching of key body areas such as hips, shoulders, and legs is important. Regularly doing these badminton stretches will help you to perform at a higher level with increased flexibility. Just make sure that your exercises are consistent in quality while being patient for results.

Happy playing!

Frequently Asked Questions About Badminton Stretches

What stretches to do for badminton?

For badminton, stretches that target the hips, shoulders, and legs are the most beneficial. You should incorporate these stretches into your daily routine to get the best benefits.

Should I stretch before playing badminton?

You should not do static or passive stretches before playing badminton. Dynamic stretches are a good option to include in your warm-up before stepping on the court. Static stretches before exercise would decrease performance.

What are the key muscle groups to target for stretching?

Stretching for badminton should focus on key muscle groups like hamstrings, hip flexors, lats, and deltoid muscles.

How often should I stretch?

You should try to stretch every day. Just like everything else, you need consistency and patience to see results.


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