7 Best Exercises To Improve Your Badminton Game

Kodai Naraoka about to hit the shuttle
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Last Updated on 28/01/2024 by Kriss

Badminton is a complex game that requires technique, agility, quick reactions, and strength. You need to work on all of these things to become the best badminton player possible. Today, we will give you 7 of the best badminton exercises you should focus on to become better at the game.

Let’s dive right in!

Aerobic/Cardiovascular Training

Cardiovascular fitness and endurance are a key part of your badminton training. It helps you to keep up a high intensity in the third set, or get that crucial point in a long rally. With good cardiovascular fitness, you will be less tired, recover quicker after rallies, and make fewer mistakes.

Now you may ask yourself: What are the best exercises to train my endurance? We actually have a whole article on this topic, but here is the short version: The best cardio you can do is low impact and with a medium to low intensity. So anything that doesn’t exhaust you after 10 minutes, and where you could hold a conversation while being a little bit out of breath.

Sports like cycling and swimming are perfect examples. You can also do running, but running has a higher impact on your joints, and since badminton is already a high-impact sport you might have to be careful with the risks of an injury.

To build your aerobic base, we recommend spending at least 45 minutes on cardio per session and training at least once or twice a week. A good middle ground is about 150 minutes per week (source).

Strength Training

Badminton not only requires aerobic fitness but also a lot of strength. You use several muscles in your body all at once. Your legs, core, shoulder, and arm all get a good workout during badminton. Training these muscle groups will automatically translate to advantages on the badminton court.

Strength training is also great because you can do it at home without a coach.

Strengthen Your Legs

The legs are the largest muscle group in your body. When you are already a seasoned badminton player, it might be hard to tire your legs within the 15 repetitions range without weight – but it is possible.

We train legs to improve our footwork and speed on the court. With that comes more stamina and stability which ultimately leads to more points for you. Here is a quick and effective exercise you can do to build strength in the legs:

Box Step-Up: This leg exercise comes from none other than the Danish champion Viktor Axelsen. With the Box Step-Up, you build some explosive strength and very good stability in your legs. All you need is an elevated object like a box, stairs, or a chair. You step up the chair and then push your other leg up and pause for 2-3 seconds to work on your stability and balance. Watch Viktor do the Box Step-Up in this clip:

Some whole-body exercises like push-ups and pull-ups are also a great addition to your strength training plan. They build core strength, back and shoulders. Another great exercise for your core is the Russian Twist.

Agility Training

Agility is all about moving quickly and smoothly, especially when you quickly need to change direction on the court. It’s super important in badminton to be agile, and quick to react. Even if some people seem to be naturally good at this, don’t worry! With a bit of practice, anyone can get better at it.

The most common exercise to improve your agility is Shuttle Runs. You place shuttlecocks in each corner of the court and on the sides and you then have to quickly knock each shuttlecock over with your racket while returning to the middle of the court each time. This trains those quick changes in direction and also your footwork.

Illustration of the base position in badminton
Place shuttlecocks at the end of each arrow and knock them over. Watch your footwork technique though, speed isn’t everything!

Other exercises to boost your agility are various rope skipping or agility ladder exercises. Each of them has a ton of variations you can add to make things more interesting. Jump on one leg, try to make two revolutions of the rope with one jump, or lift your knees after each jump to add intensity.

Playing Games

Now that you have all the strength, agility, and endurance you need you will need to gain experience. Playing actual badminton games is the best way to do so. You can have the best technique, strength, or smash – if you lack the experience and strategic knowledge, you will lose the game.

Sign up for tournaments, play at your local club, and get the experience. You will face many different play styles, and different environments/conditions, and this will ultimately help you become a better player. It will also help you understand the game and more importantly read the game a lot better.

Reading the game is often an undervalued skill, but it often makes a big difference. Knowing what shots your opponent favors or what he plays in certain situations gives you an edge.

So, go out and play as many games as possible.

Footwork Exercises

Footwork describes the way you move on the court. Being quick while saving energy is an essential skill to have in badminton and one that you have to train a lot to master. Basically, you want to reach each corner of the court as quickly and efficiently as possible. With good footwork, it will be harder to put you under pressure and you will become a “wall” that is frustrating for the opponent to play against.

At the start of each movement is always the split step. The split step is super crucial since it pre-loads your legs and prepares your legs to push yourself quickly into any direction. After that, footwork consists of doing chasse-steps, lunges, and some jumps like the scissor kick or china jump.

The video from Badminton Insight describes it very well:

Stretching And Mobility

Mobility is a key aspect of badminton since it helps you reach difficult shots and also reduces injury risk. You need to work on the same muscle groups that you did for strength training. Your muscles contract all the time while playing badminton, and with time they get shorter.

This is where stretching comes into play. Try to do some static stretching as a cool-down after a badminton session, this will help you to maintain or even develop your mobility. Here are four basic stretches that you do to work your whole body:

Illustration of 4 badminton stretches
4 basic badminton stretches that help you train mobility.

Badminton Technique Training

Last but not least, you need to work on your technique. While just playing games will make you better -you can’t isolate certain strokes and do the required repetitions in order to improve your technique. Good technique will make a huge difference since you will be able to keep your opponents on their toes, have better accuracy, and add deception to your strokes.

It would help if you worked on all the basic shots like drop, smash, serve, clear, and drive. Doing this will build your foundation. After that, you can include real game scenarios, work on grip changes, or more advanced shots like the backhand clear.

Developing good technique takes a lot of time, but it’s definitely worth it.

Conclusion

There you have it – the best badminton exercises you should focus on to become the best badminton player possible. You can be sure that all pro player include these in their training – whether it’s aerobic training on the bike or stretching after the training.

All of these are important and putting it all together gives you a well-rounded profile as a badminton player.

If you have any questions or suggestions – feel free to let us know in the comments.

Happy playing!


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