Badminton is a sport like no other – it is very demanding on our bodies! For this reason, it is extremely important to do a good badminton specific warm-up before we cross those white lines and start playing badminton!
A badminton-specific warm-up should have 3 main sections; Mobility, Movement Preparation and Explosive Movement Preparation. The exercises in each of these sections help to prepare your body for the movements you do on a badminton court.
Firstly we need to have an understanding of the science behind a warm up.
Woods et al. (2007) state that a warm up has 2 major functions:
A good warm up should:
A sports warm up should include, however is not limited to the following exercises:
In essence, a good warm up like we’re about to go through needs to activate our muscles and get blood pumping around your body. This is going to enable you to move better when you cross those white lines and also reduce the chance of injuring yourself. Injuring yourself may mean having to stay off the badminton court in order to recover and we DON’T want that!!
So we’re now going to show you our badminton specific warm-up, which is based around these key principles of a warm up! This warm up has 3 main sections, similar to those outlined above. These are:
There are 5 exercises in this section and we’d recommend doing each exercise once with 10 repetitions.
1. Knee to wall – You simply push your knee forward to as far as it comfortably goes over your foot. This exercise is for mobilising our calves and achilles, ready for the rest of the warm up and for jumping around the court.
2. Adductor activation – To do this you should lie on your back, and alternately bring one leg across your body, back down to your other leg, and then out to the other side.
3. Glute activation – Lie on your side and lift one leg off the floor in line with your body and then back down and repeat. Make sure you squeeze your glutes when lifting your leg!
Our glutes are so important in badminton, powering all of our movements around the court.
4. Hip mobility – To do this exercise, sit down and roll through your hips from one side to another whilst remaining in contact with the ground with your feet. To make this exercise harder, take your hands off the floor.
5. Thread the needle – We have gone through this in our stretching video on YouTube here: 6 Stretches ALL Badminton Players MUST DO!
On your hands and knees you should thread one arm underneath your body and then bring it out and rotate your arm finishing pointing towards the sky. A great exercise for warming up your shoulders and encouraging rotation through the thoracic spine.
Progressing from the mobility work, the second part of the warm-up is movement preparation. There are 4 main exercises for this and we’d recommend doing each exercise twice with 6-8 repetitions:
1. Arabesque – Here you stand on one leg, lean forward and slowly lift the leg that is in the air further back until you can go no more. From this position you come to a vertical stance, keeping your leg off the ground and then drive your knee up.
Try to really feel your hips driving your leg through into this position and ideally you will have your quad parallel to the floor with your knee joint at a right angle! This is great for your balance and further activating your glutes and hip.
2. Forward lunge with rotation – To begin you simply lunge forward keeping your back leg off the ground. You then place either hand on the ground next to your leading leg. With the other arm you lift this towards the sky and rotate towards this side. You then bring this arm down and repeat the movement with your opposite hand on the floor.
The forward lunge with rotation starts preparing us for the many lunges we will be doing on-court, whilst also further activating the thoracic spine for rotations in our overhead shots.
3. Clockwork pattern lunges – We simply lunge in different directions with both our racket and non-racket leg as shown in the pictures below. This exercise is key to prepare for different angles in which we lunge on a badminton court!
4. Press-up and rotation – The initial movement to this is a basic press up. Then after completing this you should remain in a high plank with your arms locked and lift one arm off the floor and rotate towards this side. Your whole weight is therefore transferred onto your standing arm as seen below. This exercise helps to further activate our shoulders as we are putting some load through them.
The final part of the warm-up progresses onto explosive movements. You should do these exercises 3 times round – the first round at around 70%, then 80-90%, then at 100% for the 3rd and final round. This will ensure you are ready to be as fast as you can round the court!
We’re suggesting you do 6 repetitions of these. However if you think that this may fatigue you too much, reduce this number. A warm up may hinder your performance if you overexert yourself during it!
1. Calf jumps – These are vertical jumps with straight legs whereby you do not touch the floor with your heels, you remain on your toes.
Using the spring in your calves you are aiming for maximum height and minimum contact time on the ground. This is to prepare us for jumping round the court quickly, with as much elasticity as possible.
2. Vertical jumps – Here you should bend your legs and jump vertically into the air. We remind you to only jump to 70% of your maximum effort in the first time round! Vertical jumps load our main muscle groups as well as getting blood pumping around the body.
3. Split squat jumps – Here we are jumping in and out of lunges which is something we frequently do. Doing this movement with high speed and explosivity will really help prepare you to be fast on court. Make sure you use your core to help stabilise yourself during this movement.
4. Sprint starts – This trains our off the mark explosivity, which is helpful for all movements in badminton. This is the only exercise that requires a larger space. You should start with your feet shoulder width apart and legs slightly bent. When you choose to go you should perform a small split step and power into a sprint. You can also ask someone to tell you when to go to also train your reaction speed!
You can choose the distance you wish to sprint for, this should be between 1 and 3 court widths. The focus should however remain on the initial movement out of the blocks! It is important to try and be as quick as you can in this initial push off. This really engages those fast twitch fibres!
A fun game you can have with a group of players is to get them to line up side-by-side ready for a sprint start. You then tell the players that they cannot put one leg behind the line they are on when pushing off from this position. We guarantee most will fail!
As well as being fun this also improves the movement efficiency for the player and will help them on court. For example when moving into the front court if one of their legs moves backwards in the initial split step, then they are going to arrive at the shuttle later than if they powered forwards straight away!
That is our 10 minute badminton specific warm-up which can be done in a small space with no equipment! We have recently made an updated version of this on our YouTube channel if you would like to see all of the exercises performed in one video. Here is the link – https://youtu.be/MTX-CAy0WRY
There are still some more elements of a warm up that we would do.
We would usually do some quick reaction training with a tennis ball. We would then go through some more dynamic stretches that we feel help our body even more.
These may be different for different individuals. I (Greg) personally like doing some leg swings as a great hamstring stretch. I also do lots of shoulder activation exercises.
If you have a certain area of your body that you are weak in or have had problems with in the past then we suggest that you place extra focus on this area. Every player is different and will benefit from slightly different, tailored exercises for either body!
Finally, we would make sure we have a very good on-court warm-up. This is the skill rehearsal, which forms the final part of the good sports warm-up that we outlined at the start. The length of this and the exact routines to go through may depend on the court space you have access to and also may be determined by how much you have been playing that day!
Here’s a recently YouTube video showing a recommended on-court warm-up – https://youtu.be/MbmdQh4OPl8
We hope you’ve enjoyed this article on our recommended warm up for badminton players.