The type of training used by badminton players is generally related to the standard of the player.
For younger players with less well-developed skill levels, most training is likely to be devoted to
playing games. With higher skill levels should come greater dedication to the game and
increased use of the many potential types of training that will help competitive performance.
Simply, Badminton can be initially categorized into on-court and off-court work. On court
work would mean training with badminton movements with a racket and usually (although
not always) with a shuttle. Off-court work is usually additional work that has the aim of
enhancing some particular aspect of fitness. After an initial section of warm up and warm down,
the purpose of this section is to outline types of training, while a later section will give examples
of how these techniques can be used to enhanced fitness.
Warm up & warm down
Any exercise is a considerable stress on the human body and the body should be given time to
adapt to exercise and also to recover from exercise. Warm-up and warm-down are similar in
principle and similar exercises can mostly be used for both purposes. Warm-up and warm-down
are easily ignored as they may not appear to have a direct bearing on the training session in hand
but both elements should be part of every training session and time should be allocated (at least
10 minutes each) to allow this to happen.
A warm-up has psychological and physiological goals. Firstly, it should involve dynamic
movements that help to increase body temperature. This is initially achieved by general activity
such as gentle jogging for around five minutes. Secondly, it should involve some stretching
which will help to prepare the muscles for the stresses ahead. After jogging, some stretching
should be performed. This should particularly concentrate on muscles that are to be used in the
activity. Stretching in a warm-up should involve some dynamic flexibility work– i.e., movements
through a complete range of motion. Finally, warm-up has psychological advantages as it should
allow the player to mentally prepare for subsequent training or competition.
Warm–down is the opposite of warm–up and is performed after completion of an exercise
session. The purpose of warm down is to maintain a slightly elevated metabolism which will
help to promote recovery from the exercise that has just taken place. Moderate intensity activity
is an excellent way to promote recovery of previously active muscle so a few minutes jogging is to
be recommended after completion of a session. Like warm-up, this should also be followed by
some stretching. Stretching after exercise is not as common a practice as it should be. This is a
very important way to further promote the recovery from exercise and to help reduce injury risk.
Examples of on-court fitness training types
Playing games will nearly always have some fitness benefit as well as the obvious technical
and tactical benefits. But it should be appreciated that sole use of games will not be
effective in promoting one specific area of fitness.
A fairly high proportion of training should be focused on games, especially in the weeks before a major event
‘Shadow play’ (i.e., Badminton without a shuttle!)
Because shadow play is not concerned with the outcome of a shot, shadow movement
routines are often used to work on footwork or fitness.
Example to enhance movement speed (suitable for all levels)
Players are required to move around the court for ten seconds at their maximum speed. This is then followed by
around 40-50 seconds recovery. This routine can be repeated for 10 – 20 minutes.
A feeder begins with many shuttles, ready to hit or throw (‘feed’) them to a player.
Shuttles are quickly directed to different positions around the court. Like shadow play,
multifeed routines can be used to stress many different aspects of fitness (and other
requirements for the game, generally)
Example to enhance speed / endurance (suitable for highly trained players)
Feeder feeds 30 shuttles to random positions around the court. Player must return each shuttle before moving
straight onto the next shuttle. A 30-second recovery is given before the next set of 30 shuttles is fed. Such a
routine would be extremely hard, if done correctly, and it is unlikely for such a routine to last more than 10 – 15
A variation on standard games. Conditioned games may be used to stress certain aspects
which need to be worked upon in training.
Example to enhance on-court endurance
Rally length could be artificially lengthened by making players hit 10 shots each before playing out the point in the
usual way. This could be an effective way of improving specific Badminton endurance and consistency of shot
This would be any drill with a specific aim using principles not covered already. Such
drills would be more specific than shadow play or multi-feed work but less specific than a
conditioned game mentioned above.
Example to enhance movement speed in singles player (advanced) 2 v 1.
One player plays rallies against two players on the other side of the net. The two players usually cover half a court
each playing ‘side by side’. The lone player will be forced to move more quickly in this condition. Such a session
with three players could involve rotation of players playing alone against the pair.
Examples of off-court types of fitness training
The purpose of weight training is usually to increase muscle strength. In order to achieve
successful strength gains, specific muscles must perform movements while working against a
resistance. Weight training is a skill and, like all skills, development of optimal strength for a
player may take a very long time (often a matter of years). Players should start with light
resistances so that they become skilled at the movements required (qualified instructors should be
used for this purpose). Once a movement is learned (this may take at least 8-10 sessions), the
resistance can be increased so that real strength development can commence.
Sufficient strength is vital for many aspects of successful Badminton play.
A strong player is likely to move more quickly and powerfully and is also likely to hit harder. Effective strength
training will lead to a player having greater control of movement. Strength training is also very
effective in overcoming imbalances in muscle strength. Badminton is an asymmetrical sport and
this can cause unequal muscle strength. Such imbalances are not uncommon and may lead to
imbalances in movement style and then go on to cause injury. Good muscle strength will also
help to protect joints and, thus reduce the risk of injuries. At international level, all elite players
perform strength training and the benefits are also likely to transfer to players of a lower level of
ability. One common concern about weight training is that it will cause excessive increase in
muscle mass (‘bulking up’). This is extremely unlikely to occur if a player is performing an
otherwise well-rounded Badminton training program.
Weight training should only be undertaken under the supervision of qualified instructors.
Players who are still growing should not normally undertake weight training.
The purpose of aerobic training is to develop the ability to transport oxygen and food energy
around the body (i.e., cardiovascular fitness). Aerobic activity is quite simply any exercise that
raises the heart rate significantly for fairly prolonged periods of time. Badminton itself is an
aerobic activity and using games as aerobic training is totally acceptable. However, aerobic
training should also be done away from the court. Any activity which uses large muscles (e.g.,
legs, arms) will help aerobic fitness provided that total exercise duration is above about 20
minutes. Suitable activities would include running, swimming cycling and many fitness classes.
Aerobic (or endurance) fitness is essential for Badminton. Aerobic exercise involves the heart &
lungs transporting oxygen and food energy to the working muscles. These help to promote
recovery from exercise as well as restoring muscle energy supplies for the next bout of activity.
A player with good aerobic fitness will be able to play very hard without getting as tired as a lessfit
opponent. Once a player is tired then mistakes will become more frequent and, as a
consequence, aerobic fitness is likely to be closely related to success in long games. Good
aerobic fitness is also likely to mean a player can do more training over prolonged periods of
time. In this way aerobic fitness, like strength, underlies all training activities. A common
concern about endurance training is that it will cause a player to become slow. This is because
continuous endurance training is usually performed at fairly low intensity (i.e., a speed that can be
continued for 30 minutes). A lot of continuous endurance training could certainly detract from
speed and agility but appropriate endurance training (detailed later) should involved a range of
activities and training intensities and should not result in decreased movement speed.
Speed & Agility Training
Speed and agility are quite closely linked to strength. Speed, in particular is usually improved
when strength and power are enhanced. Both speed and agility are vital to Badminton
performance. A successful player must move quickly when necessary but changes in direction
are equally important in the game due to the nature of the movements required in a rally. While
some people seem to be naturally fast and agile, these are both skills that can be acquired. It is
important to remember that speed and agility will not be improved if a player is training while
tired. Speed and agility must be trained when a player is relatively fresh, but after a good warm
This is essential for our sport and good flexibility is both a requirement for success in the sport
but is also likely to be related to a reduced risk of getting injured. Flexibility training involves
stretching a joint through its whole range of motion. This can be done using slow movements
where a stretch is held for a period of time up to 30 seconds. This kind of stretching (‘static’) is
performed at the limit of a muscle’s range of motion. Alternatively, flexibility can also be
performed using dynamic movements. Both of these types of flexibility training should be
incorporated into every player’s regular training schedule.
Core Stability Training
Core stability refers to strength of the postural muscles in the torso. These muscles help to
stabilize the spine, pelvis and shoulders. Although these areas may not appear to be directly
responsible for dynamic movements in badminton, strength here promotes effective movements
in connected areas (i.e., arms, lower body). A ‘strong core’ can be likened to the foundations of
a house. If the core strength is good then the quality and power of other movements in the
arms, trunk and legs will be increased. Core stability training will help to promote overall
balance and muscle control as well as reducing injury risk and muscle imbalances. The training
procedures for core stability usually involve slow, often static, muscle contractions which may
involve some use of additional equipment such as gym balls. Muscular contraction with an
emphasis on control is the key to successful core stability training.
Circuit training is a general term used that describes training where different exercises are
performed at high intensity for quite short periods, followed by quite short rest periods. Circuit
training is excellent for badminton fitness as it can be used to increase muscle strength,
endurance and aerobic fitness. Circuit training can be performed using weight training exercises
or by using one’s own body weight to create a resistance. Additionally, movement drills (sprints,
shadow play etc.) could be adapted to form a part or the whole of a circuit training session.
Typical work duration would be 30 seconds, with an intervening rest period of 30 seconds. With
a range of exercises (jumps, sprints, court drills, weights, sit-ups, press-ups) many different
activities can be performed one after the other to form a whole circuit training session which
could last around 20 minutes or more.