UPPER BODY STRENGTH
The jump smash is the most effective method for scoring point's in badminton. The ability to smash the shuttlecock at high speeds is dependent on skill, however it may also be enhanced with upper body strength and power training. For doubles players in particular strong forearm strength is required for jabbing and pushing. The in-season program will be predominantly designed to maintain upper body strength of the major muscle groups through compound lifts as time is usually limited to train many different exercises for the upper body. The common major exercises for the upper body implemented include bench press (incline, flat), rows (seated, bent over, lat pulldown) and wrist variations (extension, flexion, supination, pronation). Badminton specific exercises include pullovers in a complex with over head medicine ball throws to simulate smashing movements and standing overhead triceps extensions to simulate jabbing.
It must be noted that although this article describes specific resistance training close to or during competition periods, time is allocated for additional exercises that address individual athlete weaknesses or injury prone areas.
SPEED, AGILITY, AND QUICKNESS
We can find no published literature on movement training for badminton. The sport however does require the athlete to be very agile in all directions. We aim to target specific movement training toward the athlete's weaknesses. For badminton players these typically include:
- - A poor ability to jump vertically for a smash: This is resolved through a combination of ballistic, strength and plyometric training, depending on whether the athlete has a weakness in the stretch shortening cycle or leg strength. Typical exercises include jump squats, squats, power cleans, double leg hops/bounds and ankle hops.
- - A poor ability to move laterally: this can be resolved with plyometric and speed drills that target lateral movement. Exercises include lateral jumps/hops, bungee cord and weighted jacket resisted lateral multi shadows (specific on court lateral direction footwork patterns).
- - A poor ability to move backwards to the back court: this can be resolved with drills such as reverse single leg hops and bungee cord and weighted jacket resisted backward multi shadow drills.
From the above analysis it should be evident that there are many different factors which will impact strength and conditioning program design for badminton. Our challenge is always to put it all together for the athlete who is in season and has minimal time available for resistance training. Another major factor to ponder is whether the in season program will focus on maintenance or improvement and this will be dictated by the competition schedule. To address these issues we will now discuss the implementation of the badminton specific exercises into a pre-competition and competition program. Before this it must be noted that the following program is based on the elite athlete who has a solid strength training background to such that they are able to tolerate maximal strength loads and ballistic training. The final phase of the analysis phase is the assessment of the individual athlete to determine their relative strengths and weaknesses in power, speed and force development in various movements. This performance analysis is critical to prioritizing goals and establishing starting loads to be used in training. Rather than enter into a detailed discussion of performance diagnosis we refer the interested reader to Newton and Dugan (9).
The majority of elite badminton players are professional and focus on earning income and improving world rankings for higher seeding and a more favorable draw at International competition. Traditionalists may disagree with this approach but the reality that strength and conditioning specialists face is that this is a career profession and traditional linear periodization strategies will not be suitable for such athletes. Linear periodization looks to build hypertrophy, then maximum strength followed by power to peak at two to three major tournaments a year. Linear periodization does not work with elite athletes that compete in more than 8 tournaments a year. This is because the athletes feel somewhat “stiff and slow” in a hypertrophy training phase that focuses on high volume and low intensity; athletes feel “heavy” and “stiff” in a maximum strength training phase and only feel light and fast in a power development phase. Therefore physical condition and competition readiness is somewhat sacrificed during the hypertrophy and maximum strength phases. However linear loading and periodization is not completely abandoned, particularly if there is adequate training time without competition, and/or an athlete requires extra emphasis on a single physical parameter (eg., hypertrophy).
Table 1 provides an example of a weekly precompetition training microcycle. Tables 2 and 3 outline a resistance training program that follows a nonlinear loading pattern and addresses the need to be in a competition-ready state. The sample program can be used in the weeks leading up to a major competition.
Day 1 (refer to Table 2) of resistance training combines high load strength training with ballistic movements of the lower body for the purpose of training the force component of power. The Day 2 program (refer to Table 3) focuses on the time component of power by using lighter loads combined with specific and ballistic exercises.
The next step of the system for physical conditioning programming that we apply is Evaluation. We continually monitored the athletes to assess progression through the season to ensure the program continues to be effective. Frequent assessment will enable any necessary adjustments for the athlete's current physical levels. Simple time effective tests can be used so that the athletes' training is not disrupted. Some easy to administer tests that we implement include predicted 1RM strength tests (from training), isometric squats against an immovable bar with a force platform to measure maximum and rate of force development changes, vertical jump, squat jump and drop jump.
Effective resistance training programming requires a systematic process of analysis, implementation and evaluation. The analysis of badminton has determined that there is a variety of strength qualities required for badminton specific performance and a variety of loading strategies can be applied to train these qualities.
Similar programs to those listed have been successfully used with top elite level badminton players that have a good foundation of basic strength and power training. However as with any program a comprehensive individual analysis needs to be done to determine strengths weaknesses and what physical conditioning is required. Resistance training may be less of a priority for the athlete that is already physically strong and fast. Greater training efficiency may be derived from prioritizing other performance qualities such as technical, tactical or mental skills development. In such cases the strong and powerful athlete should not dismiss resistance training but rather vary the intensity and volume of the periodized plan to optimize or maintain physical training adaptations and reduce the risk of sports-related injuries.
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Keywords:© 2008 National Strength and Conditioning Association
power; agility; speed; athlete; periodiztion