badminton warming up exercises

Badminton Warming Up Exercises – 20 Exercises to Get Ready for Play

In order to play badminton, it is very important to first get ready with good badminton warming up exercises. A proper warm-up will help you to:

  1. Prevent injury
  2. Stretch muscles & joints
  3. Increase heart rate & flexibility
  4. Improve your performance & readiness

In this post, we are going to explain what you should be looking for when deciding which exercises to add to your warm-up. We will explain the different stages that can be found in the warm-up, with examples of exercises that can be done for all the stages.

If you have googled this before, you may have seen some blogs that recommend doing some traditional (passive) stretching as part of your warm-up. According to research, that could actually be going against your own performance. Our recommendation is to, instead, do dynamic stretching as part of your badminton warming up exercises, which research has proved helps improve your performance and prevent injury.

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The “RAMP” guideline

I got this guideline from David Boycott-Brown, strength and conditioning coach at the English Institute of Sport (EIS) that works with the GB Badminton team. I found it very clear and easy to understand and as a result, I have used as an outline for our post.

The “RAMP” guideline divides the warm-up into four phases, each one increasing the intensity and specificity of the exercises and getting you closer to being ready to play. I like the acronym used because it also indicates this increasing of intensity with the word ramp, making it easier to remember.

Raise

The first step of the warm-up is to raise the body temperature and the heart rate. This starts to activate the body and will prevent strains on the muscles. This phase should include only low-intensity exercises that slowly increase in intensity as body temperature also increases.

This stage is common to all sports as we are still starting to warm up the body and thus the focus is not still in the specific muscles that each sport uses.

Exercises to be performed during the raise stage

Jogging

In this stage, the best exercise is to do a bit of jogging. If you are warming up in the court, you can simply jog around the court or courts for a few minutes.

Sikana English also recommends running around the court as the first step in a badminton warm-up. We have different recommendations for what to do after the running, though, so keep reading.

Activate

After you have warmed up your body, it is time to get a bit more specific and start to activate the muscles that you would be using while playing badminton. As badminton is a sport that uses both the upper and the lower body, you need to activate both parts in this stage. Remember that you are still activating your muscles so the exercises below should be done slowly and without too much range. Just keep it easy for now and slowly move up on the intensity, speed, and range.

Exercises to be performed during the activate stage

Walking lunge

The walking lunge is a good exercise to start activating your lower body. You can find a good tutorial on how to do walking lunges here below. Please keep in mind that the video below is thought as a proper drill and not warming up, so you should reduce the range and keep a low intensity while doing it.

Half-squat

The half-squat is a good activation exercise because it starts using the muscles but does not force them too much, which is what you are looking for at this stage. As the name suggests, the half-squat is similar to the squat (more on the squat later), but the range is smaller. Below you can find two slightly different approaches on how to perform the half-squat.

This video uses a chair as a point of reference. Not needed in our opinion but good to have if you can get one.
This video is more focused on pre-run warm-up, but can also be used for badminton. The equipment is a bit more difficult to get than a simple chair, but the video is of higher quality and that is why it has also been included.

Arm circle

As we said before, also the upper body needs to be activated. One good starting exercise is the arm circle. This will help warm up all your arm and especially your shoulders, which can get a lot of stress during a badminton match.

This drill is performed by extending your arm down and then simply rotating it parallel to the body. You can do the rotation forward and backward. You can do also one arm at a time or the two arms at the same time. A good exercise that also helps with coordination is to do it with both arms at the same time, but one rotating forward and the other one rotating backward. For an example of an arm circle warm-up exercise, see the video below.

Dynamic Arm Circles exercises for warming up your upper body

Wrist circles

The wrists are a very important part of our badminton game and, therefore, warming them up properly before training or before the match will avoid injuries and help improve your performance. As they are not usually warmed up in other types of exercises, they need to have their own space with this exercise.

To perform this exercise, bring your hands together in front of you, interlocking the fingers. Then, keeping all the rest of your arms still, start rotating the wrists in both directions. If you are not entirely sure how to do this, in the video below you can see a tutorial on how wrist circles need to be done.

Tutorial on how to do wrist circles. Although from a different background, the exercise is fully applicable to badminton

Mobilize

Once your body temperature and your heart rate have been raised and your main muscles have been activated, it is time to mobilize the key areas of your body. Here, you start with more specific dynamic flexibility work. The important item to remember is to start slow and steadily increase the motion range and, afterward, the speed.

In here, you will target even more the key muscles that are used while playing badminton. You can also repeat some of the exercises that were done in the activation stage but increasing the range and speed.

Exercises to be performed during the mobilize stage

Zig zag

A good exercise is to do a bit of zig zag around the court. During this exercise, you need to keep your center of gravity low and move in a similar fashion as you do when you are doing proper footwork on the court, while changing direction in a zig zag fashion.

The video below is a good quality video of a zig zag warm-up drill, even though it is for basketball. In any case, the principles are very similar, with the difference that, in badminton, you would do the zig zag both forward and backward, not only backward as shown in the video.

Even though the video is a warm-up for basketball, a similar approach can be used in badminton, with the difference that in badminton you can do the zig zag going forwards and backwards instead of only going backwards.

Squat

The squat is also a good warm-up exercise to perform in this mobilize phase, as you have already activated those muscles in the previous stage with the half-squat.

To perform a squat, your feet should be roughly in line with your hips and your toes should be facing slightly outward. You should then extend your arms in front, which will keep you balanced when doing the squat. The key to performing the squat correctly is that the weight of your body should be on your heels, not on your toes. To ensure this happens, when going down, make sure that your knees stay in line with your toes and never go beyond them. The extended arms will help keep the balance. For a visual guide on how to perform a squat, please see the video below.

Squats are a good exercise to start activating your lower body muscles

Side lunges

Side lunges are an important part of the warm-up as they target the body parts that are used in specific movements such as a side forehand footwork.

To perform a side lunge, you need to start in a standing position, with your feet grounded. Then you extend one of your legs to the side and bend your knee while going down. The other leg should stay in position. Once you have reached the bottom, you should use your extended leg with the knee bent to push you back to the standing position. Do then the same for the other leg and keep alternating.

For an example on how to perform a side lunge, please see the video below. Keep in mind that the aim of this exercise for you is for warm up, so the range you use should be adequate to your flexibility and the stage of the warm-up.

Side lunges help prepare the body for movements such as lateral footwork

High Knee

The high knee exercise will help mobilize your lower body. This exercise brings your intensity level a bit closer to the next phase.

To perform this exercise, you should start in a standing straight position. You should aim to bring your knees as high in the air as possible, alternating the movement. It is a bit as if you were running, but at the same time, you should be bringing your knees as high as you can. Your arms can follow the motion of the knees as it happens when you are running, or you can place them palms down and use them as a reference for the height that your knees should reach. For a guide on how to perform this exercise, please check the video below.

High knee is a very useful and common warm-up exercise

Butt-kick

Another exercise on this phase is the butt-kick. This exercise focuses on your quads and your knees. This is an excellent exercise because quads and knees can suffer a lot during a badminton match or training, especially with movements towards the net.

To perform this exercise correctly, your heels should be touching your butt in every movement. The way to perform it is to bring one of your legs back, flexing your knees totally so that the heel can touch the butt. You then bring the leg back to its normal position and to the same movement with the other leg. While speeding up, the movement becomes similar to running, but with your legs going all the way to the back. Your arms can move along with the movement as they would do when running, or you can place them on your butt. For a tutorial on how to perform this exercise, please check the video below.

Good tutorial on how to do the butt-kick exercise

Side jumps

Another good exercise to perform during this stage is the side jumps. In this exercise, you mobilize the muscles that would be used when moving laterally around the court and jumping to catch the shuttle. Especially useful for doubles matches, but also important for singles.

To perform this exercise, you should start in your waiting position and then jump with both feet together to one side. When landing, bounce back and jump to the other side. Keep doing this for about 20-30 seconds.

A different way to do this exercise is to combine it with side steps, which are the same as the zig zag exercise but without changing direction. In this variation, you would do a side step and then a side jump, reaching high as you do so. The next movement would be another sidestep, followed by another side jump. You would repeat the sequence until reaching the end of your warming up zone, be this the court or the sports hall arena. If you are doing your warm-up outdoors, repeat the movement for about three to four sequences and then return to the starting position doing the same exercise but leading with the other leg.

The side jumps can be done jumping from side to side while staying in the same position, or going in a straight line on the court and then coming back.

Carioca

The carioca exercise is a very important one that should always be one of your warming-up exercises because it will help warm up all the body parts that are engaged during proper footwork.

In this warming up exercise, you need to move laterally while switching the location of your feet. It feels a bit like a dance but in a linear fashion. For an example on how to perform this exercise, please check the video below.

Tutorial on how to perform the carioca drill exercise

Potentiate

In this final phase of the warm-up, your aim is to potentiate the body. After finishing this final phase, the body should have reached the same intensity that will be required for the first point of the match or the first training exercise.

In this phase, you will aim for high-intensity movements, including explosive jumps. Moreover, you will include the racket to start getting a feeling of the shuttle before starting to play.

Exercises to be performed during the potentiate stage

High knee jumps

High knee jumps are a good exercise to include in this stage of the warming up. The aim of this exercise is to jump with both feet at the same time while bringing your knees as high as possible. When landing, you have to bounce back and jump again. Repeat the sequence for about 20-30 seconds.

For a good tutorial on how to do a high knee jump, check the video below.

Good tutorial on how to perform a high knee jump

Shadow drill

One of the last warm-up exercises that you can do before starting a match is the shadow drill. If you are not sure what a shadow drill is, we have explained it in much more detailed in our badminton drills post. You should do that here at a high intensity as the focus at this moment is to potentiate the muscles so they can perform at their highest from the moment you start playing.

This shadow drill video has the right intensity that you should be looking for at the last stage of your warming up.

Serving

Once you are done with the shadow drill, it is time to get a shuttle and start with real shots. The first one to start with is the service. This helps also to get a feel on the shuttle conditions and to start getting your feeling with the racket. You can serve low, high, backhand and forehand.

Clear rally

After the service exercise, the next exercise that usually follows is a simple clear rally. In this exercise, both players will stay on the back of the court, shooting clears at each other.

Drop and lift rally

In this exercise, you start practicing some of the typical badminton shots while at the same time start moving around the court. The sequence will be as follows:

  • Player 1 serves a high serve.
  • Player 2 returns a drop shot.
  • Player 1 returns a net shot.
  • Player 2 returns a lift shot.
  • Player 1 returns a drop shot.
  • Player 2 returns a net shot.

After this, player 1 will return a lift shot, which will leave the drill in the same position as it was in the start with a high serve. Keep going for at least 30 seconds.

Smash and lift rally

In this exercise, you start practicing some of the typical badminton shots while at the same time start moving around the court. The sequence will be as follows:

  • Player 1 serves a high serve.
  • Player 2 returns a smash.
  • Player 1 returns a low defense.
  • Player 2 returns a lift shot.
  • Player 1 returns a smash.
  • Player 2 returns a low.

After this, player 1 will return a lift shot, which will leave the drill in the same position as it was in the start with a high serve. Keep going for at least 30 seconds.

Drive rally

In the drive rally, both players try to send the shuttle flat, fast and powerfully to the other player. When warming up to play doubles, this becomes a very important part of the warming up. It is not so critical in singles, even though it also helps wake up your reflexes.

Net rally

Usually the last exercise before starting a match, the net rally consists of the two players doing net shots. This will help with getting the final feel of the racket that is so important for this type of shot.

Final words

And with this final exercise, we have arrived at the end of the post. Do you miss any exercises that you always perform during your warm-up? Would you like more information on any of the above? Then let us know in the comments below!

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