My Favorite and Least Favorite Conditioning Exercises

We all have training and conditioning exercises that we love and despise – some more than others. At the end of the day, if we want to improve, we still have to do them all! Below is my favorite and least favorite conditioning exercise that I do regularly.

Favorite – Shuttle Run Footwork

Shuttle Run Footwork is an exercise that is done purely to increase your speed, endurance, and strength in your legs while repeatedly doing badminton footwork involving lunges. Most badminton players (if you are one, I’m sure you can agree!) dread doing this exercise. It’s exhausting and keeps you sore for a long, long time.

Personally, I feel like this drill gives me the most benefit. Because of my game style, I need to be ready for many long rallies involving a lot of defense. The shuttle run drill helps me work on the lunging motion when defending smashes and drops, and helps me do that for extended periods of times – perfect for 3 sets of 21 points in a badminton match! All badminton players know that this is a good exercise, however, so this isn’t reason enough for this to be my favorite conditioning exercise.

The second reason is that I love a good burn in my legs. On the days where I really have given it my all to the point where I can barely stand or move anymore are the days where I feel the most accomplished and happy. Shuttle Run Footwork gives me just that! I am usually so tired after these sessions that I limp around wherever I need to go. At the same time, I know that this burn is only going to make me stronger for the next session – that is what makes me happy.

Finally, I was always very fast at it. It felt good beating out the older kids in terms of speed when doing this exercise, so I loved it. I am competitive by nature, so even winning at small things like this felt really good and motivating for me to do better and better each week. You can call me crazy (all you badminton players), but I am sure there are a few of you out there who really like it as well!

Least Favorite – Jump Rope (Double Unders)

Jump Rope, particularly double under jump rope, is by far my most dreaded conditioning exercise. Again, jump rope has amazing benefits for all athletes, particularly badminton players, but this time it doesn’t entice me at all. When I was younger, the day I finished jump rope was the day I already began feeling nervous for the next session (which was always one week later). Finishing the sets gave me little to no satisfaction, as I knew I would have to do it again the next week. Jump Rope, to me, is just terrifying. Here is why.

First of all, when we do jump rope, we generally do it based on time with no mistakes. For example, in one day we could do 10 sets of 30 seconds, 10 sets of 1 minute, and 10 sets of 1 minute 30 seconds all without mistake. Making a mistake means that that set does not count, and making over X total mistakes means that none of our sets counted and we had to do punishment. This was a lot of pressure on a single conditioning exercise. It is even harder to keep yourself going with no mistakes especially when each set got harder and harder when we were tired.

Second, it burns everywhere. My calves, quads, glutes, triceps, shoulders, forearms, abs, and even my brain hurt. Everything hurts! Jump rope is so killer at making your whole body sore (that’s why it is so good for you) and I dreaded having to have this feeling every week. My brain hurt from counting the jumps I made before the set was over. It is horrible!

Lastly, time feels so slow. All I can feel during the whole set is my body burning and my mind counting numbers one at a time. This always feels like an eternity when doing jump rope, and this mental strain is what makes it the hardest. I have never been able to find a way to tune out the time and just focus on breathing, or something else, during the sets.

Summary

Shuttle Run has always been super fun for me, but jump rope has always been my greatest enemy. I am curious to know what your most and least favorite conditioning exercises are. Drop me a comment below or feel free to reach out to me on Instagram – I’d love to hear more!

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