Your knees work tirelessly to carry you through every lunge, jump, and step you take on the badminton court. But as you might know, all this movement can leave them vulnerable to aches, pain, and damage.
In fact, one study looking at 322 badminton-related injuries found that the knees were the most commonly injured areas among players. And this means that strengthening your knees isn’t just important for your badminton performance — it’s also crucial for helping you avoid injury and maintaining your mobility.
So, what kind of badminton knee exercises can help you strengthen and protect these joints for years to come? Read on for four of the best movements to try, along with tips on how to get started.
Badminton Knee Exercises to Prevent Pain and Improve Performance
Here are four badminton knee exercises to try for agile, pain-free movement on the court.
1. Front-to-Back Leg Swings
Front-to-back leg swings are a dynamic stretch that can help you loosen and engage the hip flexors — a group of muscles that help keep your knees in proper alignment.
This exercise works perfectly as a warm-up, but you can do it whenever you want to stretch the hips.
To get started:
- Stand next to a sturdy wall or piece of furniture that you can use for balance.
- With upright posture, kick your leg out in front of you as high as you can.
- In one fluid movement, swing your leg back all the way behind you. Again, aim to kick it out as high as you can.
- Repeat for 10 to 15 reps on each leg.
2. Double-Leg Squats
According to the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, squats can be incredibly useful for preventing knee pain and injuries.
It’s important to note that incorrectly-done squats can be tough on the knee joints. So, be sure to start light, practice proper form, and be mindful of how your legs feel along the way.
Once you’re ready to get started, here are the steps to trying a simple bodyweight squat:
- Start with your feet about shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointed slightly outward.
- With your core straight, arms out in front of you, and chest upright, lower your body until your knees are bent at 90 degrees.
- Push off the ground through your heels to return to the standing position.
- Repeat for 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 25 reps.
Tip: To challenge your muscles even further, you can add weight in the form of a barbell, dumbbell, or kettlebell. Just be sure to start light and check that you’re using proper form throughout each movement.
3. Romanian Deadlifts with Dumbbells
Although your glutes and hamstrings sit at the back of your legs, they play an essential role in your knee stability and strength — and Romanian deadlifts (sometimes referred to as RDLs) can serve as an excellent way to strengthen these muscles.
Here’s how to try them:
- Grab two dumbbells, and stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Engage your core and draw your shoulder blades back toward each other.
- Hinge back in the hips, keeping a slight bend in your knees.
- Begin to lower the weights, keeping them close to your legs as you do so. Be sure to keep your core and shoulder blades tight during this step.
- In a slow, controlled motion, continue to lower the weights until you feel tension in the hamstrings.
- Use the strength from your glutes and hamstrings to push your body back into the standing position.
- Repeat for 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps.
4. Elevated Calf Raises
Along with your upper leg muscles, your calves also play a key role in keeping your knees stable and protected.
To strengthen these muscles, you can incorporate an exercise called elevated calf raises into your badminton knee training routine. Simply:
- Stand with the ball of your foot on an elevated surface (such as a step or stair), with your heels hanging off the edge.
- Use your calf strength to rise onto your toes, lifting your body upward.
- Slowly lower back to the starting position.
- Repeat for 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps.
The Takeaway on Badminton Knee Exercises
By incorporating the exercises above into your weekly training routine, you can keep your knees strong, stable, and protected. And this can translate to fewer aches and pains, better jumps, and faster movement in every badminton match.
On a final note, if you’re currently dealing with any knee injuries, it’s best to check with a doctor before getting started. Not every injury is created equal, and you may need a more personalized routine to get on track to recovery.
With your doctor’s help, you can choose the right exercises for strengthening your joints — and once you’re recovered, you’ll be able to jump back onto the badminton court feeling 100% again.
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