Your legs are vital to nearly everything you do in badminton — whether you’re sprinting across the court to return a shot, or leaping in the air for a jump smash. And if you want to stay agile and play your best, a solid badminton leg training routine is essential. But how can you get started, and which exercises are worth trying?
Below, discover six of the best badminton leg exercises to include in your routine, ranging from explosive plyometric exercises to simple weighted workouts.
Badminton Training for Legs: The Exercises
Before starting your leg training routine, it’s important to do some light mobility exercises to get your blood flowing and your body loosened up.
Once you’re warmed up, here are six badminton leg exercises to improve your strength, stamina, and agility:
1. Squat Jumps
The squat jump is a powerful plyometric exercise that builds power and stamina in the legs.
Unlike static squats, this exercise will require a burst of energy as you finish each rep. Not only is this good for your heart, but it also trains your muscles to become more explosive. With regular practice, you can expect higher jumps, quicker defense, and better overall movement.
Here’s how to get started:
- Stand with your legs a little wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Dip down into the squat position, bringing your hands out in front of your chest.
- Quickly jump up and push your arms out behind you in a “slicing” motion.
- Land with your knees slightly bent.
- Repeat this for 3 to 4 sets of 10 to 20 reps.
Looking for a more challenging variation? If you find that plain squat jumps are too easy, you can increase the intensity by trying 180-degree squat jumps or tuck jumps instead.
2. Side Lunge with Split-Step
When it comes to badminton footwork, your split-step and lunge are two fundamental moves to master.
Fortunately, the side lunge with a split-step can help you improve in both of these areas. This exercise can boost your legs’ speed and precision, especially during those tricky low return shots.
Here are the steps:
- Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Jump into your split-step (just like you would in a real badminton match.)
- Rotate your body to one side and quickly step down into a lunge.
- Using explosive power, push off the ground to return to your starting position.
- Hop into a split-step again, and repeat with the other side.
- Repeat for 3 to 4 sets of 10 to 20 reps.
3. Weighted Calf Raises
Weighted calf raises are excellent for strengthening your lower leg muscles and improving your vertical jump.
Here’s how to include them in your badminton training routine:
- Place a large weight plate or thin block (1 to 3 inches tall) on the ground.
- Grab two weights and hold one in each hand. These could be light dumbbells, kettlebells, or even milk jugs if you don’t have any equipment on hand.
- Rest your toes on the weight plate or block to elevate the front of your feet.
- Then, lift your heels and raise your body up onto your toes.
- Slowly lower your heels down to feel a burn in your calves.
- Repeat for three sets of 8 to 12 reps.
4. Agility Ladder Drills
When it comes to badminton training for legs, agility ladder drills are some of the best exercises you can do. All you’ll need is an agility ladder, which is a simple piece of equipment that lies flat on the ground. It has several “rungs” or squares, which makes it useful for various athletic drills.
Here’s a simple way to use one to boost your speed and stamina:
- Place your agility ladder flat on the ground. Then, stand to the right of it while facing forward.
- Side-step your left foot into the first square, quickly followed by your right.
- Continue down each square of the ladder until you reach the end.
- Repeat from left to right, keeping a rapid pace throughout the exercise.
- Repeat 8 to 10 times.
5. Barbell Squats
Nearly any athlete can benefit from barbell squats. But because they’re a compound movement that strengthens your knees, legs, and core, they’re especially beneficial for badminton players.
Here are the basic steps to doing this exercise:
Note: Barbell squat form can be tricky to master, so it may help to try this with a personal trainer or experienced friend when you’re just starting out.
- Using a squat rack, carefully load a barbell onto your upper back/trapezius muscles. (If you’re new to squats, try using the barbell without any additional weight. This way, you can focus solely on form.)
- Keep your feet pointed slightly outward, a bit more than shoulder-width apart.
- Brace your core, and lower your body into a basic squat. Your knees should be bent with your hips back.
- Pause when your thighs are almost parallel to the ground.
- Drive up through your feet to return to the starting position.
- Repeat for three sets of 5 to 10 reps.
6. Dumbbell Lunges
The lunge is a core part of badminton footwork, and you’ll use one nearly every time you need to defend your frontcourt. For this reason, a simple dumbbell lunge is one of the best exercises you can use for better all-around speed, stamina, and strength.
To get started:
- Stand straight up with a medium-weight dumbbell in each hand. Allow your arms to hang at your sides with your palms facing in towards your body.
- Breathe in, and take a large step forward with one leg.
- Lower your body down until your front knee is bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Drive up through the front foot to push your body back up, and step back into the original position.
- Repeat for three sets of 8 to 12 reps on each leg.
The Takeaway on Badminton Training for Legs
If you’ve been wanting to move faster, jump higher, and be an all-around better badminton player, the leg exercises above can help. To get started, try including a mix of them in one or two of your weekly training days.
Pair these exercises with proper nutrition and recovery, and you may be surprised at the gains you’ll see in your strength, speed, and overall performance. Good luck!
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