Ensure that your badminton game is always good(minton) with Rikhi Anandsongkit and his team.
Badminton is a popular sport played by people of all ages, and its appeal lies in its variable intensity. Some people enjoy gentle rallies while others ratchet up the intensity with fast-paced serve-and-return games, which puts a lot of stress on the body. If you want to play badminton while minimising your injury risk, especially if you are playing at a higher intensity, you need to ensure your muscles and joints are prepared for the intense changes in direction and speed during a game.
Your entire body is involved in a badminton game, but if we look at which parts are stressed the most, we find that your ankles, knees, hips, back, and shoulders are ahead of the rest. Badminton players record the most overhead strokes out of any of the other racket sports, which is why the shoulders and back are under constant repetitive stress. Changing direction on the court and stopping hard also leads to a huge impact on your legs, so you need to prepare your body before you step onto the court.
Before we get to stretching, you need to get your heart rate up and your blood pumping to maximise your warm-up routine, and enter the game ready to move fast. Some light jogging for 5-10 minutes or jumping jacks in place are a good way to get you started.
Forward Lunge Stretch
With your body and feet facing forward, place one foot back but ensure that it stays flat on the floor. While keeping both feet flat on the floor, shift your weight to your forward foot, while remaining upright. You should feel a stretch on your hip flexor (the front part where your hip and leg meet) on your back leg. Hold this stretch for 10-20 seconds, then repeat it for your other leg.
Posterior Shoulder Stretch
Hold one arm horizontally across the front of your body. Use your other arm to grab your stretched arm behind the elbow and gently pull it towards your chest. You don’t need to use a lot of force while pulling your outstretched arm as you are just trying to stretch the shoulder muscles located in your back. Hold this stretch for 10-20 seconds, before switching arms.
Hold out one arm with your palms facing down. With the other hand, hold the fingers of your outstretched palm and very slowly and gently pull them back towards your body. Do not pull too hard or force them beyond their range of motion as you just want to feel a light stretch around your wrist and get it engaged for all manner of racquet movements. Hold this stretch for 10-20 seconds, and then switch hands.
Rikhi Anandsongkit is the owner of Form Physio and Rehab, a physiotherapy clinic that helps adults in Bangkok get back to doing the things they love without painkillers, injections, and surgeries.