By: Vincent Truong
If you are a badminton player, you may be familiar with the term “tennis elbow.” Tennis elbow is characterized by pain in the elbow joint from over usage of the arm muscles. You might also be familiar with ankle sprains, shin splints, and even knee pain and you may have experienced one or two of these painful injuries yourself while playing badminton.
To learn how you can prevent these types of sports-related injuries, you must first understand why these injuries are prevalent in the sport. First, badminton is classified as a “high-impact sport.” In sports medicine, a high-impact sport is characterized by frequent intensity and trauma placed upon tissues (such as your ankle, knee, hip, and shoulder joint). An example of a high-impact movement would be jumping up very high for a racket smash and then landing on your feet. Another example of a high-impact movement would be the repetitive motion of using your shoulder and elbow to swing a badminton racket to hit a shuttlecock. When these external forces are placed on joints at a faster rate than the body can repair itself, small “tears” are created on tissues like tendons, ligaments, and muscle. This type of wear on the tissues combined with prolonged play and muscle fatigue can greatly increase the likeliness of a sports-related injury. Proper physical training can be performed to reduce the likeliness of these injuries occurring.
Note: Before starting any type of physical training regime or if you have a sports-related injury, it is recommended that you first consult the matter with your health physician.
Train for Muscular Endurance:
Types of muscular endurance training include high repetition squats, lunges, push-ups, standing presses, (Example: 4 sets of 15 repetitions), and low-moderate intensity running (jogging), which can help increase cardiorespiratory endurance too! It is highly recommended that you perform these exercises with proper form and technique to prevent injury. By increasing muscular endurance, the muscles surrounding a particular joint can develop the ability to sustain longer bouts of muscular fatigue. This in turn will reduce the likeliness of a sports-related injury.
Train for Muscular Strength:
Types of muscular strength training include moderate to heavy squats, bench press, pull-ups, and presses (Example: 5 sets of 5-8 repetitions). It is highly recommended that you exercise these movements with proper form and technique to prevent injury. We recommend these exercises because they utilize compound muscle groups and multiple joints to perform each movement. Performing these types of exercises correctly will not only increase joint and muscular strength, but also can increase core stability and joint range of motion (mobility); this in turn will decrease the likeliness of injury.
- Other Exercises: Other activities you can perform to increase muscular and joint strength include specific exercises that target core muscle groups involved during a competitive game. For example, you can strengthen muscles like the radioulnar muscle (forearm muscles) by performing flexion and extension of the arms and wrist with applied resistance. Strengthening the muscles surrounding the elbow joint, which is particularly responsible for swinging a badminton racket, can help reduce the likeliness of developing “tennis elbow."