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08-01-2006, 01:24 PM #1
Supplemental Lower Arm Training - advanced methods
We all know that having a good forearm-hand strength will help with badminton. Powerful hands will allow you to change the directly of the shuttle more suddenly (less swing time), have a greater variety of shots when in poor position, and generally improve stroke efficiency with power shots.
Generally there are two types of exercises commonly used:
A. Traditional forearm/grip training: Wrist curls, wrist hyperextension, levered pronation, supination, and grip strength. Generally these exercises are designed for developing maximum strength and strength endurance in the lower arms. That's extremely important for strength sports like olympic lifting, where you need to be able to hold on to the heavy weight if you want to clean and jerk it, for climbing where you don't want your hands to give out and for wrestling when you need to grab onto something.
Carry-over to badminton would occur mostly for those that are weak. Generally inactive people will tend to have lower levels of work capacity, maximum strength and strength endurance in the forearms. Suppose just holding on to the racquet is a challenge for someone - that person needs more grip strength before moving on to more advanced forearm training.
Generally, these exercises are the best for developing the muscles and tendons in the forearm due to the high amount of time under tension in these exercises. However, that very reason is why these exercises are limited in terms of developing power - you learn to generate tension in your arms but over a long period of time, rather than very quickly in order to accelerate to the load. As a result, after a strength training session, even without direct forearm work, my hands will feel much less 'snappy' when I play.
B. Heavy racquet training : this involves ballistically swinging a heavy racquet from side to side. This develops your rate-of-force production, as well as grooving in some actual movement patterns that are used in badminton. This is extremely important for those that are having trouble generating racquet speed for their power strokes.
There are a number of variations that can be done. Increasing the mass of the racquet by adding tape to the frame will increase the amount of inertia that must be overcome to start movement -> this will help develop starting strength. However, once the racquet head gets up to speed the force required diminishes greatly. This could still be good for grooving a fast swinging action, but the effects on your rate of force production would be less.
A second modification would be to cover the racquet head. Then, there would be resistance that would vary with the speed at which you swing- increasing the force required to swing the racquet. Additionally, there would be feedback in the form of feeling the wind resistance to tell you the orientation of the racquet head. However, the wind resistance can affect the path of the stroke, such as at the beginning where the forearm is supinated -> the racquet will travel quickly then, but have a changing resistance due to the change in orientation of the racquet head as you pronate. The result could be altered motor patterns, which won't help you hit any better.
One weakness of this training method is that it doesn't train the explosive 'snap' that occurs at contact. The result is an increasing use of longer strokes -> not ideal when there is little time to prepare the stroke. Also, fully stroking through the contact zone means that rapid deceleration does not occur until much later in the follow through. Because no energy was transfer, the arm/wrist may be moving more quickly than usual, and coupled with the heavier racquet, injury may occur if loading is too large or incorrect movements are used.
Based on this, I've been experimenting with a third type of forearm/hand training for badminton. It is based on some of the training concepts described at the inno-sport.net website.
The quality I would like to develop is reactivity in the hands. Reactivity is described as being able to quickly contract a muscle during impact so that energy transfer is elastic. The result of reactivity is more power- particular in situations where the time to generate speed is very limited.
The method I'm suggesting would be to use oscillatory isometrics (OI) to develop reactivity at the joint angles where contact occurs. OIs is a training method where you start off in a static position, then relax allowing the racquet to accelerate backwards, then contract the muscles isometrically so that the racquet springs back into its initial position with minimal effort. The total range of movement should be about 30 degrees. I like to use resistance bands to accelerate the racquet- since the movements tends to be more horizontal than vertical.
Essentially, the Class A exercises are analogous to performing squats, Class B exercises to olympic lifts and this third kind of exercise to plyometric depth jumps.
08-01-2006, 01:34 PM #2
Great Work SF!
I have tried method A and B extensively. Method C should be interesting. I will check out inno-sport.net Many thanks!
08-01-2006, 02:41 PM #3
this is me, but with my squash racket I do short finger-movements.
like : 3x backhand netkill, 3x forehand netkill, 3x backhand flick/lift, 3x forehand flick/lift
Is that considered B or C?
I really can't see the effect of swinging a heavy racket long...It'd bust my knees, and my movements will be slower..
08-01-2006, 03:13 PM #4
Originally Posted by jerby
What an individual should work on depends on what strength quality they're weak in. To begin, the basic strength work provides the base which allows for the more advanced exercises to be done without injury. Then, if basic technique is lacking, the B exercises can be done - I find that with a slightly heavier racquet, the racquet will move more smoothly when you swing it.
The B and C exercises really complement each other though. The B exercises train the start of the stroke, while the C exercises train the impact and follow-through. The forces at impact are dependent on string tension, racquet stiffness and impact velocity, which is dependent on your acceleration before impact. It seems that it is more common for players to be deficient in reactivity at the hands, unless they do practice hitting a lot of drives.
You can think of it this way, the B exercises develop the power for your shots, but the C exercises develop your efficiency at high power. If your efficiency is low (you lose energy at the wrist for each stroke), then improving efficiency there will yield much greater benefits than developing more raw power.
08-01-2006, 10:18 PM #5
"you start off in a static position, then relax allowing the racquet to accelerate backwards, then contract the muscles isometrically so that the racquet springs back into its initial position with minimal effort. The total range of movement should be about 30 degrees."
Please advise if I get this idea right:
I hold the racket vertically (90degree) in a neutral grip, relax and let it "fall" back -30 degrees (the racket is now 60degree), and then quickly contract muscle to move the racket back to the original vertical position (90degree).
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