what is the best body type for a badminton player

What Is The Best Body Type For A Badminton Player?

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What is the best body type for a badminton player? It’s a question that was inadvertently answered by my dad once who told me I am the wrong build for a badminton player. “They are usually tall and skinny,” he said.

I have written many posts on badminton related fitness including strength, endurance, power, flexibility, and stamina. But how you train each element can have a big effect on your body composition. However, there are genetic limits. For example, I will probably never be a professional strong man no matter how hard I try. I just don’t have the genetic propensity to reach that level of strength and power.

But then this made me wonder. Was my dad right? Is the best body type for a badminton player really tall and lean? Can you deviate from this body type and still be a good player, even a professional? Well to understand this further, we need a basic overview of somatotypes.


You have probably heard of the three somatotypes. These are the three “body shapes” that people genetically fall into. Funnily enough, this was actually coined through a psychological rather than a physiological view in which each of the three types was said to possess certain physical and psychological characteristics based on their body shape. The psychological implications have since been debunked.

best body type for a badminton players - Endo, Meso or Endo
Image credit: Granito Diaz

Above we can see the three somatotypes. Many people make the mistake of thinking that they fall into one of these three categories. But this is not the case. Rarely will people be a pure somatotype. Usually, they are a mix of two or even all three.


Ectomorphs tend to be very lean/skinny with a fast metabolism. They are not necessarily tall as implied by the above, but all have a more difficult time gaining weight and muscle than the other body types. They have a higher number of slow-twitch fibres which gives them a genetic advantage for endurance activities or sports. An example of an ectomorph on the badminton circuit would be Tokyo Gold Medalist Viktor Axelsen and PV Sindu.


Generally have an athletic build. They have more natural muscle mass and bone density than an ectomorph and can put on muscle more easily. They can also put on weight more easily, and have less trouble burning it off! An example of a mesomorph in badminton might be Korean player Ko Sung Hyun.


Have the slowest metabolism and have a propensity to store more fat than the other body types. However, they can also gain muscle relatively quickly and tend to be naturally strong due to their superior bone density and muscular strength. Marcus Kido or Hoon Thien How are examples of players with endomorphic tendencies.

Just because you’re an endomorph, doesn’t immediately mean you’re fat. It just means you have a propensity to store more fat than the other body types and are more susceptible to become obese. This needs to be considered when it comes to your nutrition. Likewise, if you’re an ectomorph, it doesn’t mean you’re always skinny. You can get fat, maybe not as fat as an endomorph. But it will certainly be visible.

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Measuring Somato Type

I won’t bore you with the actual details of how to perform the measurement. If you’re really interested you can read this article which explains the process. To summarise, when your somatotype is measured, you are given a number 1-7 for each somatotype (although it can be higher). The higher the number the more of that particular somatotype you are. You cannot score highly in all three categories. Your final somatotype score is given in a three figured form such as 1-5-2. The first number is your endomorphy score, the second your mesomorphy and lastly your ectomorph score.

Remember, there is no one body type that is better than the others, but there are genetic advantages and disadvantages to each, especially when considering a specific sport or activity.

Despite what you might think, you cannot change your somatotype. You can change your body composition such as an ectomorph putting on a lot of weight or gaining more muscle. But you cannot change your underlying genetics which determines your somatotype.

Body Types In Badminton

At the top level of any sport is where you’re likely to see a dominant body shape. This is because these athletes are genetically gifted with a body type that benefits their particular sport. In strongman competitions, for example, we see pretty much every competitor is likely to be an endomorph/mesomorph.

In badminton, we know that the sport is highly demanding physically requiring a broad level of fitness. So looking at the players on tour with the knowledge of the sport, I would say most players probably fall within a mix of ectomorph/mesomorph. The badminton players we see tend to be very lean but not particularly muscular so they don’t always look very athletic. Therefore likely to be a dominant ectomorph but with a mid-range score in mesomorph and a low score in endomorph.

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Studies have confirmed a similar conclusion, however, there are limitations with such studies such as sample size. One study by Yadav and Urs compared the somatotypes of badminton players and tennis players. In this study, badminton players were considered to have more ectomorphic bodies than table tennis players.

Another study summarised several findings, which shows that badminton players tend to have a mixed somatotype which tended towards the centre of the Heath-Carter Somatotype chart. This is the most commonly used method today to measure somatotypes These studies were based on a number of nationalities and summarized in the chart below.

Best body type for a badminton player
The best body type for a badminton player seems like an all-rounder!

Most badminton players are also of average height or taller. Being tall certainly has its advantages but there are also disadvantages that come with that. I covered this in my post “Does Height Matter In Badminton?.”

Why An Ectomorph & Mesomorph Mix Is The Best Body Type For A Badminton Player

People who tend towards ectomorphs generally have a smaller frame which makes them lighter. Being as light as possible is an advantage in badminton because you’re able to move around the court faster. However, having an element of mesomorph means that you can develop muscular strength and power more easily than a full ectomorph.

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We do not typically see very muscular badminton players. If being muscular was beneficial to badminton, all the professionals would be jacked! But the truth is it’s simply not advantageous. Even mesomorph or endomorph dominant badminton players are not particularly muscular. This is because they train in a way that does not prioritise hypertrophy. Muscle development in badminton is about power, strength and efficiency but not size.

For badminton players:

  • It’s better to be as light as possible, which means no excess weight, including fat and excess muscle.
  • It’s more important to be physically strong and powerful in the lower body and core. Being as strong as possible while also being light means your strength to weight ratio is greater. Being powerful means you can use that strength efficiently to move faster, jump higher and recover quicker.

Think about it this way:

Acceleration = Force/mass

Therefore, the heavier you are, the more force is required to move you. In other words, all else being equal, it would take twice the amount of strength to accelerate at the same speed if you doubled your weight. So imagine being very light but having extremely strong legs. You’ll be able to shoot around the court like the pros!

Therefore having a mix of ectomorphic and mesomorphic tendencies seems to be the best and the majority of players we see on tour probably have this body type. Now does this mean you can’t be successful if you’re not this particular body type? Absolutely not. As mentioned earlier Markis Kido looked to be an endo/mesomorph and was Olympic and World Champion. Just because you’re born with a certain body type, it doesn’t mean you can’t overcome it to achieve what you want to do.

Training with Your Body Type

Ok, so now you’re probably wondering how being a certain somatotype will affect your training. Now professionals have their own nutritionists, PT’s, therapists and everything in between. They are provided with a training schedule and probably a nutrition plan. And you know what,….they will all train pretty much the same way! Why? Because that’s the best way to train for badminton!

It does not matter what your somatotype is. You might be an ectomorph, you still need to lift heavy weight to get stronger. If you want to improve your flexibility you still need to stretch. And if you want to improve your aerobic or anaerobic fitness, you still have to train specific ways to achieve it. In short, there’s nothing different somatotypes should be doing differently to achieve the same goal.

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Where somatotype really matters is with how you’re fueling your body. As we mentioned before, an endomorph might want to carefully consider their food choice due to their propensity to store fat. An ectomorph might want to consume more calories to put on some more muscle. A mesomorph luckily sits in the middle. But ultimately the best advice is to eat healthy unprocessed foods which are high in protein, carbohydrates and fibres.

Somatotypes should not be an excuse. The best thing way to be as fit as you can be for badminton is to train specifically for badminton. The best body type for a badminton player does exist, but it doesn’t mean anything if they do not put in the work and it certainly doesn’t mean they will be a better player than another somatotype unless they’re at the extreme end of the spectrum. It just means they have a natural propensity towards the sport. Training, consistency, hard work, dedication and a dash of talent are ultimately the things that separate players.

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