High-intensity stepwise conditioning programme for improved exercise responses and agility performance of a badminton player with knee pain
Objective To examine the effect of a high-intensity stepwise conditioning programme combined with multiple recovery measures on physical fitness, agility, and knee pain symptoms of an injured player. Design A single case study. Setting University-based conditioning training laboratory. Participants One 26-year-old male world-class badminton player (height, 190.0 cm; weight, 79.3 kg; left dominant hand; playing experience, 16 years; former world champion) with patellar tendinosis and calcification of his left knee. High-conditioning stepwise conditioning programme The player received seven conditioning sessions over three weeks. During the programme, there was a gradual increase in training duration and load across sessions while cold therapy, manual stretches and massage were administered after each session to minimise inflammation. Main outcome measures The training outcome was evaluated with three different testing methods: standard step test, badminton-specific agility test, and tension-pain rating. Results The conditioning programme reduced knee pain symptoms and improved actual performance and cardiopulmonary fitness during the agility task. The player was able to return to sport and compete within a month. Conclusions A high-intensity stepwise conditioning programme improved the physical fitness while sufficient recovery measures minimised any possible undesirable effects and promoted faster return to elite level competition.