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  • A Commonwealth, European

  • and Olympic medalist, Marcus Ellis

  • is one of the best badminton players on the planet.

  • Let's go. Push, push, push.

  • With the help of fellow Olympian, Lolo Jones,

  • we're pushing the Briton through

  • a series of grueling tests

  • to find out why he's so good at badminton.

  • Hi, I'm Lolo Jones

  • and welcome to Anatomy of a Badminton Player.

  • Joining me at the University of Westminster in London

  • is British star, Marcus Ellis. Are you ready for this?

  • -Yep, let's do it. -All right.

  • Badminton is one of the most

  • demanding sports in the Olympics.

  • Not only does it require immense skill,

  • but also a mixture of quick,

  • explosive movements and sustained efforts of endurance.

  • Marcus demonstrated his incredible qualities

  • at the Olympic Games Rio 2016.

  • He won bronze in the men's doubles

  • alongside Chris Langridge.

  • Marcus has kept his body in peak condition since standing

  • on the podium in Brazil, clinching one European

  • and three Commonwealth medals.

  • First up, we're going to look at

  • Marcus' body composition with the Bod Pod test.

  • Seal you up.

  • So a Bod Pod is a machine

  • that measures someone's body composition.

  • It measures the volume of their body and also

  • how heavy they are and from their mass and their volume

  • we can extrapolate a lot of information,

  • including today, body fat.

  • And now we'll shoot him to the moon.

  • Marcus gave us a number of about four percent.

  • So to put that in context, a score of four percent

  • is comparable to elite ultra-endurance athletes.

  • Okay, let's get you out of there.

  • Badminton! Who knew that they would be the...

  • slimmest, most shredded athletes?

  • He almost broke the machine he was so lean.

  • Marcus' fat percentage puts him

  • alongside the world's best endurance athletes.

  • Badminton players have to carry their body weight for long

  • periods around the court and lift it in the air for smashes,

  • so it's understandable that he's lean.

  • Now we are going to find out about Marcus' anaerobic power.

  • Okay Marcus, so now we're going to do

  • something called a Wingate cycle test.

  • Wingate's are famous for being really brutal tests,

  • during which we are going to make you pedal for 30 seconds

  • as hard as you physically can

  • and then a bit more. And this is going to measure

  • what we call your anaerobic power

  • or your ability to produce a mass

  • amount of force and then sustain that

  • for about 30 seconds.

  • Marcus exercises anaerobically when making high

  • intensity movements like smashes and lunges.

  • His heart cannot pump oxygen quickly enough around his body

  • to fuel these types of efforts,

  • so he uses glycogen stored in the muscles instead.

  • Okay, building speed up.

  • Building, building, building, building, building.

  • Fast as you can. Three, two, one. Drop.

  • -C'mon on, buddy! C'mon on! -C'mon let's go, you got this.

  • -Good. Good. That's it. -Way to work, Let's go.

  • Push, push, push. Come on.

  • I knew even though I could probably put out quite

  • a strong output that I would tailor off quite quickly.

  • -Work, work, work, work, work, -Almost there.

  • -work, work, work, work... -Almost, almost, almost...

  • -Almost. Good. -Work, work, work.

  • Nice, slow it down, slow it down.

  • Good job.

  • It was kind of funny to see him fade out fast because

  • I know exactly how that feels as a sprinter.

  • You're doing almost 13.5 watts per kilo

  • during this test which is a really phenomenal score,

  • and at the end there you were at almost half that number,

  • so you'd dropped off to more like seven

  • watts per kilo, which is a massive drop.

  • And that kind of represents your sport

  • I think, because you have a lot of really

  • high powerful movements, but then you stop and reset

  • and breathe and you go again.

  • So it's a real intermittent, on off, on off sport.

  • Within two seconds, Marcus was able to reach a peak power

  • comparable to elite sprinters.

  • But badminton features short, explosive movements

  • which is why he faded down to half his maximum wattage

  • by the end.

  • Marcus, you get some air while going for those

  • smashes, so this next test will be perfect for you.

  • I hope so. Let's give it a go.

  • Alright.

  • So a countermovement jump

  • is quite a simple test of lower body explosive power.

  • How powerful an athlete's legs are.

  • In terms of badminton, it's incredibly sport specific.

  • Badminton players are famous in the sporting world

  • for their ability to jump and jump high.

  • Okay so, three, two, one, go for it.

  • Very nice.

  • I personally pride myself on my ability

  • to be able to jump around and move fast.

  • When I've got the ability to jump around endlessly,

  • I can create pressure to win

  • points that other people might not be able to.

  • Nice.

  • He crushed it.

  • He did exactly what we thought he would do for his sport.

  • COUNTERMOVEMENT JUMP

  • He regularly jumped 51 centimeters

  • and that's phenomenally high.

  • And even in the sport of badminton, what numbers we have

  • for elite athletes, those are really, really quite high.

  • MARCUS, FENCER, JUDOKA

  • I'm curious to see how much higher you would have got

  • if you had the racquet in your hand

  • and the competition.

  • -Bit more adrenaline. -Yeah.

  • I think I could've got a few more extra centimeters maybe.

  • Alright Marcus let's take a break from testing.

  • Tell us, how did you get involved in your sport?

  • Well, I think like most people it was from my family.

  • My dad played.

  • He introduced me to the sport when I was six.

  • And usually at that age, you have

  • the attention span of like a fish

  • but you know, literally you couldn't drag me off.

  • And I've always believed that was something that,

  • you know, you're going to succeed at.

  • I was going to ask, if your dad got you involved

  • in the sport, at what age did you start beating him?

  • Probably 11 or 12.

  • I was actually quite competitive.

  • -He would probably disagree. -Okay.

  • But I think it was around that sort of age.

  • All right, shall we get back to some more testing?

  • Yes, I guess we should. Let's do it.

  • This next test is about stamina.

  • Let's see how much Marcus has.

  • Okay, Marcus,

  • this last test we are going to do today

  • is called a VO2 max test.

  • We're going to set you up,

  • put a mask on you, measure your breathing,

  • measure everything that comes out of you.

  • And then get you running,

  • and every two minutes, we are going

  • to make it a little bit harder.

  • And it's going to get harder and harder and harder

  • and harder.

  • To be clear, there is no stop point, so I will not stop

  • the test until you stop the test.

  • -Okay. -Make sense?

  • -Fine. -That's good.

  • -Brilliant. -But real quick...

  • This is the last athlete that did the VO2 test.

  • -You ready for this? -Yeah, I'm ready.

  • Bobsled season.

  • Badminton players have to work aerobically

  • during long matches.

  • Marcus needs to inhale lots of oxygen

  • and pump it around his body for ultimate endurance.

  • LUNGS HEART

  • And we're going to start at a bit of a...

  • -jogging speed, I think... -Okay.

  • ...for you, so quite an easy pace

  • until we get you warmed up.

  • Nice pace.

  • Easy breezy.

  • 30 more seconds and we'll make it a little harder again.