Strength Training for Cricket

Batter or Bowler

Are you training for batting or bowling?

 

In your life as a cricketer, is your game based more around the art of scoring runs, or the art of preventing them and taking wickets?

 

The answer to this question will dictate where exactly your focus should be in your strength training, as physically speaking, these roles have differing demands and physical requirements. And of course, in order to maximise the quality of your program, you need to first identify what the primary training goals for physical development are.

 

It must be said there are certain qualities that are important across the board in cricket, regardless of specialty in positions. Physical qualities like lower body strength (especially single leg), along with a strong and powerful torso (especially in the rotation movement) are highly valuable regardless of whether you are primarily a bowler or a batter.

 

But looking a little more specifically at the 2 primary roles, what are key physiological abilities that we need to focus on developing?

 

When we are primarily focused on bowling what are the physical abilities we aiming to develop?

 

Shoulder stability

Pace bowling places a high physical demand on the shoulder girdle, and it is important that the platform from which this power is passing through is as stable as possible, or not only will the quality of execution not be as high, but even more importantly, injury is a greater likelihood

Core and lower back strength

In a similar manner to the shoulder girdle, the lower back (and supporting core region) must be strong and stable in order to withstand the high forces and wear and tear passing through this area ball after ball after ball.

Acceleration

Want to bowl fast? Then you must be able to generate speed off the mark. The better and more powerful your acceleration, the more potential for this power generation you will possess.

 

Single leg landing and deceleration

Here we are talking about the last step or 2 in a fast-bowling delivery. The faster you are coming down the wicket in a delivery the greater the impact will be on these last couple steps, and therefore the more important your ability to withstand these hard landings will be. Remember, this doesn’t just occur a few times per match, but many more.

So what does this look like in practice?

Looking at a couple examples taken from part of a program in Strength & Power Training for Cricket you can see;

 

-Consistent programming of shoulder stability exercises (indicated by the ‘S’) early in every session – including variation from session to session.

 

-Single leg strength work targeting both acceleration (split squats) as well as the deceleration and landing (single leg RDL’s and depth drops).

 

-Landmine pressing – strengthening the shoulders in an overhead position, while doing so in a shoulder friendly position minimising impingement.

 

-Exercises such as Romanian deadlifts targeting hamstring, lower back and core strength, in the all-important hip-hinge movement pattern

 

This brief overview and example involves individual sessions and exercises, and of course is only 1 piece of the overall puzzle – it is of course important to periodise and progress exercises, sessions and programs over the course of periods of time or training blocks.

 

What about batting?

 

Rotation power

When swinging the bat, the strength and power comes from the arms right? Wrong. It comes from a powerful rotation action (and technically the power originates at the ground and from legs.) But without a functional and strong rotation ability- particularly the torso, this power generated will not be as good, and will also leave you open to the potential of injury.

Single Leg strength – in multi-planar movement

As just mentioned, the strength and power that is eventually imparted on the bat, actually begins at ground level, with the force applied by the legs. This force is imparted in a multiple number of directions, not just forward and back. This means side to side and on various diagonal angles as well.

 

Upper body strength

While the legs and the rotation ability of the torso are central to effective batting potential, there is no denying the value of raw overall upper body strengths value to batting. This does not mean useless exercises like biceps curls and lateral raises – but high-quality compound movements like pull ups.

 

Acceleration

Running between the wickets to get some runs? Then acceleration is essential. What develops acceleration ability? Maximal lower body strength.

 

So what does this look like in practice?

Looking at a couple examples taken from part of a program in Strength & Power Training for Cricket you can see;

 

-Large compound upper body movements like pull ups and bench press.

 

-Single leg strength exercises – in multiple planes of movement – as indicated by the multi-directional lunge.

-Strong emphasis on rotational strength and power with things like woodchops and sideways medicine ball wall passes.

 

-Front squat and trap bar deadlifts, large exercises aimed at moving large weights, and contributing strongly to the development of multiple qualities, none more so than acceleration.


Just as with the section on bowling, here we looked at individual sessions and exercises, and of course is only 1 piece of the overall puzzle – it is of course important to periodise and progress exercises, sessions and programs over the course of periods of time or training blocks.

 

We are only just scratching the surface in this discussion here, and it is important to always remember the context within which certain exercises are performed is equally as important as the exercise themselves.

 

We look at these discussion points in more detail in Strength & Power Training for Cricket, where we also provide periodised programs and greater context around why we are performing what we are. Importantly, in the program section we have both plus the all-rounder option.

 

This discussion should at least have you thinking about where you actually begin in planning what you need to do with your physical preparation for cricket, with a vital first step being identifying what your primary position is, and then what the tasks that you need to physically improve on are.

 


Cricket Athlete