Strength Training for Cricket

The Importance of Functional Strength – Not Maximal Strength

We have already covered in detail the pitfalls of a standard bodybuilding approach to strength training for cricket – and you should now be well versed in the fact that just because this form of training may make you look strong due to muscular development – it certainly doesn’t automatically mean that you are functionally strong. But we would like to build from this point a little, by discussing this concept of functionally strong – and what exactly this means when playing cricket.

When you are embarking on a strength training program, it is important to always remember why you are doing it – always keep the end goal in sight. It is to improve your physical capacity specifically for a game – be it accelerating, throwing, swinging a bat, bowling ,etc. But just as it is important to remember you aren’t just aiming to put on useless muscle without function (bodybuilding), you must also remember that strength itself is also not the end goal.




You are performing functional lifts like squats and deadlifts and lunges with sets and reps schemes aimed at building functional strength (as well as some muscle as a bonus) yes, but this strength isn’t the end goal in itself – it is a stepping stone to a faster acceleration, a more controlled and efficient deceleration and direction change, or a a greater buffer against injuries in certain fast movements. So the key point I am trying to make here, is that when you progress and continue to improve with your ability in the weights room, don’t become too focused on getting as much weight on the bar as humanly possible – and sacrificing movement quality and movement speed.

The goals of strength training will also depend on what stage of the year it is, and at certain points maximal strength will be the aim, whilst at others, speed of movement will be the same. But remember at the end of the day, what you are really trying to achieve in the weights room in terms of carryover to cricket – is to move better or more efficiently (be it running, batting, bowling, throwing, fielding, etc) not to build a 180kg squat or a 200kg deadlift – because as impressive as these feats may be in terms of raw strength, they mean absolutely nothing in terms of cricket, if you then can’t express these in cricket specific movements and situations on game day.


‘Athletes require optimal levels of strength rather than maximal levels in order to successfully compete in their sport.

Paul Gamble


So as much even though baseline of maximal strength is important, it is not the ongoing focus – but rather you must look to improve cricket specific expressions of strength. The most functionally strong cricketers are the guys who have the best ability to express their strength qualities during the execution of game related activities or sports skills in the context of a match situation.


Cricket Athlete