In this series, we give you a sample workout you can use from the extensive database of cricket fitness programmes at PitchVision Academy. To see the full list, click here.
As this is a new series, we will start with the warm up. That’s because - for most cricketers - the warm up is the last thing on the list when it comes to improving skill or fitness.
Of course, strength, speed and technique are crucial to meeting your cricket goals, but the warm up is the single most important aspect of training.
The warm up is your bridge between normal life and being an athlete on the field or in the gym. Skip it and you go into the main event undercooked. So with that principle in mind, let’s warm up properly.
That means a thorough routine that irons out the damage done by everyday living then gets you in the right place both physically and mentally for lifting a PR, scoring a century or bowling a 5-fer.
If you don’t have time to warm up, make some. Your technique can cope with 15 minutes less batting practice. Your body and mind can’t cope without a warm up, and you won’t get the best out of your body.
So focus on this warm up - either as a team, in a training group or alone - and see the difference.
Warm Up for Cricket Fitness
- Yourself and at least 15 minutes
- A foam roller
- 2 kettlebells or dumbbells (optional)
Step 1: Tissue Quality
I’ve covered that in detail here. This is crucial to the quality of your muscles and is the first step on your ramp up. It’s suitable for all ages and is especially a good habit to get when you are a teenager (before later career soreness really hits).
Step 2: Stretch
Although static stretching is not ideally done in the warm up, there is no harm in a select 1-2 stretches for 20-30 seconds on any area that needs special attention. Areas that are commonly shortened by everyday living are the pecs, adductors and hip flexors.
You can alternatively pick a couple of stretches from this pdf from Eric Cressey. You know your own body flexibility so pick the most suitable area to target.
Don’t spend more than a minute here, but do spend time static stretching at other times (off days or post training are good options when you can spend longer holding the stretch).
Step 3: Mobilise and Activate
This is the most crucial part of the warm up as it gets your body ready for the unholy twisting that you are required to perform to bat, bowl and field. It takes you out of bad postures developed through sitting and into game-ready shape.
1. Glute bridge with reach
Activates the glutes (that are inactive while you are sitting) while improving mobility in your upper back (t-spine). What’s not to love? 6 reaps each side.
2. Hip flexor mobilisation
Most of us have short, immobile hip flexors. Redress the balance with this move. 8 reps each leg.
3. Kneeling Split-Stance Adductor Mobilization
A lot of cricketers have tight and short adductors that restrict hip mobility (especially important for fielding, wicketkeeping and bowling). Do 8 reps each side to prevent this issue.
Wakes up the trapezius and serratus anterior muscles that are underused in real life and crucial to cricket performance. 6-8 reps.
More t-spine action, this time combined with hip mobility in a more active movement. You are starting to ramp up the activity. 6-8 reps each side
5. Ankle Mobilisations
8-10 reps each side, the worse your ankle mobility the more reps and the more often you should do this.
Step 4: Extend (Optional)
The first few steps can be used in almost any situation. This section is optional and requires 2 kettlebells (or dumbbells) so is more suited to a gym situation.
The benefit of this section is to further develop stability in the shoulder, hips and core, especially with a strong rotator cuff. They will also help with conditioning, although you should not rely on these carries alone for your aerobic work.
For all exercises do 2 sets of 20-40 metres. Pick a weight that is does not prevent good posture when you walk.
Step 5: Specify
If you are in the gym, this part of the warm up is doing your first exercise at a lower weight and building the weight up.
If you are doing cricket training you can move onto cricket fielding drills, or grooving drills. Your body is ready. Save the actual net/middle practice to last when you are your most fired up and technically prepared.