Balance your cricket fitness to prevent injury
Most people know they should exercise to both improve cricket performance and reduce the risk of injury. The problem is that often exercising can just be reinforcing the imbalances in your body and doing more harm than good.
This study from 1991 shows the risks. Athletes with significant differences in strength and flexibility from one side of the body to the other have a higher risk of injury.
Traditional training routines for sport fail to take this fact into account meaning they could be making no difference to your injury risk. This is because there is usually too much work on the front of the body (the mirror muscles) and a focus on double limb training (squats, chin ups and the like).
The first step is to find out if you have a significant imbalance. You can do this alone if you invest in Gray Cook's book Athletic Body in Balance. It contains a movement screen you can do. You can also get a qualified trainer to test you.
If you find an imbalance the answer can be simple: Train the weaker side harder then retest to see if it worked.
Usually this means doing unilateral training (single leg or single arm exercises). You train both sides, but you train the weaker side 2-3 times more than the stronger side.
- Strength based such as single leg squats or single arm rows
- Power based such as plyometrics with correct landing technique
- Mobility based such as rotational squats
- Flexibility based such as hip flexor stretches
You should not need to do this training for all time. Once the balance is redressed you can go back to training both sides equally. Although, single limb work is always good as it teaches better balance and coordination as well as being more cricket specific.
This technique of redressing the balance is not a training system in itself. However, when you make it part of an overall plan you will not only be less likely to be injured, you will also perform better.
At least, that's what Bill Hartman says, and who am I to disagree?