Recently we had a question posted on PitchVision Academy asking this:
“I am trying to increase the speed of my bowling. I am already a keen gym goer and quite strong. I bench 150kg, deadlift 180kg and squat 170kg. So what can I do now to become faster?”
It’s a great question because, as we already know, strength is a crucial element in bowling fast.
But it’s certainly not the only aspect.
There is no denying Lee the questioner is a strong guy. At 85kg he is well beyond the norms for his size. The risk is that he has focused so much on strength he has forgotten about other things you can do in the gym.
So here are some elements to add to the mixture when you have good strength levels (or even if you don’t).
I know I go on about this a lot, but it’s because most fast bowlers could do with better mobility around their upper spine.
The lower part of the spine is the danger area. It’s where injuroes happen when there is twisting. So working on the t-spine at the top counteracts this and gives bowler’s more ability to add some sling to the action.
More sling equals more pace.
So, in your warm up, or even between sets of squats, you can do this simple t-spine mobility exercise. Plus you can use your foam roller to do this to cover all angles. You should notice a difference in a few weeks of work.
Many people talk about the rotator cuff as a crucial area to train to stabilise your shoulders. It is true that all bowlers (and fielders) should make sure they work on those muscles to prevent injury.
Here’s a simple cuff exercise you can pair with a leg exercise for example.
Something a lot of strong guys forget is the rest of the back. Good strength is about balanced strength. Every bench press needs a rowing exercise to balance it out. So take a look at getting strong at bent over rows, seated rows, inverted rows and weighted chin ups. There is no harm in focusing double the time on your back as your front.
The final element is increasing your power by bringing up the speed element (power is simply strength times speed). Some people love Olympic lifts like cleans and snatches, but I feel the speed element is best through med ball throws.
Med balls are closer in speed to cricket balls than a bar loaded up with weights, but are still heavy enough to have a training effect.
Here is a simple circuit I demonstrated a while ago that still works to improve speed and power. Do this after your warm up and before your strength work for the best effects.
In the off season you can throw balls 3 or 4 times a week to get your speed up. In season you have to be more careful but can still get a session in every week to maintain things.