Warm ups are not only a great way to prepare your body for play and reduce the chance of injury. They can also be used to improve your game. Mobility, posture and flexibility are key components in cricket fitness. Often they ignored by cricketers, especially at club level. The warm up can bridge this gap.
I have talked about warming up before, but I want to extend that further, turning the warm up from a necessary evil (as some see it) to a vital element in moving your muscles and nervous system from normal life to peak cricket performance.
Think of your warm up as a ramp to the top of your game. Without it you are struggling to get to the top.
The Complete Cricket Warm Up
Before you begin make sure you have an area of around 22 yards or so to warm up in. Other kit that is useful if you can get it is a medicine ball, a cricket bat, a few of balls and a reaction ball. Make the warm up as long as possible that time allows. Ensure a 5 minute warm up at the very least. A 15 minute or longer warm up is much more beneficial. You can mix and match any of the parts of the warm up depending on time but remember the idea is to activate all of your cricket playing muscles with slowly increasing intensity. So always start slow and build up.
You can see most of the exercises below in this video on cricket warm ups.
Part 1. Gentle activity
Begin by walking up and down your marked area:
- Walk forwards
- Walk backwards
- Walk sideways
- Walking lunge
- Hurdle walk
- Russian walk
- Tiptoe walk
Part 2. Core Stability and balance
Perform the following body weight movements:
- Single Leg Squat
- Side Lunge (with floor touch)
- Back Lunge and twist
- Star Jumps
Holding a medicine ball or cricket bat do the following:
- Behind head twist
- Draw a figure of eight
- Standing chest press
- Twist pass or pull shot
Place a ball down and jog up to it, pick it up in the normal fielding technique then roll it to the other end in one smooth, balanced movement. Repeat with your other hand. The repeat by picking up the ball on the inside of your foot both left and right handed.
Part 3. Mobility and flexibility
Jogging up and down now, complete the following:
- Arm Rolls
- Ankle flicks
- Small skips
- Inside thigh kicks
- Knee lifts
- Knee across
- Lateral slides
- Bum kicks
- Sideways heel flicks
Then find someone or something to lean on to complete these mobility exercises:
- Leg out
- Leg Forward
- Knee across
Part 4. Sprints
When you are feeling warm complete 5 sprints over the 22 yard area, jog back for recovery:
- Sprint 1: Standing Start
- Sprint 2: Sideways Start
- Sprint 3: Backwards Start
- Sprint 4: Lying Start
- Sprint 5: Walking Start
You can involve a ball to make this a fielding drill with a pickup and return throw.
Part 5. Cricket Skills
By this point you should be warm enough to perform some cricket fielding, throwing and catching drills at a good intensity. Specialists can also work on their own skills.
Batsmen can have a net or do batting drills (although no drills on matchday). Bowlers can mark out their run and try hitting a target without a batsman as a distraction. Wicketkeepers can either work with the bowlers or find someone to throw them balls.