I was asked an interesting question the other day;
“What is the one best physical exercise for cricket?”
Now, fitness is more than one exercise.
A programme would incorporate numerous drills, exercises, aerobic training, anaerobic training, strength, power, core, weights and many other elements to boot.
But if I was to pick one, the exercise that I would choose is the lunge.
The lunge exercise is a compound exercise movement; It works numerous muscle groups that are essential to repeatable and high quality cricket movements.
You get a lot in oen exercise: greater muscle activation and functional conditioning. Lunges enhance your functional fitness because they correspond with natural body movements.
Power without Stability is Worthless
Lunges develop coordination and stability, which help improve your balance and strengthen your core muscles.
Power is developed and transferred up the body effectively if we are stable in our base (hitting/throwing/bowling) and a strong core is essential to all functional cricket movements, most notably in fast bowling.
Lunges strengthen your quadriceps. Your quads are responsible for extending your knees and flexing your hips, which play a significant role in sprinting and most movement patterns.
Lunges help improve cricket performance when chasing after balls in the field, running into bowl, running between the wickets and loading the lower body at the start of a striking motion when batting.
Good Glutes Equal Good Stamina
Lunges develop your Gluetus Maximus. The gluteus maximus are the largest and among the most powerful muscles in your body. They are responsible for extending your hips.
Strong glutes help maintain correct posture and reduce fatigue when repeating bowling actions, batting for long periods of time or being in high traffic fielding positions.
Glute strength also enhances your cricket performance by enabling you to run faster and jump higher. These are common attributes in all world-class fielders.
Relevance to cricket
The Lunge underpins virtually every movement that a cricketer will make during a game of cricket.
- Batting: We lunge forward when playing a front foot drive, forward defence, sweep and switch hit.
- Bowling: the delivery stride of a fast bowler incorporates a lunge technique.
- Wicket Keeping: A wicket keeper lunges from their “Z” or power position to take balls when standing up to the stumps and moves in a lateral lunge fashion to move when standing back to quick bowlers.
- Fielding: Fielding is a series of Lunges to get down to a ground ball or to initiate a dive by getting the head as close to the ball as possible.
- Throwing: In throwing, we lunge forward to create a base from which to throw over a long distance or to complete a run out from the inner circle. A Boundary Fielder often completes a series of lunge movements within a single piece of fielding.
Cricket is a game of lunges and over the next few weeks I shall show you a series of lunge drills that will take your game to the next level.