Can a little bit of rubber tubing really make you a better player?
There is no doubt in my mind that resistance bands have an important place in cricket training, and you don’t need a personal trainer to get the best from one.
But like any tool, you have to use it right to get results.
And you have to know what results to expect in the first place. You wouldn’t use a screwdriver to hammer in a nail.
So let’s take a look at where the resistance band is best used for cricket performance.
The source of your strength?
As you know bands (or tubes) have elastic properties meaning they offer resistance when stretched. They are trying to spring back and you are using your incredible strength to stop it from happening.
Over time this makes you stronger and less injury-prone.
Of course, bands like this are just one way of using resistance to get stronger. There are loads of other options including; bodyweight (like press ups), dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, sandbags and medicine balls.
So why go with resistance bands?
For a starter they are a lot easier to store and carry than a 20kg Olympic barbell, power rack and 200kg of iron.
Say for a moment you are a coach of a bunch of 12-14 year olds. You know some basic strength and conditioning work would help with performance and injury prevention but you are not trained in that area and you have no time or space to store equipment.
Taking this lot to the gym is frankly impractical, even if you knew what you were doing.
Instead, what would be better than a few resistance bands to show your players some of the basic movements that will help them stay healthy (and not get you into any trouble from worried parents)?
But bands are more than just a tool of convenience.
They get to the places that more traditional weights find hard to reach; the small but important muscle groups like the rotator cuff, rear deltoids, gluteus medius, lower traps and core anti-rotation.
Try doing a pull-apart with a barbell.
The final benefit of bands is their ability to add or remove resistance from traditional bodyweight exercises.
For example, using a band you can make chin ups easier, or press ups harder.
What are resistance bands not for?
But like that screwdriver, the band is just one tool in your toolbox. It can’t do everything.
For example, I’m not an especially strong person but with the amount I can bench press, deadlift and squat. even the strongest band wouldn’t let me replace those exercises. Plus, there is less control over the amount of resistance (because weight plates go up in 1.25kg jumps).
Frankly, you just can’t replace lifting up heavy stuff sometimes. It is what makes you strong.
So, leave the resistance bands behind for the ‘big’ movements of pushing and pulling with big muscle groups.
But as you can see, there is a use for a band no matter what your age or cricketing skill level.
Do you use bands in your training? If so, how do you use them?