10 Essential cricket strength and power exercises | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

10 Essential cricket strength and power exercises

Filed in:

To improve your cricket power you need to train in a highly specific way. That means doing exercises and routines that strengthen your whole body in ways that can be transferred to the cricket pitch.

I have discussed this before without mentioning specific exercises so today I'm going to give you the 10 most important to me.

These core exercises are not a plan in themselves, just a way to balance all your training while staying specific. You would struggle to do them all in one workout. Split them (or variations of them) over 2-4 sessions as part of your yearly cricket fitness plan.

  1. Squat. The plain old squat is a strength standby. You can do it with bodyweight, dumbbells or a barbell and it trains your hip mobility, legs, shoulders and trunk in one go. It's a tough exercise but will get you great improvements if done with the right technique.
  2. Single Leg Squat. Training one leg at a time is a great way to develop strength, balance and sprint speed in one go. There are loads of ways to do this exercise with weight or without so pick something that challenges you.
  3. Romanian Deadlift. Your hamstrings exist in cricket to extend your hip while you run. The Romanian Deadlift trains you in the same way and helps prevent injury. Good form is vital here, as is keeping the weight low. No prizes for ego lifting in this game.
  4. Cook Hip Lift. The buzz word in sports conditioning at the moment is prehabilitation: the prevention of injury through specific exercises. The Cook Hip Lift is a hamstring and hip exercise that teaches your muscles to 'fire' in the right way while you are running. It's easy to do once mastered and can be done almost anywhere which is especially good for fielders and fast bowlers who want to warm up to run while on the field.
  5. Medicine Ball Throws. Core stability is another one of those buzz words. In this case, the point of it is to strengthen and activate the muscles that allow you to twist your trunk and drive power through your hips. A skill that all cricketers (especially seam bowlers) will benefit from. The key is to use a light ball (3kg or so) and throw harder. You can use a partner or a wall to help.
  6. Press Up. Possibly the most unglamorous and underrated exercise in the world, the press up is a superb chest, arm and trunk stability exercise. There are loads of variations such as adding a handclap for power and you can do it with no equipment at all. Forget the PE teacher who used it as a punishment, pressing up is amazing.
  7. Standing Overhead Press. While cricketers generally should avoid specific "shoulder exercises" (especially upright rows and lateral raises), the overhead press and its variations are essential if used in moderation. Always do them standing up and to add power drive the weight upwards with your legs as well as your shoulders and arms.
  8. Chin Up. The best back exercise on the market and it's free to use. Chin ups can be hard to do for some people but with perseverance, time and assistance (from bands or a training buddy) anyone can do a few. It's worth it because it works so many upper body muscles in one go saving you a lot of time.
  9. Bent Over Rows. Rowing isn't just for rowers: they work your back muscles in a different way (vertically instead of horizontally) so develops the stabilising muscles in your hips and shoulders. They are also the perfect opposite to press ups allowing you to develop strength and power in balance. To develop even more hip rotational strength you can do it with a cable pulley system in the gym.
  10. Hang Pull. This power exercise is an easy to learn variation of the hang clean. To work properly it does require a relatively heavy amount of weight so is best for off season training in the gym and only with good technique. When done well it will give you big strides in power movements, especially jumping, hitting and sprinting.


If you want a more comprehensive guide to reducing injury risk and increasing cricket specific fitness, check out county strength coach Rob Ahmun's guide on PitchVision Academy.


© Copyright miSport Holdings Ltd 2008


Broadcast Your Cricket Matches!

Ever wanted your skills to be shown to the world? PV/MATCH is the revolutionary product for cricket clubs and schools to stream matches, upload HD highlights instantly to Twitter and Facebook and make you a hero!

PV/MATCH let's you score the game, record video of each ball, share it and use the outcomes to take to training and improve you further.

Click here for details.


It is interesting to read this article it is outstanding.

Thanks Mick. i know you are a spambot so I have removed your spurious link and kept in your compliment.

[...] Physical strength [...]

it's a nice work . we need more advices from u.....

What kind of advice?

Yep good exercises although its a bit like a chinese menu Eye-wink But what do you mean do the over head press in moderation?

I guess I mean don't go for the ego lifts. Keep it to certain times of the year and keep form perfect.

How to improve players stamina, please send me vidioes or photoes

Chaminda take a look here: http://www.pitchvision.com/the-complete-guide-to-cricket-fitness/

There is a section called "conditioning" that will help you.

thanks so much for this, why avoid specific shoulder exercise?

Holgus, its all about training the shoulder from all angles. Some players can struggle with overhead lifts. Care must be taken but it is up to the individual to judge.

Hi David, great work with the website - I find it very helpful and insightful. Just wondering about the exercises in this article, specifically the medicine ball throws. Do you have any videos of how to do it correctly?

hey i was wonderin what sort of weights/exercises would be good for a batsman trying to improve power and strength needed for hitting the ball long and hard? please include if certin muscles need particular attention

All the above exercises in a well planned routine will help Christopher. Take a look at the complet guide to cricket fitness on the site too.

David - without using weights for resistance are there variations on the hang pull, and the romainan dead lift? Cheers

Not exactly but there are options. Why are you not using weights for resistance?

We start indoor nets next month for a 10 week session, I'd also like to get the guys outdoors and complete some training programs that include the above excercies. We dont have access to weights indoors or outdoors and I want to keep the sessions as cost effective as possible as we have many students playing.

You can replace the high pull with a squat jump or scissor jump. You can replace the RDL with Cook Hip Lifts. If you can get an exercise ball you have the option of exercise ball leg curls which are very effective at teaching hip extension.

hi i have been studying this web page for couple of days and i must admit there is some very usefull information. i need some further help, can any one create a 3 month strength and condition training plan or program for me. i am a fast bowler, height 5ft 9, weight 82.5 kg, right hand bowler. the training program shall include weight training ( strength, power and explosive), plyometrics, endurance, cardio and conditioninng workouts to help avoid the most common injurys in fast bowling like lower back pain, knee ankle and shoulder injuries. if you can help please let me know on nick3l@hotmail.co.uk. many thanks

I'm sure something can be done. Are you doing any training at the moment?

no i am not in any form of training. i just need a tarining program which guides me through the essential training elements of fast bowling only, like strength phase, power phase, endurance phase, aerobic etc

OK well the first step is to start doing something. It doesn't have to be perfect, you just need to begin. I recommend this book to help you on your way, it's the best 'laymans' book on fitness training for sport I have read and it will prove you are ready to make to commitment by having you invest in something.

do you know a batting test that will show progressive improved power when hitting the ball

Hi, Im an 19 year old opening bowler from Australia. Due to work comitments I will not be able to play this season however my contract runs out a few months before the beginning of next season so I will be able to play then. I was curious if it would be possible to have an extended 8-10 month program outlined for me fitness wise as i wouldnt mind being able to turn up to training next season and puttig a couple of the lads on there backsides bowling 10 klicks faster. If this is possible it would be great. Cheers

Kettlebells are ideal for cricket in my opinion. Especially in terms of core and posterior chain strength...
Swings mostly are the best exercise for hip/buttock and hamstring strength also improving your cardio and stamina. Also kettlebell windmills are very good to prevent common fast bowling injuries such as side strains and hamstring tears because of the increased flexibilty it builds in these areas.

My common off day cricket routine would look like . 2 days before training..

Double KB front squat x 10 - KB's held at front in rack position
Single Leg Deadlifts x 10 - basic unilateral hamstring / butt / hip exercise.
pushups x 10 - Works chest , triceps , serratus anterior / shoulders and core
chinups x 10 - works scapular stabilty and lat/back strength. Also great for biceps.
swings x 10 - best sports related exercise known to man. MUST HAVE! lock it in snap the hips at the top and squeeze the butt. Will prevent lower back injuries.
One arm KB Press to windmills x 10 each side - a combo exercise teaching the athlete to use his body as one unit working shoulders in stability and strength and core and oblique strength. Very important for fast bowlers..

Done in one circuit... rest 2-3mins . repeat 2-3 times..

To say kettlebells are ideal for cricket is like saying a screwdriver is ideal for a builder. It's good to have a screwdriver in your toolbox but you can't use it for every job.

For example, swings are superb for teaching someone the technique of hip drive and will improve strength/conditioning in beginners, but there will always be a time to move on because pure strength cannot be developed as well as say heavy deadlifts and squats.

So I would prefer to see the KB as one tool in the box, not the be-all and end-all.

I am a 21 year old fast bowler, who has recently represented Canada at the under 19 and national level. I have been out with injury now for close to a year, in Canada it is incredibly hard, if not impossible to have anybody that knows anything about cricket, especially doctors or specialists that know how to deal and treat them. I have been told by many doctors that I probably cannot bowl again, and this injury is something that will not allow me to reach the stage at where I want to be. My limited knowledge of my injury is that my L4 is pushing forward onto my L5, as well as the "hole" for my right nerve to go through to my right leg, the size of which has decreased, causing numbness in my legs, the numbness has gone away, yet, still I can feel "something" in my back. I cannot and will not stop playing cricket, I was just wondering if you have seen anything like what I have mentioned, and if there is any pointer that you can point out and aid me with in my recovery. It would mean a great deal to me if you would be gracious enough to email me at arsalan.qadir@gmail.com.

thank you very much



First, I hope you are going to the physio for treatment to get that problem fixed. He will help you out with a decent program for recuperation. There are loads of stuff on the website about core stability that I recommend you look up and incorporate into your recovery program.

You need to also need to get a decent strength training program, again plenty of stuff on the website for that.

Then you need to have a look at your bowling technique and iron out your faults. There are a lot of stuff on the website about fast bowling technique, so have a look. Here is something really basic:


Plenty of information on this website regarding fast bowling and strength and conditioning, so spend some time going through it.

I currently am in a rehab program, but to be fair, they have absolutely no idea what cricket is, or bowling for that matter. It is really hard to explain to them what I need, and where I want to be. In saying that, my program that I have been on has gone on for about 4 months now, and I recently had a second follow up MRI, which showed, no improvement. The good thing being it showed no deterioration either.

I do understand the my bowling technique will have to change, however, I need the proper coaching. The main thing is core strength, and I will have a thorough look through this website, and hopefully create a routine for myself, is there anything in particular I should take note of? Exercises? what not to do?

here is a video of me bowling against the USA for Canada at the under 19 world cup qualifier, if you could have a look at my action, and see what the biggest flaws i have, and what i could change, i would greatly appreciate it.

I am #15, bowling from the "camera" end. I start bowling at 2:40

Thank you very much once again


hey david,,,, m a fast bowler in india,,,so now m aiming 2 increase my pace from 120-125 kmph to a good one,,,, for that i need ur assistance to strengthen my body and d best possible ways 2 achieve it

Always happy to help where I can.

so david,,,, what should i do to bring some raw energy into my body so that i can bowl fast...

start here and here.

If you have questions please let me know.

Hi this is altaf khan personal trainer(ACE).if u want to increase ur players stamina thn go for proper exercise for ur cardiac work pre workout food n post workout food is compolsory here are my some exercise which can help u most1.burpee 2 spot jogging 3.double knee jump 4.crosr training running 5.push ups 6.squats 7.side suffling n specially 8.core training

Do you live in Vancouver? Go and see Behnad Honarbakhsh . Behnad is a practicing physical therapist and strength and conditioning coach and is associated with Gray Cook and Functional Movement Systems. He is the best in the business.

All the best


Interesting site Mike, are you involved in it?

You mean StrengthSpeedAgility.com ? Yeah this is my website!

I see these web sites come up often and think, "Oh yeah, here we go again!" However, I do check in and have a detailed tour; not expecting much and not being too disappointed in my expectations. More often than not, they are useless and all too often dangerous in their advice.

I don't mean to patronise Mike but www.strengthspeedagility.com is a great website!!!

Although I have already spent a few hours reading Mike's material, I have put him in my favourites list and will be spending more time there.

Liz Ward BSc (Hons) dip COMP STAT NLSSM MSMA
Biomechanist/Performance Analyst
Soft Tissue Specialist
Strength & Conditioning Practitioner


Hey Liz,

Thank you for your kind words. I have a lot of stuff planned for the website:Strength and conditioning as well as cricket videos and content going into the site in the coming weeks.

If you don't mind me asking do you run your own clinic? You are based in the UK right?


Hi Mike,

I shall keep an eye on your website Smiling

Yes, I do have a clinic here in the UK. Although I specialise in cricket, I work with premiership and international rugby in the main; not too much buy-in from the cricket fraternity here! However, I hope this will change and at the moment I am working with some great guys to deliver S&C and Biomechanic/kenesiology workshops to county coaches... wish me luck!


Liz Hi

Can you email me details about S&C.


Robin Collins

Good to hear from you Robin.

S&C is quite a prickly subject; it is vitally important that any exercise is right for you, not just functional to your activities but also to your physiology. Unfortunately, we were not all born with the same attributes and distribution of qualities and even less fortunately, most of us do our best to ruin what we have been given as we experience life. No S&C practitioner worth their salt will give you a programme without first assessing you... and what may turn out to be great for you, will not necessarily be good for the person standing next to you... in some cases, it could be hugely negligent!

There is a lot of great information on this site that can help but in general it can only cover the broader aspects of any activity.

Personally, I do not work with body building methods, which appears to be what most young bucks want these days. I use weightlifting methods, particularly the Olympic Lift techniques... although I will never recommend anybody starting this kind of exercise without first being assessed and getting the all clear from their GP. The earlier in life these are taught the better and my colleagues are happy to take athletes from as young as 10 years old. I generally work with adults; I no longer coach cricket and usually find myself in the presence of adults... it is just the direction my career has taken me Smiling.

However, take a look at http://www.pitchvision.com/core-stability-for-cricket-a-dummies-guide/. You will see my email address at the bottom. Let me know what you are after and I will try to help.

Hopefully, my colleagues will be able to put together an off season programme similar to the one on offer for rugby... take a look at the video: http://core-cambridge.com/2011/04/11/core-cambridge-2011-rugby-off-seaso.... Let me know if you want me to keep you up-to-date with this.


I would really like to know if Arsalan Qadir has resolved his back issues and whether he was able to present himself to Behnad Honarbakhsh as Mike suggested.

If so, he really needs to correct his action before bowling again. He presents 3 out of 3 factors [biomechanical malfunctions] for back injury from pace bowling. If he persists, the only end result can be permanent damage.

Hey Liz,

My back is feeling really good, I have been working on my action and thus have gotten back to bowling. When you say I present 3 out of 3 factors, what are those 3 factors, and what can I work on. Unfortunately or fortunately, I do not live in Vancouver, I am from Toronto, thus enabling me to see Mr. Honarbakhsh. Thank you all for your kind words and feedback, hopefully it can continue Smiling.

I am so relieved to hear this Arsalan. Basically, you have a good action... this may sound contradictory but I totally believe in the right action for the right person. Notwithstanding, there are three factors which contribute to back injury; usually a bowler can get away with one and this is usually hip/shoulder separation, but you have all three. Do not let this get you down because they are simple to resolve and I am really surprised that your coach has not corrected you before now. However, I had tea with the great Christie Marathalingam at Warwick University a few years back and appreciate the difficulties with the correct knowledge in Canada.

If you can, email me, or post another video of your bowling, I will go through the issues with you.

Thanks Liz

I will write to you about players who are aged between 14-17. I don't want to produce bodybuilders but I do want players who are strong through the core and legs. Mainly I would like to improve their bat speed and power when hitting the ball.

I am aware of their body's developing so naturally any exercise needs to take this into account.

Talk soon

Best Regards,


This is really good Robin and something I can definitely help you with.

It is vitally important that guys at this age have a good core, not just for cricket but life in general. There is no knowing when they will need to get themselves out of trouble; in the hills/woods, down the beach, or even in the shopping centre Eye-wink.

David sourced a really great programme here:


However, we will look elsewhere for the power and pace behind their shots. We need to talk biomechanics! It is not so important how strong their muscles are but how they use their muscles and which ones they use. Biomechanics is not to be confused with technique. I look forward to your email Smiling


I am have only done a UKCC2 coaching course and cannot profess to know a huge amount about the minute details of bowling actions, but i did notice a couple of things about yours. Liz is entirely correct about the separation of your shoulder, and whilst this may seem like a quick fix for now, take a look at Shaun Tate, who bowls for Australia. Whilst he may be able to bowl extremely quickly, his action has left him in need of surgery and he is unable to bowl more than 4 overs in a spell, i assume you want to bowl more than that!

Also, the most prominent thing i noticed from the video you posted is that you bowl your deliveries with your lower body in a 'Side On' position, and your upper body in a 'Front On' position. Now i don't know if this has changed since the video, but i, as a coach, was taught that bowling in this manner could have serious consequences if it was carried on, and the results were similar to those you described; hip and back pain.

If these thin have already been rectified then please let me know, as i would be extremely pleased to hear that you're feeling much better about your bowling; but if not, i hope this helps!

Is cool


i am intrested to know if the "Power Clean" exercise helps to increase strength and power in a player? or is it bad exersise to use in cricket ?


Hi David,

Just saw this page, must say great work on the website. I'm a spin bowler playing for a university in UAE. We usually have different tournaments after a few months, so its hard to stay fit all the time. So I thought of looking for different gym exercises that could help me stay fit and found this page. It has 10 exercises, and the max I could go to the gym is for 3 days. We have outdoor nets twice a week on Monday and Wed where we have bowling, batting and fielding drills.

Could anyone help me with dividing the exercises into 3 proper parts so that I could use the gym and practice on alternate days without getting injured?

Help would be appreciated.

Best Regards,

I want swing bowlers exercises videos

It looks good, except the rowing exercise. I would recommend that one does not bend their back while rowing, but keeps it straight at all times. Unless i misread the caption

iam 20 years old and i am medium pace but my speed is below 100kmph. will you please give me a complete daily morning to end of the day what can i do like in gym with full exercise in details like push ups,pull ups etc and nutrition to what to take in detail from time to time and other work like running,sprints etc... please replay me i need your help........