The more powerful you are the faster you can run, the harder you can strike a ball and the faster you can bowl.
These are the three reasons I got excited when I started reading The Path to Athletic Power by Boyd Eply. In the book the successful strength coach outlines his '10 principles' built on scientific proof and years of experience. But can they work for cricket?
The 10 principles were built for the American power sports that Boyd coaches after all. As baseball features as a prominent example in the book and cricket is a similar game in terms of fitness requirement I thought I would adapt the 10 principles to cricket.
10 Principles of Cricket Power
- Ground Based Activities. The theory here is that as you play cricket standing up, you should train standing up. This is because running, throwing, playing a shot and bowling are all initiated by applying force against the ground. So it makes sense to drop as many training activities that require you to sit or lie down.
- Multiple Joint Actions. Cricket skills require a great deal of coordination. You can train this by picking exercises that use more than one joint. For example, squats require the use of knees, hips, ankles and even shoulders and arms to hold the bar. A leg extension just requires the knees to move.
- Three Dimensional Movements. You may have noticed that cricket is played in 3D (no, really it is). This means your training should reflect that by training with free weights where possible because free weight also train you on three planes whereas machines are designed to train only in two (with the cams, seats and pulleys taking the strain from the third).
- Train Explosively. Speed and power come from how quickly your muscles can work. Your muscles work faster if they are trained with explosive fast movements rather than slower strength based exercises. This means exercises like the clean and plyometrics are vital to cricketers.
- Progressive Overload. To improve you need to keep progressing your workouts. More reps leads to greater muscle endurance and size, more weight leads to greater strength and power. While cricketers shouldn't ignore the former, the latter should be your ultimate goal.
- Periodisation. Have a look at my post on planning your year for more on this. For me, a periodised approach is vital to all players.
- Split Routine. Splitting your weight training routine over several days (rather than training your whole body every time) gives you time to recover so you can train harder.
- Hard-Easy System. This is linked back to periodisation. The concept is simple: You can't train at full effort every time or you will burn out. This means some days training within yourself.
- Train Specifically. To get the best out of yourself on the cricket field your training need be as close to the real thing as possible. That means exercises that train your body to be fast and powerful, not long runs (unless you are a distance runner aswell as a cricketer).
- Interval Training. Leading on from specific training, your work and rest should simulate the demands of cricket. That means short periods of intense activity followed by long periods of active rest, just like you get when batting, bowling or fielding.
More on cricket fitness soon, so subscribe for updates.
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.
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