This is part 2 of a 2 part series. To go to part 1 click here.
In part one of this series we learned how explosive exercises are perfect for cricket. Yet proper weightlifters spend years honing their technique. Can you get the benefits without the steep learning curve?
The key is to use variations.
Variations are easy to learn techniques that can be picked up by even a beginner right away. Yet they don't compromise on the important elements that make up a functional, explosive exercise:
- They are all performed standing and unsupported (no machine work)
- They all require you to move resistance quickly and explosively
- They all train multiple joints and once
- They can all be progressively overloaded
You can start with the beginner exercises and stick with them as long as you like. They are all effective for your needs as a cricketer. You can progress to the more advanced methods if you wish. However the way to progress effectively is not to use a more complex lift, but to keep adding weight to the bar. Every 1.25kg plate you add makes you a stronger, faster and less injury prone player.
You can use dumbbells, kettlebells or a barbell for resistance.
With explosive power it's best to work in the low rep ranges. 3-4 sets of 3-5 reps are usual. The aim is not to grind out lots of reps but to learn to explode quickly and efficiently. To enable full recovery your rest time between sets needs to be quite high. 2-3 minutes is usual (you can always do some stretching while you wait). Start low with the weight and get technique right before adding more.
A small word of warning, it is safe to do these lifts at almost any age or fitness level if you are healthy and do them correctly. Your doctor will be able to tell you if you are healthy enough to perform exercise and a qualified fitness trainer will be able to help with technique. This is especially important if you are under 18.
Here are the lifts.
This exercise is a great place to start with power training as it teaches hip drive, an important element. You can perform it with bodyweight or add resistance with dumbbells or a barbell across your back. Always start with no weight and progress slowly. Technique is all important.
The jump shrug is one portion of a full Olympic lift like the clean or snatch so it's easy to learn. You are now involving the whole body. The important thing to remember is to keep your back in a 'neutral' position and avoid bending down or arching your back. Use your hips to drive you upwards.
The hang pull takes another portion of a full lift, this time moving the weight a further distance up to the chin so it requires more power to move the same weight. The key is to move the weight with your hips, keeping your arms straight for as long as possible.
A lot of people mistake this as a shoulder exercise. The shoulders are involved but the weight is driven up by the explosive power of your hips. Players with shoulder issues will be better off using a single kettlebell or dumbbell with a neutral grip (palms inwards).
One Arm Snatch
This is a more advanced exercise but as it uses a dumbbell or kettlebell can be experimented with safely. The hard part is getting 'under' the weight as you power it up to your chin. You should catch the weight above your head rather than simply using your arm to push it to the top.
It's worth teaching yourself this exercise as it is one of the best 'core' exercises as well as a power exercise that should improve your throwing distance. Just start with a very low weight to get the technique right before going for glory.
Integrate one of these exercises into you the beginning of your gym workouts (after warming up) and slow add weight as you progress. It will lead to big benefits on the pitch.
Image credit: Cronfeld
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.