Every cricketer can benefit from being strong. And every cricketer can get stronger.
Unfortunately, a lot of players turn away from the idea of strength because they assume to be strong you need to look like a bulky bodybuilder. It’s a reasonable assumption, especially when you see that most gyms base training around bodybuilding methods made popular in the 1970s and ‘80s.
You could train like that, but it won’t make you strong.
So forget bodybuilding methods (whether you use them or not) and start training to develop strength.
Here is why strength is just better:
1. Saves time
Time is precious and you don’t want to be a gym rat, especially if it is at the expense of training and playing cricket. Cricket should always come first. But bodybuilders spend a lot of time in the gym working everybody part to extreme fatigue. It takes a long time to build a huge physique. Pro bodybuilders spend 12 hours or more a week in the gym.
Strength training, on the other hand, is much quicker because using heavy weights gives you a training effect in less time. You get it done in 3-6 hours a week and spend more time improving your skills.
2. More relevant
Cricket needs you to express power quickly to bowl, throw and hit a ball. It’s why men can bowl faster than women: They are stronger.
But bodybuilding methods are based on slow isolation movements that are nothing like what happens on the pitch. Bicep curls won’t help you express more power in your bowling action. A better heavy squat will because it improves maximum strength in the legs that improves power output.
3. Easy to stick with
For competitive sportsmen obsessed with keeping score, fitness training can be dull. And dull training means you are more likely to skip training.
We are brought up on competition and enjoy it. Bodybuilding is vague on this.”Getting big” is a woolly aim at best. You could look at how much muscle you gain it’s impossible to tell in the mirror when you gain half a kilogram of lean mass.
With strength training the weight on the bar doesn’t lie. The more it goes up the stronger you get. You are in a competition with the iron. And you can’t wait for the next ‘game’.
4. Better for your health
Strong muscles and tendons are harder to get injured. Traditional bodybuilding does improve things in this way but it’s not as good as strength training for 2 reasons:
- First, with strength training we move in similar patterns to cricket (for example a squat looks a lot like a wicketkeeper coming out of his stance) and so we develop more relevant strength the crosses onto the pitch.
- Second, bodybuilders tend to focus on improving the muscles they can see in the mirror, which leads to an imbalance between the strength of the front and back of the body. Imbalances are bad because if they get too great they increase the chance of injury.
5. More confidence
Looking strong and being strong are very different things psychologically.
If you focus on appearance only to feel confident, you are not really confident. The confident ones are the guys who know they have the strength to pop the ball over the rope when they give it the long handle.
And you don’t need balloon muscles to do that.
And you can use strength training (not bodybuilding) to improve performance and prevent injury with the expert advice from county strength coach Rob Ahmun.
The online course teaches you everything you need to know about cricket fitness and gives you a complete year's programme to follow to get strong without getting bulky.
You can get instant access to all the resources you need, click here to enrol.
image credit: SarahCanterbury