This is an in-season training plan for club level fast bowlers from Steffan Jones.
You are not a professional cricketer, but you want to have the same impact as one when you walk out on Saturday afternoon.
You want batsmen to be nervous of your pace as the look round at how far back the keeper is standing to you.
You want the sage observers at your club to say things about you like "he has put on a yard of pace" and "that's a powerful action".
You want to be a fast bowling weekend warrior.
So, you train hard in the off season. You work on your action and you get into the gym 3 or 4 times a week. You become brutally strong.
Then the season arrives and your Saturday's are dedicated to firing cricket missiles at hapless batting victims. You have trained hard all winter for this moment.
How do you train to make the most of your speed potential?
As a weekend you are in an ideal situation where you can peak for every game. The program is tapered for this purpose every week. You go from the heaviest workouts on Monday and Tuesday to the most explosive on Friday and Saturday morning.
So it's Monday. You had a rest day yesterday (more on that later) and you are ready to start your preparation for Saturday. It's time to train your legs.
The legs need to be trained with at least 5 days of rest before the next game, so Monday is the ideal time to get in some effort.
When it comes to the exact exercises, you need to decide for yourself depending on what happened at the weekend. Did you bowl a heap of rubbish and only bowl 3 overs, or did you charge in and bowl rockets then hit a winning 50? If it's the latter you can back off the heavy squats, and do a lunge variation or focus on hip extension work.
Aim for 12-15 Sets in total in this session with the aim of at least maintaining your lower body strength rather than let your performance fall away as your legs get weaker.
Many bowlers fall into this trap and de-train in the summer, but trophies are won at the end of the season. You need to keep your performance levels high right until the end. It's true that the strongest survive.
Tuesday is time for the gym again. This time you are focusing on your upper body.
Warm up again. Properly. I mean it.
I’m big on training your pushing muscles. Find me a Javelin thrower who can't overhead press his own bodyweight! But pulling movements are also important.
- Pulling: Focus on muscle size and strength
- Pushing: Focus on explosive movements
Again, you get to pick the exercises that work for you. Aim for 20 total sets in this workout.
Remember that this is not bodybuilding, you are looking to improve performance, and cut injury risk. So keep the bodybuilding ideas out of this.
You can also get some bowling in the nets today. Focus on technique and endurance bowling and don't worry to much about how fast it is coming out. That's for later in the week.
After a day off on Wednesday (feel free to do some interval training if you want), Thursday is back in the gym.
From here on out the speed of the exercise increases and the weight of the bar/implement decreases to amp you up for Saturday.
After your warm up, of course.
The gym session is be based mainly on performing basic compound push and pull, upper and lower body lifts with light weight very quickly. 12-16 sets in total. The goal here is speed, not weight.
Then in the afternoon, get into the nets. Warm up again and finish with five sets of five reps on a power exercises like a depth jump.
This bowling session is flat out, top speed and off your full run up. Get plenty of rest between "overs" and when you start to flag, it's time to call it a night. Focus fully on generating maximum speed quality.
Friday is a great day to throw some medicine ball around and bowl weighted balls.
Of course, you still need to warm up. But then;
- Keep it low with 10 set in total only and use a 1kg-2kg medicine ball for the throws.
- Follow up with a 200-250g weighted cricket ball for a total of 2-4 overs bowling off a few steps.
Saturday - Game Day!
It's important you get into the habit of training on the morning of a game because It wakes you up and gets your nervous system firing for the game. Just make sure you leave 3-6 hours before you play. Trust me it works. I did it for 12 years as a pro and managed to get up to 140kph!
Warm up, then do 6 sets total of medicine ball drills and light basic jumps 3-6 hours pre game. Make sure you have time for 2 meals/snack before you play.
Then when game time comes, do your normal pre-game warm up.
After the game, you can start your recovery for the next match right away with stretching, lots of water, foam rolling and maybe a contrast bath if you are hardcore!
Sunday is always your recovery day, even if you didn't have a stellar match.
Continue to get lots of water, vegetables (especially greens) and quality food choices. If you can, get a massage (or at least foam roll). A bath with Epsom Salts helps some people, as does swimming or a gentle jog to blow away the cobwebs. It's a personal choice, but keep your focus on quality rest and recovery.
We start the whole thing again Monday! Good luck and bowl like the wind!
If you have questions for Steffan Jones about fitness for fast bowling, you can contact him through PitchVision Academy here.