Since I posted version 2 of the PitchVision Academy cricket fitness plan, a few questions have come up, mostly via email. I want to answer those questions today.
If you are using the plan and need to understand a little more about it you can leave your question here. I'll answer anything you need to know.
Anyway, on with the questions:
Q: What type of exercises can I use for bodyweight training?
A:There are a wide variety of exercises using your body only. The trick with these is to pick exercises that can work the whole body when they are put together. You can split it into movements like this:
- Power: plyometric press ups, jump squats, scissors jumps.
- Pushing: press ups (several variations), dips, handstand press ups.
- Pulling: chin ups, inverted rows.
- Knee dominant: squats (several variations), single leg squats, lunges.
- Hip Dominant: cook hip lift, glute bridges, single leg deadlifts.
- Core: Planks, side planks, crunch variations, leg raises
- Full body: burpees, crawling.
There are many more, some more focused on mobility, others on strength but the key is to do 1-3 exercises from each movement so your whole body is covered.
If you want a complete program, turbulence training follows this approach and has a complete bodyweight section that you can do almost anywhere.
Q: How is interval running different from acceleration training?
A: Simply, interval training is mainly designed for developing sport specific endurance (or work capacity). A full explanation is here. Acceleration training is a type of speed work designed to improve your ability to get to top speed quickly.
Both these will improve with general training, particularly strength and mobility. However, specific acceleration training can easily be done in a field with a few cones or markers.
Its best done in pairs so you can examine your sprint technique. Mark out a short distance (10-15m or so). Set yourself at the start line. On a cue from your partner, aim to cover the distance as fast as possible, accelerating through the second marker.
It's important to get a full recovery so leave at least 2 minutes between attempts.
Variations on this include:
- Changing start position (lying, sideways, backwards, walking in)
- Wearing batting equipment
- Racing others
- Adding a ball as a cue (i.e. Try to catch it on the second bounce)
Make it a game and they can be a lot of fun, especially when the competitive side comes out!
Keep acceleration sessions short but intense with 5 sets of sprints. Always do them at the start of a training session (after warming up) but you can integrate it in to other training types if you want.
Q: What is steady state running and how does it differ from interval training?
A:Steady state running is simply jogging. So if you were to go on a jog you would want to run about 15-20 minutes nonstop (after a suitable warm up) this helps with reduction of body fat and increases in aerobic capacity. It's not very specific or efficient to do this so it is reserved for the deep off season when the least specific work is done.
This type of training can also include 'long intervals' where you run for 5-10 minutes and walk/jog for 2-3 minutes.
Most cricket endurance training is done via the various shorter interval methods as it is more specific. The main difference between the two types is rest. With steady state you never stop, even if you just drop to walking pace. With intervals you stop between sets.
Q: Can you give me an example circuit session/simple set/super set workout for fast bowlers?
A:I have lumped all these into one question to make it easier to answer.
First, let me explain each method:
- Circuit training is a good way of improving all round fitness and is very time efficient. Typically you move between 5-8 exercises with no rest. After the last exercise you rest for 1-2 minutes and repeat for a given number of 'circuits'.
- Simple set training is the classic gym weights workout. You pick you exercises, how many times you want to lift the weight (rep) and how many times you want to repeat the lift (set). The classic example is the Stronglifts 5x5.
- Super set training is a variation on simple set. You still have exercises in sets and reps but you pair two different (usually opposite) exercises together and do them without rest. This saves time and gives a slightly different effect.
I'm reserving the actual workouts for the PitchVision Academy. This is because there are too many variables (equipment, time available) to be able to cover it all in one article. The fitness section is written by a first class county strength and conditioning coach and will give you position specific workouts.
You can do all these training types with dumbbells or a barbell. Mix in some bodyweight stuff if you like but still stick to the exercises based on movements:
- Knee dominant
- Hip Dominant
- Full body
If you want sample exercises for this I recommend the excellent Men's Health Book of Power Training which has over 300 pages of exercises to put into circuits, simple or super sets, sorted by movement type. It's a brilliant resource.
Q: I don’t have access to a fitness trainer, can I still do Olympic lifts?
A: Olympic lifting (OL) is a very good way of developing speed, strength and power for cricket. You are moving weights with great speed and coordination which translates well to batting, bowling and fielding.
The problem is that they are very hard to learn. It's dangerous to do OL without proper coaching so forget about attempting power cleans or snatches without a coach. That said you can still get a great deal of benefits by using the safer OL variations.
Variations are a single part of full OL, so are safer but still allow you to perform explosive movements and get the benefits. You can safely perform the following moves without a coach (although you may want a training partner to watch your form):
- Squat jump (with and without weight)
- Hang jump shrug
- Clean pull
- High pull
All cricketers serious about improving their fitness should have some variation in there as the power generation benefits are very applicable to cricket. For explanations and pictures of these take a look at the Men's Health Book of Power Training.
That's all the questions about the cricket fitness plan for now. If you have any yourself you can post them here for me to answer.
Image credit: reemer
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.