This is a guest article by powerlifter and club cricketer Brian Wardle.
After my last article on how powerlifting raises cricket performance I got a number of questions about the nuts and bolts of how to set up a programme for cricketers.
This prompted me into writing this article: a detailed beginner’s off-season plan using the conjugate method I talked about last time.
If you have not read the other article I recommend you go back and read it first, especially if you are new to powerlifting as a way of training for cricket.
Beginner’s off season strength programme
As I have mentioned, the plan is based on the conjugate method. This allows you to gain and maintain strength, power and muscle all year long.
This is done through training all physical qualities together in one complete training week.
Here is a typical week’s template for you to follow.
The week is spilt into 4 days with no serious cricket skill training (that’s why it’s off season).
The best way to do it is Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday: if it suits you better you can do Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.
Always warm up with active stretching and foam rolling before you begin your strength and power training.
Day 1: Max Effort Upper Body
A. Core movement (Choose one of the following and work up to a heavy set of 1-5 reps)
- Bench Press
- Floor Press
- Incline Bench Press
- Decline Bench Press
B. Accessory movement (Choose one of the following and perform 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps)
- Close Grip Bench Press
- Dumbbell Bench Press (Neutral Grip)
- Low incline Dumbbell Bench Press
C. Pick an exercise from list 1 and an exercise from list 2 and perform 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps on each
- Bent over Barbell Row
- Bent over Dumbbell Rows
D. Pick 1 exercise and perform 3 sets of 12-15 reps
- Lateral Raise
- Bent over raises
- Single arm dumbbell shoulder press
- Neutral grip dumbbell shoulder press
Day 2: Dynamic Effort Upper Body
A. Core movement (Pick one exercise and perform 8-12 sets of 3 reps EXPLOSIVELY as possible! (rest 30s in between sets)
- Bench Press (use 50-60% of your 1 RM)
- Press up
- Medicine ball chest pass (use 10% of body weight)
B. Accessory Movement (Pick one exercise and perform 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps)
- EZ triceps Extension
- Dumbbell rolling triceps extension
- Overhead rope extension
C. Pick 2 exercises and perform 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps on each
- Dumbbell Push press
- Bradford Press
- Seated dumbbell Neutral grip Press
- Single arm shoulder press
D. Pick one exercise and perform 3 sets of 12 -15 reps
- Face pulls
- Seated row
- Single arm cable row
Day 3: Max Effort Lower Body
A. Core Movement (Pick one exercise and work up to a heavy set of 1-5 reps)
B. Accessory Movement (Pick one exercise and perform 3-4 sets of 4-6 reps)
- Rack pull (below knee height)
- Front squat
- Good morning
- Sumo Deadlift
C. Single Leg Movement (Pick one and perform 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps)
- Step up
- Bulgarian Split Squat
D. Pick one and perform 3 sets of 15-20 reps
- Kettle bell swings
- Supine Hip Extension Leg Curls
- Reverse Hyper Extension
Day 4: Dynamic Effort Lower Body
A. Core Movement (Pick one exercise and perform 8-12 sets of 1-2 reps (of 50-60% of your 1RM) EXPLOSIVELY as possible!)
- Squat (1 rep)
- Deadlift (2 reps)
B. Pick one exercise and perform 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps
- Romanian Deadlift
- Good Morning
- Heavy kettlebell
C. Single Leg movement (Pick one exercise and perform 3 sets of 12-15 reps)
- Pistol Squat
- Terminal Knee Extension
- Walking Lunge
- Sled Pull
D. Choose one to two exercises and perform 3 sets of 10-25 reps
- Band Crunches
- Reverse crunch
- Side Plank
- Cable chops
- Rotate core movements every 2 weeks
- Rotate all other exercises after 4 weeks
- Deload every 4th week (by reducing the weight)
- Always use good technique
- Leave three days between max effort upper and max effort lower days
- Select exercises which strengthen your weaknesses
- Ensure you are medically able to begin the programme. This is your responsibility.
I have seen first hand the power of this method. So why not give it a go in your off-season and find out for yourself?