How 3 Simple Fitness Exercises Improve Spin Bowling Guile | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

How 3 Simple Fitness Exercises Improve Spin Bowling Guile

We all understand how important being strong, balanced and powerful is to a fast bowler, yet we are generally "take it or leave it" when we talk fitness to our spinners.

So, how can being strong benefit a spinner?

In recent studies, it has been established that elite spinners (the Graeme Swann's of this world) have consistent and repeatable actions which enable the bowler to deliver the ball with an "11 o'clock" release position.

Or to put it another way, the lack of physical ability to hold a consistent position at the crease for a sustained period of time means you lose the ability to decieve.

This makes sense to us as we have been coaching this for years. (Phew!)

This arm position allows the ball to be delivered with lateral spin - a combination of side spin and top spin - and as a result the ball can:

  • curve in the opposite direction to its break off the pitch
  • dip thanks to the top spin element
  • break viciously off of the surface

These are the 3 elements of deception within this delivery, all of which stem from the ability to repeat a consistent action with an optimal release position.

This can only be enhanced if the bowler is strong, balanced and powerful.

If the arm gets too upright then the ball will be released with only overspin or topspin and this will mean that the ball will not curve through the air or break off of the pitch as significantly.

So being able to land consistently in the same back foot position, to move through your action and release the ball with your hips and shoulders square to the target is a very physical act.

The more stability and strength a bowler has, the more likely she is to repeat her action over time.

From bowling action to workout

As stated previously, cricket is a game of lunges and with the squat in toe, we have the two fundamental exercises that underpin the physical development of a spinner.

Overhead squats and lunges are perfect for a spinner as they have to be able to control their arms above their heads when bowling.

A broomstick a great way to train the body to support the technical developments that a coach is working on with their bowler.

1. overhead squat for spinners

  • Hold the broomstick with your hands at shoulders width.
  • Raise the broomstick above your head and maintain this position throughout the squat
  • Maintain a strong core throughout each rep
  • Perform up to 8 squats with the broomstick held above your head (with good form)
  • Ensure that your heels remain on the floor throughout each repetition
  • If technique fails, end the set.

Three sets of this exercise twice a week will be sufficient. When the bowler can do three sets of 8 reps easily then move up to 3 sets of 10 or 12 reps.

2. overhead lunge for spinners

Again with the broomstick above your head at shoulder width apart, maintain that position and step into a right leg lunge, controlling the movement as you drop and as you return to a standing position.

Repeat on left leg. Do Reps of 8 on each leg as a set. 3 sets, twice a week, ideally on the same day as your squat, but it is not essential.

You can also vary the exercise with different types of lunge. Click here for details.

3. Partner push/pulls

  • Stand facing your partner, each bowler in their delivery stride
  • Both spinners grip the broomstick with their hands placed approximately shoulders width apart
  • Spinner A has to try and pull spinner B towards herself using their core and arms yet keeping their feet in their locked delivery stride.
  • Spinner B has to resist. This exercise is training the push/pull elements of their physiology.
  • The Spinners reverse their role and have another broomstick battle.

3 reps of each role (pushing and pulling) will make up a session. The session can be repeated on 2 occasions per week.

Add these spinner specific exercises in and see how they reduce their risk of injury, positively impact of your tweakers' ability to bowl for long spells and help them to to deceive batters off the pitch.

Broadcast Your Cricket Matches!

Ever wanted your skills to be shown to the world? PV/MATCH is the revolutionary product for cricket clubs and schools to stream matches, upload HD highlights instantly to Twitter and Facebook and make you a hero!

PV/MATCH let's you score the game, record video of each ball, share it and use the outcomes to take to training and improve you further.

Click here for details.


I can see the link between a low arm action and not getting topspin, because the wrist mechanics that would produce topspin would produce more of a kind of UFO sidespin the lower the arm gets.

but I don't see the link between a high arm action and only being able to bowl topspinners. Corkscrew offspin is available from every arm angle all the way down to horizontal - just ask Randy Johnson to show you his slider.

@ AB, the idea is that if the arm is past the perpendicular, it is physically harder to get your fingers over the top of the ball at the desired point of release. Over spin creates the dip, side spin creates the drift. As the old saying goes, 2 out of 3 isn't bad, but all 3 is better (drift, dip and break).

Core strength amongst young spinners isn't the greatest. Any s & c work regarding core drills together with shoulder strength and mobility will help massively. As Mark said; ideally you want the arm to be around 11 o'clock with shoulder rotation up and over the front leg and not around it. Core strength helps to keep the bowler in a more stable position and not falling away with the arm too high at the point of release, which sadly is all to common especially in young spinners.

Good point about the core Flinty. There are a lot of myths around core training too, so here is a good primer (aimed at batters but works just as well for spinners)

I'm also fast becoming a convert to the kettlebell for core work. It's such a useful, flexible tool.

Hey David, we are aware about the benefits obtained from training with free weights but can u tell us more about resistance bands? Coz nowadays most of the teams at higher level use it for warm ups - so can we do the same plus what specific exercises would u suggest?

Very Useful Article Thank You. A Stable And Strong Position Of The Body Is "Pivotal" To Getting Up On Your Toes And Pivoting And Also To Keep You Upright And Prevent You From Falling.

Most Spinners Have Trouble StaYing Upright And Pivoting, They Often Fall Over And Try Compensate For This By Not Getting Up High Enough And Pivoting, That's When They Lose The Big 3: Drift, Dip And Spin.

some tip for orthodox leftarm spin
how should leftarm spinner use the non balling hand while bowling

What could be a reason for an off-spinner to bowl full tosses when trying to flight the ball