How strong should a cricketer be? | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

How strong should a cricketer be?

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"I think if you are going to train, you need a goal. If we are going to train for strength, we need to know what strong is. The four-minute mile is a great example. In 1957 Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile. On that day he broke a twelve year old record. By the end of 1957 sixteen runners had also broken the four-minute mile. It's amazing what someone will do once they have seen that it is possible. Twelve years to break the record and sixteen followers in one year."

Strength coach Michael Boyle tells us how strong he thinks strong is. I have come across a few mentions recently to testing for strength but have never found any references to how strong coaches think cricketers should be. Boyle's standards are pretty high (as you would expect) but a good template to work from for club players who want to know what to aim for. I have adapted these standards for club cricket. Disclaimer: This is not researched data, it's my own standards based on what I have seen in adult men cricketers. It is not supposed to be a programme. Use this information for reference only.

1RM (One Rep Max) means the most weight you can lift for 1 repetition only before you fail. It's hard to test this but you can work it out from higher repetitions. There is a calculator here. In summary, when testing strength, Boyle says:

The key is well-rounded strength, not impressive performance on a "pet" lift.

If you work in cricket fitness and have norms yourself, please let me know.

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.



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Any reason why have you left out the back squat?

Mainly because I don't use it. I have never seen any norms for it in cricket terms either.

I saw similar stuff for basketball, baseball, and other American sports. I was always curious to see where cricketers would stand. Thanks!

is it because Mike Boyle does not advocate it? is not the front squat more quad dominant unlike the correct back squat which works the quads, hammies and glutes?

I'm not against the back squat by any means. Squatting is a tool and I find the front squat a safer tool because (as Boyle says) it's harder to get wrong.

It is more knee dominant but I think that is a good thing, it means you can focus your hamstring work on more functional exercises like RDL's single leg deadlifts and hip lifts.

not really strong.. whats the standard for internationals?

Faris, I agree it's all relative anyway. Cricket is mainly a skill sport so strength is not the main aspect. most club players would not be at those levels so it is somethign to aspire to. For those who are there, like yourself, there is a law of diminishing return. For example, is there much cricketing difference between being able to squat 1.25x and 1.75x your bodyweight? I would suggest not much at all.

I don't have norms for internationals but bear in mind if you are a top international you have very little time to improve your strength significantly as you play cricket all year round. I would imagine the norms at pro level to be around the same if not slightly lower.

[...] I mentioned some standards for cricketers strength. I have also had a request for how fast a cricketer should be so I’m borrowing some norms from [...]

David, Doubt many strength coaches agree with Boyle on this. The correct back squat is also safer from my experience. It is the better functional exercise for the posterior chain.

Newbie, I agree that the correct back squat is excellent when done correctly. The reason I pefer the front squat is that it's much harder to do wrong.

I take your point about the back squat requiring more hamstrings. However I see that as a disadvantage if anything. I squat for knee dominance and do posterior chain work for hip dominance. If you try to combine the two you lose out on hip dominance.

Not that I am anti-back squat or anything. I just think of the front squat as a more functional choice for the reasons above. If you want to back squat and love back squatting then carry on. I would prefer to see a player back squatting than not squatting at all!

back squat for some leg power MAN!

Agreed, squatting is excellent all round. Every cricketer should squat with as many variations as possible: body weight, back, front, med ball thow squats, jump squats and split squats.

David, This is the same reason that Boyle gives, with due respect its because he does not know how to teach the correct back squat.

newbie, I have never seen him coach in person so I could not say either way.

As I say, I am not against the back squat when performed correctly. I just don't use it very often for the reasons I have given.

Thats why its important how to learn to teach the correct back squat. There are some good coaches out there. Boyle's take on the back squat is more a market position than anything else.

I can't say I follow your logic there friend. Care to explain why?

A market position is one that a coach adopts to sell his system of training or products. A kind of USP.

A low bar back squat is a lot safer than a front squat and a much more effective exercise. You should try it.

I'm still not following as to why it's safer and more effective in your view. I apologise.

Again, I'm not anti back squatting: It's a fine exercise for strength. I'm anti BAD back squatting. I'm sure you are anti that too though.

Hi, I read the article because I'm 15 now and I feel I'm a little too lean. I don't know if its too early for weights and so on. And also, I play for the National French Team, and the trainer told me that cricketers build up their muscles in length. I don't know if he's right.

David, Back squat is more effective because it works the posterior chain better than a quad dominant front squat. Bad anything is foolish, but I even have a kid age 13 who back squats 154 pounds for 5 RM below parallel. He is certainly very strong on the field now and his running has improved too.

Cameron its not too early. Get a good coach to teach you the big lifts, squat, deadlift, bench, over head press and the power clean and you will strong enough fast. Take a look at where there are Q&A sections from the best strength coaches.

Again newbie I think we will have to agree to disagree. I prefer front squat and I have said why. Nothing you have said has convinced me otherwise. I'm sure nothing I say will convince you otherwise.

Cameron, you can't change muscle length by weight training. Only growing your bones will do that.

As to everything else I agree with what newbie said, just remember the principles of training and you will not go far wrong.

David, You repeated what boyle has said and I am not here to convince you. Its your call on which route you want to take. But are you saying that the front squat works the posterior chain better than the correct back squat? The front squat may be used as an assistance lift but as a core lift it lacks the benefits of the back squats.

Not meant to offend you and other well meaning cricket coaches and physio therapists, but to have a good understanding to address strength and conditioning and exercise related issues, one must be at least be NSCA CSCS certified. The ECB or ACB cricket coaching certifications are not sufficient in this area. PTs & cricket coaches should remain in their own domains and their wards will be better served with advice from qualified and experience S& C coaches. Even great cricketers turned coaches like Greg Chappell really do not have a sufficient understanding in this area as discussed earlier. So beware.

No, the front squat is not an effective posterior chain exercise. As I said I prefer more functional options for that: hip lifts, single leg swiss ball hamstring curls, single leg good morning/deadlift and pull-throughs.

As I'm sure you will say: you disagree. Are either of us wrong? I doubt it. Will it make much difference? Well we would have to do a head to head study to compare methods but I suspect the difference would be minimal: both methods produce results.

I agree that S&C coaches must be qualified and experienced to do testing like this.

Also let's get this debate in context. Most club cricketers do not squat AT ALL (certainly in the UK). Any squatting would be beneficial to most and the debate about wether the load is on the front or back is moot.

[...] strong and powerful you [...]

are lower weights more effective for the upper body and higher weights for the lower body. if this is the case then would the strong lift 5x5 be as useful. and up is it lower weights for the upper body ?

Generally speaking, no. If in doubt go for the lower reps/higher weight (with good technique). However it does depend. What are your goals?

my goal to to increse pace and still keep supple and flexible but mainly pace. i want to build a athletes physique. do you know of any training professional do in terms of incresing pace and preventing injury.

Follow the instructions here

so i want to be bigger and stronger to be a fast bowler any tips to show how i cn improve ma bdy shape i want to be strong and a bit big

See my answer above raz. Let me know if it helps.

Are these standards International? Domestic? Club? or what, thanks

Bear in mind these are not official standards by any means, so they are open to discussion and interpretation. However, I would be happy seeing any level player at that standard. There is no reason why a club player could not be as strong as outlined.

My name is Abdul i have just turned 16 and i am turning 6ft, i am a fast bowler and open the bowling for any parts of the game I also play for county and open the bowling for them too.
I am told that i am one of the fastest bowlers for my age in the country i can constatnly bowl at mid 70's i know this because my coaches have used speed guns. My questtion is that i want to be professianal cricket player and one of the fastest bowlers of the game. I do lots of weight lifting and various high fitness regimes this causes my body to undergo a lot of stress but the rewards are great. I am told you need good upper body strength to be a fast bowler and broad shoulders that is why i do this i want to know if this fitness idea is a good thing i have been doing weight lifting for almost 5 years and have not experineced anything bad
Thanks for your help