Interval training: The fast way to more cricket endurance | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Interval training: The fast way to more cricket endurance

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What is interval training and how can it make you a better player? Back in 2006 I answered that question with a post about the best way to run to cricket success. To summarise my stance then (and now): I love interval running for the following reasons:

  • It's cricket specific because it reflects the stop-start nature of the game.
  • You can the same fitness results in less time.
  • You can integrate it with fielding drills.
  • It speeds up your metabolism which is good for fat burning.
  • It's a flexible system that can be adapted to your needs.
  • It's less boring than running round the streets for hours.

Interval training comes in quite a few different formats that are designed to train different energy systems (something I talk about more here). In order to best use the method you need to know how it fits your needs.

How much interval training do I need?

If your goal is improved endurance above all other factors (speed, strength, power and the like) then you will do more interval training than if you are simply trying to maintain your current levels. Already fit players looking to improve further can do energy system work almost every day (alternating between interval runs and other methods).

You can maintain current levels with 1-2 interval runs per week. If you are unfit I would still advise 2-3 interval sessions a week but start at a slow pace and build up the intensity. The disclaimer is, as always, that you should consult your doctor before embarking on a training program.

It's best to do some kind of interval work all year round whatever your goal. Simply change the number and length of sessions depending on your goals.

What does an interval training session look like?

The basic structure of an interval training session is always the same:

  1. Warm up beforehand.
  2. Run for distance or time then rest for time. Repeat.
  3. Cool down and stretch afterwards.

The interesting part is how much you should run, how much you should rest and how hard you should run. Again, this depends on your goal. In the table below I outline the work/rest/intensity ratio for the goal you have.

Generally cricketers should focus on work capacity, pure speed and ATP-PC work as these are the most specific. Mix up the sessions as much as you can while keeping the overall goal in mind at all times.



Cricket Interval Training

Goal Distance Intensity Rest Sets
ET 100-200m 60-70% 30-90s 10-20
IT 30-80m 80-90% 30-120s 10-20
Speed 20-40m 90-95% 2-4m 5-10
ATP-PC 20-80m 95-100% 2-5m 5-10



Key ET = Extensive Tempo, general work capacity IT = Intensive Tempo, general work capacity (1 IT workout to every 3 ET workouts) ATP-PC = Cricket Specific interval training Notes

  • Intensity can be self analysed. Most people can roughly judge what percentage speed they are running at compared to maximum. The alternative is to test before starting the plan. Then calculate times.
  • To make to workouts more cricket specific batsman can wear pads, carry a bat and run the distance between wickets including turning correctly. Bowlers can perform a shadow bowl after every interval.
  • Fielding drills can be factored in. There are some excellent drills in the SAQ cricket book for conditioning.

How long should I rest between workouts?

Rest time means recovery time. It is as important as the training itself. As a rule the more intense the session the longer break you need before the next session. Extensive tempo training can be performed again 8-12 hours later. Intensive tempo work needs 36-48 hours recovery. ATP-PC and speed work can take up to 72 hours to recover due to high neural demand.

It's a good idea not to do any interval running on the day before or the day of a match unless it is very low intensity. This will stop you feeling physically drained when you are on the field.

You can still train while you are resting between interval sessions. Strength training is a good option (although not after a very intense speed workout). Always listen to your body first.

Finally, this information is not gospel. Everyone responds in broadly similar ways to training but there are many individual differences. You may need to start at a lower intensity or do less sets for example. As long as you are progressing by gradually improving each session you have nothing to worry about. There are no prizes for being a hero and getting injured.

If you want more specific information please drop me a line via the Ask a Question section.

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.


© Copyright miSport Holdings Ltd 2008


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great article David! thanks for posting it

Excellent article David, and kudos for your sincere efforts on this website.

Your articles are always perfectly timed. I have just started looking into this stuff. Also does HIIT have a place in cricket in areas such as weight lifting?

Thanks for your kind comments all.

HIIT is an area I have not fully examined. As I understand it, it is a form of interval work designed for fat loss. Unlike cricket intervals it can be done on other equipment like bikes or rowing machines too.

I have never seem the method applied to weight lifting although I have seen complexes and circuits used with weights to improve work capacity and cut fat.

Everyone responds to HIIT Laughing out loud

Not a good idea to use HIIT for weight lifting. Remember you are training to be a better cricketer and that all fitness and strength work is only a general preparation. The best way to cut fat is to fix your diet. I think Berardi is your man.

[...] loss/endurance but this is the first book I have seen so much detail on the topic. Of course cricketers still need to run, but as an option to further boost your fitness it’s a great [...]

How many reps (approx) per set would you recommend for someone with good base fitness?

I'm not sure what you mean Andy as interval training does not utilise reps and sets. Can you elaborate?

Ah, so in the above table, where it says sets, it simply means i should say, in a training session, run between 100-200m at 60-70% intensity with the required rest 10-20 times etc. Right?

Correct, sorry for being unclear on that.

Excuse me David, but what are the ET and IT sprints designed to achieve? The speed and ATP-PC are pretty self explanatory, but what do the others help with

James, they are designed to increase general capacity/endurance in a more cricket specific way (and in less time than long, slow running). ET is longer distances so less intensive. IT is shorter distances run faster (but not at sprint pace).

Does that help at all?

Yes, thats great David. So ET/IT is just for cricket specific fitness and the ATP-PC is about improving the aerobic capacity which is useful for the short bursts of energy specific to cricket? Is that is or have I just moved far from the point?

Great article by the way, makes me want to get out and run!

You are in the ball park James. They are all methods to develop aerobic capacity (apart from the Speed section). ET is general conditioning, IT is an 'upgraded' version of ET: much harder so done less. ATP-PC is the most cricket specific. There is a lot of crossover but all should be used for variety.

Ok, thanks a bunch David, great article


I live in the country, and I run on the driveway, when I do running. I ground is reasonably flat, but in parts uneven. Is it still ok to do interval running on this?

The risks of running on uneven ground are slipping and falling or turning your ankle. You will have to decide if the ground is too uneven to run at pace with confidence. The other risk of running on concrete/tarmac is the high impact felt in your joints. A running track or flat open field/cricket oval is far better if you can find one.

Cheers David, that helped me alot with deciding what to train on. Thanks.

I would like to ask about the intensity of interval running. I can understand that ATP-PC is to sprint at your maximmum. But if you can tell like at what speed should ET(60-70%) should be. I'm guessing round 14-15 kph and then the rest a bit more.

You can't really say a set speed as everyone is different. However most people can guess at what 70% of their maximum is quite accurately. It means fast but not all out sprinting essentially.

Which would be most suited for a fast bowler?

Is it possible to perform this on an exercise bike instead of running it, as it is only possible for me to run in my driveway (concrete).

You can use a bike but it is less effective.

what about doing it on a cross trainer. any advantages disadvantages. does the rest periods and work intensitys still stay the same. what about doing interval training with strong 5x5 workout in off season. thank you

Similar story with a cross trainer zishan. The transfer onto the pitch is reduced because you are not running. Although if it is your only option it's better than doing nothing and the work/rest stays the same. As to stronglifts 5x5 I see no reason to do intervals on stronglift rest days. That said, you need to be well trained to do both and so I would not recommend starting both at the same time for a beginner. Build up to it.

if i have done training of planks sit ups push ups and side planks for 6 weeks plus some cross training work then 2 week rest can i start from where i left off or back from the beggining. i also heard strong lift increses muscle size is this true ?

thank you

I don't really understand your first question. Stronglifts uses a methodology that will make you strong rather than big. That said, will will get hypertrophy (muscle gain) as a side effect of strength gain.

Hi David,

Interval training: i've tried it on treadmills and found it kind of awkward, as the action of sprinting isn't quite as stable as simple jogging - i don't like reaching for the 'interval' button when i'm running flat out; the 'ground' is moving, that sort of thing. So I stay outside to run however the place i live rains a bit, forcing me inside - I don't suppose there's something I can do like interval training (short bursts and all that) that doesn't involve a treadmill? Rowing or maybe bikes

...or maybe crosstrainers?

Yes all can be used if you have no alternative. However, running outside is by far the best option.

looks good. Can we also do it in sets & reps to be more cricket specific (say 6 reps. 4sets.)?

just wondering in the table on the recovery time does the m stand for minutes or metres

That would be metres.

This arcltie went ahead and made my day.

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sir can u pls also upload a diet plan for a cricketer??