Is Deadlifting Good For Cricket? | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Is Deadlifting Good For Cricket?

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Today’s article is a guest post from personal trainer Brian Wardle.

Look at all the top level athletes in the world in any sport.

They all have something in common: a well developed backside.

By this I'm referring to the glutes, hamstrings and lower back. These muscles (and the hip extension movement they control) are important because the stronger they are the better they allow you to:

  • Run fast
  • Turn quick
  • Jump high

and literally perform any athletic movement with grace and style.

So what can you do about it?
Start performing the deadlift!

The deadlift gets a lot of bad news because people believe it to be a dangerous exercise. Performed properly, nothing can be further from the truth.

Deadlifting with good technique

Here are a few tips to help you build a strong posterior chain and a big deadlift:

  • Step up to the bar with your feet approximately hip width apart. Your shins should be about half an inch away from the bar.
  • Bend down to the bar by flexing the hip and knee
  • Take a grip which is just outside of either shin (I would suggest an alternate grip where one hand is facing away from you and the other facing behind. This will make your grip stronger)
  • Keep your back straight and shoulders slightly behind the bar:
  • When you’re ready start to pull the weight from the floor (imagine a piece of string pulling you up from your head)
  • As you get close towards completion of the lift, drive your hips into the bar. Some people call this “humping the bar”
  • Lower the bar under control to about knee height before you let go.

The key to being successful in the deadlift is to start light and gradually increase the resistance.

Technique is paramount!

You want to make sure you’re sending the correct signals from the brain to the muscles as this will translate more to athletic performance, including batting, bowling and fielding.

So don't get left behind.

Start working on your deadlift technique today and who knows you could be the next big star everyone is talking about! 

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Great Bri, from the feet to the top... lovely back!

Poetry in stills Laughing out loud

David Hi

Although this has nothing to do with deadlifting I have seen the Australian and England cricket teams using Battling Ropes as part of their fitness. Do you or any other fitness experts have any views on this?



Grazie! Glad you like.

ps - still working on those crunches you suggested. i will let you know when i can get 1 rep! Eye-wink


For my part, they are not 'must haves' but they are fun!

The main concerns, as with all methods and exercises, are technique and functionality.

With technique, I have seen arms flailing which will cause injury and with functionality, you would use the ropes differently for different sports. You would not use them the same way for cricket as for rugby for instance. Actually, a back would use them differently to a forward too.

However, they are a good way of training strength with explosiveness.

If you are considering purchasing this system, be aware that one rope does not fit all. There are different ropes for beginners, intermediates and advance users and you would not give a child the same rope as an adult. The wrong rope will cause issues with recruitment patterns. There are also different ropes for use outside... be sure not to use them on a lawn!

How will deadlifting help my game exactly? I can't imagine a way in which I would have scored more runs or taken more wickets this year simply by having bigger leg muscles.

Looks like it would just screw up my knees even worse than they already are.

The great thing about those crunches Bri, is you don't actually need to perform even 1 rep to feel the benefits. Even before you manage a movement, the rectus a. is getting a great isometric workout... just make sure the core is fully braced at all times. However, hope to be hearing from you soon with regard to the first one Smiling

AB. Getting stronger is only one facet of improving your game. Obviously more than strength alone is required to improving your game but in terms of improving speed, endurance, power, explosiveness, not to mention co-ordination, flexibility and mobility! the deadlift is a great exercise to do so. I'm sure these attributes would contribute towards athletic performance?

On the contrary AB, deadlifts, if performed correctly, will help support your knees. As for how they can help... power in movement! Deadlifts don't necessarily bulk up the legs, that's up to you how you use them. They condition the legs, reducing injury and increasing speed and strength. They also help with the secret of 'pace' in pace bowling Smiling

I bowl spin though...

I'm sure there are some cricketers out there who could benefit from increased strength and fitness. But in my experience, the limiting factor in most cricketer's games is a combination of technique and cricketing intelligence, not strength and fitness. Ultimately, you don't have to be that strong to hit the ball for six, you don't have to be that fast to be a good runner between the wickets, and you don't have to be that fit to field for 40/50 overs without dying.

Hi AB. Interesting point. With respect, then why do all county sides and international sides employ strength & conditioning specialists and no doubt spend thousands on gyms and training, if in your case its not that important?

All cricketers [even spinners] need to work on their strength, conditioning and fitness to improve and maximise their performance and potential... from grass roots through to elite. If you choose not to, that is up to you. For me, the limiting factor in most cricketers' games is their contentment with the mediocre.

However, for those who are interested, this is a great post from Bri. From a medical point of view, the deadlift is an important exercise for a healthy, long life... not just for sport!

Because a) those guys already have good techniques, mental strength and cricketing intelligence and can afford to spend their time looking at additional stuff, and b) they have to play cricket all day long, for something like 5 days a week, so actually need to be extremely fit and strong. Why? Because when you're physically tired, you lose concentration and your technique starts to deteriorate.

That's simply not the case for the average club cricketer, turning out on a saturday afternoon, having a little bat, eating some sandwiches, bowling a few overs and standing around in the field before going to the pub. Only a basic level of fitness is required to be able to do this effectively: if you can run 2 miles and do 10 pushups then you're probably ok. For the vast majority of the cricketers I work with, they would benefit far more from spending their training time learning to play a proper straight drive than they would working on their leg muscles. Upper body strength, I grant you, can be somewhat useful in batting as it allows you to use a heavier bat without losing fine control over the blade- but its useless if you don't have a functional batting technique to start with.

ok fair enough AB. I guess this article is for the aspiring cricketers out there then. and im sure the reason people read the content of the site is to better them selves.

I'm sure they are - hence the reason I asked how exactly this particular exercise would help me (spin bowler and batsman) become a better cricketer in case I wanted to try it. I was just looking for something along the lines of "It will help you do x, y, and z", where x, y, and z are specific cricketing skills as opposed to generic A-level PE phrases about "optimising performance" and "maximising potential". For example, I'm pretty sure almost everyone in my club is both fitter and stronger than Samit Patel (also a spin bowling allrounder), so how come he's in the England squad and none of us are?

AB I did answer your question, but you insisted on trying to prove me wrong. I don't want to upset anyone. I'm just stating what the deadlift can do for athletic performance.

Well AB, I will take your insults. Unfortunately, your questioning did not lead me to believe that you would understand even A' Level PE let alone a brief explanation. As coaches we are always encouraged to pit the answers at the questioner's level.

Out of curiosity... I take it you are a coach... how would you respond if one of your players responded to you with such disrespect?

I'm not insulting or disrespecting anyone, and if one of my performers asked me a specific question that I couldn't answer exactly, and I wouldn't feel I deserved their respect. I'm merely asking for an answer to my question: "how would the deadlift specifically improve my cricketing performance?". So far no-one has actually answered that question.

Unfortunately, so much sports coaching is obfuscatory nonsense and repetitive cliches: a coach repeats the same phrases to the performer that they heard when they were being coached, but no-one actually knows what any of it means - I've seen this in every sport I've ever been involved with. You stand there are ask either of them to explain what they're talking about in any detail and neither of them can. So what use is that to anyone? Simply repeating a meaningless mantra helps no-one improve.

Just saying "this exercise will make you better at sport" isn't good enough. I want to know HOW and WHY it will make me better. Seeking detail is the only route to actually understanding a problem. See my article on timing as an example - thousands of cricketers talk about "timing the ball well" every Saturday - but virtually none of them actually know what timing is if you ask them to explain it.

AB no problem. If you had phrased your question a little bit differently from the start then you may have gotten a different answer. Sorry the contents of this article upset you. I guess its true when they say you can't please everyone.

It didn't upset me at all Brian, its a perfectly good article. Would you say this exercise is more relevent to quick bowlers who specifically need leg strength to be able to bowl fast?

Absolutely! I think you need to re-read your posts AB. I always answer clear questions put to me and have often written extremely long posts in explanation. However, your tone of phrase does not inspire any free assistance or advice. For your information, both Brian and I 'can' answer the question, and I probably will if asked without the sarcasm.

With respect to your article, as a cricket performance analyst at elite level, I found it quite unhelpful; covering the obvious and condescending to 'thousands of cricketers'. However, I would never have commented such as I would have thought it extremely ill mannered.

Go on then, Liz.

Liz Hi

Thanks for the feedback on the Battling Ropes. Is there anything you don't know about fitness?

I recently heard Andy Flower talk about fitness to a group of young elite cricketers. It is quite clear that fitness plays an important part in being considered to be picked for England. Although there are fitness experts within the ECB there is also responsibility from the individual to maintain a required level. Lifestyle also is important.

The audience was left in no doubt that you have to be fit to play cricket. If you take the current Indian touring team they have had a diet of 20/20 and one day cricket. Their bodies are conditioned for it. However, test cricket poses different demands on the body, especially fast bowlers.

Let's hope for a good contest at Edgbaston.

Robin Collins

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It's interesting that Kevin Pietersen, a big hitting batsman capable of hitting double centuries without losing technique (so no shortage or strength or stamina there) famously refuses to go to the gym, and instead uses distance running to keep himself in shape. I can't really imagine Strauss or Trott lifting serious weights either. What about Tendulkar? Lara? Bradman? How much could they deadlift? Did Bradman even once go in a gym?

KP is KP. I'm sure he will have some structure to his S&C routine and the same for Strauss and Trott. Especially Trott now he is out with injury. One of the reasons the game has progressed to the level it is at now is through fitness. The game is a lot faster than it was 20 years ago and that's in part to do with improvements in players strength and fitness.

Look at it like this, if strength and fitness wasn't all that important then females would be able to compete alongside males. but this isn't the case. The key factor is that men are stronger. Hence why they bowl faster and hit the ball further.

Absolutely Robin! So pleased the Test is going ahead.

On the subject of Duraband, I know many players, of varying ages, who have bought into this system and have made huge improvements. They actually keep it in their cricket bag for any 'downtime' during training or matches.

To be honest, I cannot find anything bad to say about it... and I have tried! Sorry Ian Laughing out loud , but it keeps coming up with its own solutions.

Years ago I used to prescribe weighted bats and weighted balls with all kinds of different exercises. The Duraband takes away all the fiddly prep and has the added bonus of being able to be used anywhere and on your own if necessary. This system really does target the right areas. Word of warning though, it only works if you take it out of the bag occasionally. Eye-wink

Basically, we have two major types of cricketers, those who believe it is a recreation and those who believe it is a sport. For any sport, you need to be fit to participate. If you participate to keep fit, recreation is all it will ever be, until you have to give up due to poor joints and back issues.

Of course its a sport and you need to be fit to participate, that's stating the obvious. As I said before, if you're not able to run a couple of miles and do 10 pushups, then your game will suffer. Any more than that is a bonus, but not nearly as beneficial a use of time as simply working on your technique and tactical acumen.

As to whether someone who is already more than fit enough to play a saturday league game without getting particularly fatigued would particularly benefit - as a cricketer - from getting that much fitter, well thats another question. Probably not that much I would suggest.

If we're honest, we should admit that you need to be a lot less fit to be an effective club cricketer than you do to play football or rugby.

AB, you cannot say, "Of course its a sport and you need to be fit to participate, that's stating the obvious."

There are lots of reasons why somebody may wish to participate and not all are 'fit'. I will not even go into the guys in wheelchairs who cannot run your couple of miles nor do push ups, or those mentally or emotionally disadvantaged. Their game is still cricket.

I know a lot of people who play for recreation, some are fit for other reasons and quite a few are not. Personally, I can see what a great way to spend a sunny, Sunday afternoon in the late spring/summer; socialising with your mates, having a few drinks, and most of all, a laugh. That is still cricket!

You must face the fact that not all people, let alone cricketers, have the same ideals as you and you must learn to accept this. You have, and have had, a great opportunity to voice your opinions in your own articles, why do you appear intent on hijacking somebody else's article just to disagree?

OK, this article is not for you. We get that, but why attempt to prevent those interested in this kind of activity from learning from somebody who knows what he is talking about? I, for one, am extremely grateful to Brian, being totally fed up with reading total rubbish on the subject elsewhere.

You also need to bear in mind that this site was set up to include fitness too, for those who want it. David has excellent resources on here and even an online course. Perhaps you should consider purchasing it to improve your knowledge on the subject.

You are contradicting yourself Liz, as earlier you said "ALL cricketers [even spinners] need to work on their strength, conditioning and fitness to improve and maximise their performance and potential... from GRASS ROOTS through to elite", and now you lauch a remarkable diatribe claiming that there is no need for grass roots players to be fit after all! Whoops!

You need to figure out what it is you are trying to say and say it in a clear and concise manner, rather than trying to score points by boasting about how "elite" your coaching skills are.

I'm not disagreeing with Brian at all, I'm disagreeing with you, because after you picked a fight with my entirely inoffensive initial question, it has become apparent that you don't actually know what you're talking about, and instead choose to repeat banal and meaningless slogans at me, such as "improve and maximise performance and potential". When I asked you a straightforward question yesterday, you were unable to answer it.

No AB. The point is, to maximise one's performance... to make something of one's talent... you need to work on your strength, conditioning and fitness. What I appreciate, which you do not appear to, is that not everybody wishes to maximise their potential and/or performance on the cricket field; some just wish to have fun. There is room in this World for both.

This article is for those who wish to make something of their cricket. To be honest, those who are not interested would bypass this article, and they have every right to.

I am quite able to answer your question, I choose not to... that choice is mine.

I think it is about time you got out of the primary school playground and stopped trying to hijack Brian's article. If you have something to say on the matter, and wish to be centre of attention, write your own.

We have established this article is not for you. Get over yourself, you are not the only cricketer in the World and others have the right to information you do not. If you do not want to know how to perform these exercises well... simple, do not read the article. That choice is yours!

AB as an independent observer, your only embarassing yourself. Quite frankly what are you doing on this site, if you have no intention of keeping an open mind or at least respecting what coaches have to say. If you know it all and your posts above clearly suggest you think you know best, go away and continue doing whatever your doing. No one is forcing these views on you. Live and let live.

I play cricket at a reasonable level (premier division, home counties) and can tell you the deadlift is an exercise for the serious cricketer: one who takes pride in their strength and physical performance. Considering your only a spinner, I can certainly say your not well placed to judge how effective a certain exercise may or may not be and as you mentioned Samit Patel, I'd advise you to continue following his physical routines as it seems you do so already.

Also AB, in case you hadn't noticed, this website is for those cricketers looking to improve. You clearly aren't.

[Treat people with the respect you expect to be treated with.]

Maybe you would be willing to answer my question then, "Gee", as Liz is clearly unable to. Why don't you give it a shot? All I have asked for in this thread is a coherent explanation. I have treated people with respect, asked an innocent question that was met with a level of aggression and sarcasm that was not befitting for this site.

Please don't make ad hominem assertions about my physical fitness, which you know nothing about. This website is not the place for offensive personal insults. If you wish to get involved in the discussion then please keep it civil and don't follow Liz's example of refusing to discuss cricket and resorting to insults instead.

Repeat your lost in all your rambles.

Ok cool. The question was quite simple: I understand how deadlifting can help a fast bowler, as it adds power to their action which should translate into extra velocity. But how exactly (ie in purely cricketing terms, not just general fitness) would it be of assistance to a batsman or spin bowler (who we are assuming is already sufficiently fit and strong enough to compete at the best level they can without a problem).

It's not an accusatory question at all. I just thought it would be interesting to discuss the cricketing applicability of the exercise. Unfortunately the only response I have received so far are "it makes you better because it makes you better" and numerous insults about my fitness, which has been very disappointing!

And also refer to my previous post, if you wish to be treated with respect, treat others with respect firstly.


I think I just did, did I not? Did you find my reply to you disrespectful?

If you look through the posts above, not once have I personally insulted another users level of fitness nor boasted about my own cricketing ability. I have repeatedly praised the quality of this article. And what did I get in return?

"I'd advise you to continue following his physical routines as it seems you do so already" - clearly implying I'm fat (I'm not as it happens).

"your questioning did not lead me to believe that you would understand even A' Level PE let alone a brief explanation" - an incredibly patronising and insulting remark.

"As coaches we are always encouraged to pit the answers at the questioner's level." - clearly implying that I'm stupid (I'm not, as it happens).

To say nothing of an attack on an article of my own, without any coherent cricketing reason given. Personal abuse such as this has no place on this site and should be stamped out.

Sure; Main thing I would highlight about the deadlift is the fact it strengthens your lower back and legs. This can be translated to an increase in athleticism, explosive power...

If your a cricketer with aspirations of playing cricket at a better level, this would improve your physical base no end. With all the limited overs cricket at club level, any added batting power or pace to your spin is always welcome. At this point I'd like to point out how few spinners get up to the late 50mph, early 60mph giving the ball a good rip. Strength in the lower part of your body can certainly help generate more momentum and gain those extra mph which differentiates a good spinner from a slow average club spinner who anyone can take a good stride out to. [In fact if your legs are providing more power to generate the pace as a spinner, you have more scope to concentrate on your bowling arm and variations in some cases.]

I respect your opinion about being sufficiently strong already etc. but with all due respect there's no such thing..whether your sachin tendulkar or dale steyn or say an average club cricketer, there is always room for improvement. Depends on whether a person has the heart and drive to seek improvement. Survival of the fittest as they say Eye-wink

Thank you for a sensible answer at last!

What do you mean by "athleticism" exactly? Everyone seems to mean something different.

In my case, I'd think of it directly in terms of an athlete..i.e that spring in your step...the ability to run and launch yourself at something naturally, fluidly as in the case of say a long jumper, javelin thrower or even sprinter ..

AB I'd cut Liz some slack..she was trying to help you but was confronting a very abrasive personality it seemed, which was why I posted originally.

I'm not an abrasive personality at all! I'm very friendly, as anyone who uses this site reguarly will tell you. I have made hundreds and hundreds of posts on this site attempting to help people's games and answer their questions, simply because I love to talk about cricket and share whatever knowledge I have with others. In this case I was merely defending myself from repeated and unwarranted attacks on my character, knowledge, cricketing ability, personal fitness, you name it.

Sure, glad we got somewhere in the end Smiling

My initial question and your explanation actually now form a useful addendum to the article - if we could just cut out the middle 40 posts!

Wow. My inbox is jammed! lol.

I think looking back at all this, the deadlift alone will not guarantee you will take more wickets or score more runs. what it will do is serve as a tool to help develop or improve ones ability to move better and react quicker. How does the deadlift do this? well, the sheer complication of the movement ensures that muscle groups have to work together in co-ordination (inter-muscular co-ordination) and that muscles themselves have to contract and produce force (intra-muscular co-ordination). Also, with the fact that the hip knee and ankle go through triple extension when doing the dealift mimics the movement pattern of sprinting.

Another few key advantages of the deadlift is that it works, core strength, grip strength and scapular stability.

I guess this all could warrant an article of its own, but my purpose was really to introduce the deadlift and highlight some key technique pointer.

I appreciate all the contributions so far. Lets not all fall out over such a trivial issue.

all the best guys Laughing out loud

no. dont delete the posts. this is the biggest laugh on facebook at the moment. That ab is a legend lol. Only sent it to my team, but its now all over the district. no ones interested in the article but we not had this much fun all summer. shame his dad didnt disconnect the thesaurus button before he let him on his computer though lol.

cum on ab. tell us who you are.

Was this someone pretending to be AB. or have i missed something here?

Interesting, if heated debate! I think an article is called for here. Watch this space.

Having spent the last couple of days sending long emails and PMs on BC on the subject, would be great to compare notes Eye-wink

Hope you had fun!

Thank you very much for the great explanation in your PMs on BC Liz. It took a while but I am so grateful I found you there.

As I said, I am not that hot on fitness but reading what you had to say, biomechanically more than anything else, I will be joining my son in a new regime.

My wife and mother-in-law were really taken by what you had to say about women, especially the physiology of certain programmes. So few fitness people bother to cover this area; concentrating on the physical.

Thanks again!

Thank you Ben, no worries... cheque in the post Laughing out loud.

If you want any further information, you know where I am. Register and you can ask direct.

In the pictures the guy has his hands facing opposite directions, why is this the case. When I do it like that I feel like my body is twisting and I cant stand up perfectly straight

It gives you a stronger grip to be able to lift more weight. It's not compulsory but the other method the "snatch grip" weakens your ability to lift, but it's up to you.