Running with weights: Good for cricket? | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Running with weights: Good for cricket?

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"If i wanted to increase my speed and strength for bowling, would it be odd if i ran on a treadmill with 5KG weights in both of my hands at about 15kph?"

This question was emailed to me recently by a reader.

While the only odd question is one that is not asked, I have to say that training like this would not be the most effective method. Mainly because it wouldn't work, but also because there are many better ways to get the same result.

Creative Commons License photo credit: maHidoodi

Running on a treadmill

Treadmills are useful tools to allow you to run when the weather isn't so good. The problem with them is they are very different to running outside.

  • On a treadmill the ground is moving while you run on the spot. That's the opposite of real running you do on the cricket pitch. This reduces the crossover effect. It also teaches you to run differently, which may actually slow you down.
  • Treadmills encourage steady exercise over longer periods. While this will improve the efficiency of your heart and lungs it will not improve either your speed and strength, even if you crank the treadmill up to something that feels fast. It's more cricket speed specific to sprint on the ground in shorter intervals.
  • Treadmills by their nature cannot teach you how to stop and change direction quickly. Even for bowlers this is an essential skill. You follow through is essentially stopping your momentum after the ball is released and you may need to turn or dive if the ball is hit straight. That's not to mention fielding.
  • Treadmills can't teach you how to jump and land properly, something every bowler with injury prevention in mind must consider.

While a treadmill is a useful tool for bad weather training, if you want cricket specific speed you need to run fast on grass as much as you can. You must include training that teaches you how to stop and change direction quickly and you need to learn how to jump and land with proper mechanics.

Using 5kg weights

Creative Commons License photo credit: ladyb

Running with 5kg weights is not beneficial at all to bowlers. Here is why:

  • To gain strength you need to overload your muscles. Most people can lift 5kg weights without much of a struggle so any overload they do provide will quickly vanish.
  • Holding weight while running will fatigue the arms more quickly. This will breakdown your running technique as your body tries to compensate for the unusual weight at the end of your arms. When you go back to running without weight you may keep that compensation. Slower arms means slower legs.
  • Holding weights in no way reflects what a bowler does on their approach to the wicket. Yes the bowler has the ball but that will never weight more than a few ounces even if you unlucky enough to get a wet ball to bowl with.

In summary, if you want strength you need to overload your muscle in cricket specific ways. That means general strength and power training based on these principles.

If you want a question answered, drop me a line. If I don't know the answer I can always Ask the Readers.

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Thank you David, I appreciate your rapid response. Was talking with my friend on isometric power, as you've said, it wouldn't apply for cricket.

Thank you again.

I read somewhere that running with weights is bad for your joints.

Ty, I must admit I had not heard that but either way it's certainly not a good idea for cricket.

My pleasure Faris.

Hi David, Very good article. I have read that ankle weights are counter productive and actually slow the movements down ( Mel Siff said it in his Facts and Fallacies book) so is doing High Knees around the ground with the Batting Pads bad as well? Or is this functional training for a batsman? Some coaches advice this.

Newbie, when you say high knees do you mean technique drills?

Not sure what you mean by technique drills, but it is running around the ground with alternating high knees. This according to some coaches will help build leg strength and endurance. But sounds like an ankle weight work out?

I can see it as a way of improving running technique if done in small amounts (20 yards drills 2-3 times a week). I would not use it for conditioning or strength puropses.

So ankle weights are okay to use for running technique in small amounts? Its akin to pads and will not break down the coordination between arms and legs

I meant to ask "will it NOT break down the coordination between arms and legs."

I have never tried that newbie. If I wanted to train running technique in pads I would get players to wear pads.

What do you mean running technique in pads? Thats akin to using ankle weights and training technique, its well established by scientists like Mel Siff that it will slow movement down and its a poor way to train. Do you see my point?

Yes it does slow you down, but you play in pads so the best way to train is in pads. I'm not suggesting going for a 20 minute jog in pads, just to do 1-2 sessions a week of technical work in pads if you are a batsman.

Train with pads when you bat and run between wickets. But not high knees runs with pads right? Because its a poor way to train. That was my original question.