"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.
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
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.
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