Strength training for bowlers | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Strength training for bowlers

Great bowlers at any level are strong, fast, injury free and talented: The first three you can achieve with the right training, the last one needs the right parents.

As we can't change your mum and dad, we might was well focus on training.

Yesterday we talked about how to make running an interesting and specific exercise for bowlers. Today I want to help with your strength training.

Debunking the myths

Before we get into some training ideas and drills I want to tell you what strength training for bowlers is NOT:

  • Strength training will not make you so big and bulky that you cannot bowl. It's about developing strength in the muscles you need to bowl. There is a big difference.
  • Strength training does not have to be dull, done alone or intimidating. It can be very specific and done in many places with fellow players.
  • Strength training is not a replacement for actually bowling. Playing cricket always comes first. Your training is an essential add on to improve further and prevent injury.

Fundamentals of cricket strength

If you are just starting out with a new training plan take some time to look at the introductory articles on The Complete Guide to Cricket Fitness

Strength drills for bowlers

Once you know the basics (and you do really need to at least have read the posts in Part One of the link above to get a better picture of what I'm getting at) you can try some bowler specific strength training. These are some sample drills. If you have others or want to try some different ones get in touch with me.

You can incorporate these drills into strength training sessions, or put some time aside at the start of you cricket skill sessions to do some strength work. As always, don't forget to warm up and cool down.

  • Resisted bowling. Wearing a weighted jacket or resistance belt (with partner), run in and bowl off a shortened run up. Do this for 6 sets of 6 reps with 2 minutes rest between sets. You can do this with or without a ball but ensure your running and bowling action are good, especially as you get tired.
  • Heavy ball bowling. Bowl an 8 ball over off a short run. The first four with a heavy ball, then two with a tennis ball and two with a normal cricket ball. Rest for 2 minutes and repeat for 6 sets.
  • Bowling circuits. I will be posting more on circuit training soon but in the meantime, take a look at the circuit here. You can add in more bowling-relevant exercises to the circuit to make it specific to you. For example, medicine ball routines or the drills listed above.

As all these drills get easier you can increase the number of sets and reps to increase the intensity and keep your strength moving upwards.

More bowling and fitness tips soon, so subscribe for updates.


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[...] I would encourage players in Kelvin’s position to get even more cricket specific. Cut out the long runs, replacing them with interval training, including this bowler specific fitness plan. For building up strength, try these bowler specific drills. Look here for upper body power drills to help with you batting and bowling. [...]