The One Secret Exercise You Need to Improve Bowling Speed | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

The One Secret Exercise You Need to Improve Bowling Speed

Exercises to Bowl FasterYour hips are the powerhouse of the bowling action: You have leapt to the crease, landed with a braced front leg and there is a surge of energy heading up your body like a pole vaulter's pole sends them over the bar.


But wait.

Before the energy can get into the ball to sear it down, it needs to get through your body. This is where your hips snap through with perfect timing. Coaches like Ian Pont call it hip drive. Every single super-fast bowler has it because it works.

Your hips are the first place to look if you are not bowling fast, and if you want to bowl faster. So, how do you learn to drive your hips effectively? It's a complex movement that involves the thighs, glutes, core and lats. It takes coordination and power.

The good news is that hip drive is a learned skill. You don't need to do naturally to be able to do it. If your hips are holding you back you can do some simple work to develop the ability to snap your hips.

Ultimate exercise for fast bowlers

To me that sounds very much like an old Russian exercise recently popularised in the west; the kettlebell swing.

Using this unusually shaped weight ("cannonball with a handle") you can perform a swing exercise that teaches you - guess what - a hip snap that looks remarkable like a fast bowler's hip drive. It teaches you the coordination you need to use all that ground force energy to put into the ball.

It also improves your overall power in just two 12 minute sessions a week. And the conditioning effect is perfect for when you want to build your endurance for longer spells, or you want to come back for a second spell just as fast as the first.

If you have no gym access and limited funds to buy kit, an investment in a kettlebell is the perfect answer.

What's not to love about that?

Get your hands on a kettlebell

There are different weights to choose from, and the best way to know is to try. Here is a simple guideline if you are unsure:

  • Advanced men: 24kg
  • Men: 16kg
  • Advanced women: 12kg
  • Women: 8kg

Younger athletes halve the recommended weights for adults (depending on age, size and strength).

You can get started right away and hone your technique as you go. Start with two times a week training two sets of 10 swings.

You can build this up gradually over time, adding more sets and reps as you get stronger and better at the movement. If you want to get more snap in your bowling, you can also do a couple of sets of 10-20 swings before you bowl. It's best to do this as close as possible to bowling time, on match day morning at least.

If you are using it for conditioning you will have more reps with a shorter rest time between sets. You are trying to get gassed (and leaving time to recover before a game). If you are using it for power, you have less sets and reps, a longer recovery time and your focus is on developing the hip snap power you can take to a game.

Be it power, conditioning or both, you can expect noticeable results within four weeks. Most people notice within two weeks. Your bowling will have more snap, you will become leaner and more focused as your fitness improves. Batsmen will be more hurried and you'll get the fast bowler's swagger of confidence.

There is no one way to use the swing to your advantage, as it depends on your needs and resources, but assuming you are a fast bowler playing cricket on Saturdays, your routine could look like this:

  • Monday: Conditioning circuit: Kettlebell swings, push ups, chin ups, lunges and pallof press.
  • Tuesday: Light mobility, no kettlebells
  • Wednesday: Training, warm up with two sets of 10 swings
  • Thursday: Power training: Five sets of 10 swings focusing on a powerful hip snap.
  • Friday: Conditioning circuit: Kettlebell swings, push ups, chin ups, lunges and pallof press.
  • Saturday: Morning power: three sets of 10 swings.
  • Sunday: Rest and recovery

Proper weightlifters spend years honing their technique in exercises like cleans and snatches. The kettlebell has a big advantage: you have much less to learn to get similar results. You can use this as a low cost, simple and effective tool in your fast bowling toolbox.

Get a couple hidden somewhere at your ground and in your gym and watch your hips become super-explosive in less than a month.

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David dont you think that deadlift also improves power and intra-muscular coordination .you have to stabilize your whole body especially the spine to perform this execise

How about us Off-spinners, will this help adding some extra zip in are bowling?

Can we do this exercise using a regular dumbbell?

This is a great assistance exercises for a bigger deadlift too. And yes, it can be done with a dumbbell if you are careful (and it's great for all bowling types).

My advice to everyone is to spend less time in the gym; you can have all the strength in the world, but if your technique is off you're wasting your time.

Yes and no - the gym can assist greatly with technical improvements through extra mobility, stability and strength. It also cannot correct technical errors. You have to find a balance, it's rarely a choice between one or the other anyway.

If it rains all week do you say spend less time in the gym then? Probably not, for example. Balance is key.

Here is a page describing which muscles you use when you bowl, therefore the ones you need to strengthen.

Hi, sir Its wonder full tips and ideas for me in the field of coaching.

That is a good article, excellent points and clearly described. Remember it's about training movements rather than muscles.

David is bang on the money here.. Hip Flexes, and strengthening the core, are the best exercises for fast bowlers. But I need some help on how to turn the back foot on its side, in order for the hip to to thrust... Please any advice guys?

sir thanks for the tips but i want to increase the speed with the variation like dale stayn then suggest some tips

Can i use jerk in my bowling

i have problem of front toe facing towards third man and bowling wide of the crease
how to work on this?

Just randomly searched out of curiosity and ended up getting on this page. I'm 27, have decent pace (around 85 mph) but recently my bowling action has been putting immense pressure on my body. It's sort of like Malinga's or Shaun Tait's action (slingshot). I have pain in my right hip and shoulder joint (I'm double-jointed; if that matters ... just felt the need to mention it). Please enlighten us with your expertise and knowledge. Thanks so much and will be looking forward to your reply.

Kettlebell swings are great with proper technique, as with any exercise. Physio's are seeing more lower back problems because of these though, with too much pressure from hyperextension. IMO it is the rotational force from the hips (into torso then shoulders) that creates pace in throwing, bowling and hitting (as with S.Jones and I.Pont's methods) so medicine ball rotational throws are more effective than the kettlebell swing - plus when throwing these it will work your pecs, one of the most influential muscles in bowling. The rotation of the hips prior to the throw/push pass etc. is closely linked with the actual action/movement required to create the torque and tension by separating the hip and shoulder rotation (whilst keeping a neutral spine - vital!!). Not only that but looking across a multitude of sports it is a fundamental aspect of creating power in sports movements that require the final act by the hands - rugby pass, swimming (front crawl), hockey strike, golf strike, baseball pitch, tennis serve ..... etc. So, my advice would be to have a stash of medi-balls ranging between 500g and 5kg for improving power and rotation.x5pde

Med balls are also an awesome addition to any training plan for cricketers.

Thanks so much. So medicine balls and an occasional swing with the kettlebells is the way to go, hey? I'll follow these guidelines to a tee And will definitely get back to you after a while. Admire the passion you have, btw.

Any exercises for younger players? I am 12. I love bowling fast, so I want to be able to crack 90 kph

Are the any tips for how to get more side on at landing either?

is it really so that if we have a best action like breet Lee than we can easily bowl around 130 to 135 kph easily as the time spend...
without any special fitness....

right arm meadum fast bowler /but one problem during the bowling preactic my arm not easly rotit so plz help me my
bowling speed not good /sand me /e-mail address /

Sir what can be replaced in place of the ketbell?

How do increase my pace without doing this exercise