Why cricketers need strength training | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Why cricketers need strength training

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This is cricket fitness myth #1, to go back to the list of cricket fitness myths click here.

"Will I get too big and muscular to play cricket if I weight train?"

This is by far the most common question I'm asked when telling cricketers they need to do resistance training.

I'll be short with you: You won't.

It's impossible.

Male or female, white or black. It's just not going to happen.

I can understand the fear though.

Everyone has seen the huge bodybuilder who can barely move and looks like he is carrying a beach ball under each arm. Who want's that? Not any cricketer I know anyway.

Why you won't become too big to play cricket

That guy has reached that look because of several (if not all) of the following reasons:

  1. He a seriously massive amount of food (often upwards of 4000 calories a day)
  2. He uses bodybuilder style training techniques (like volume training, body part splits and hypertrophy rep ranges)
  3. He takes steroids
  4. He doesn't play any team sport
  5. He does very little speed, agility and mobility work

In short, that guy is training to puff up his muscles, not get stronger. As a cricketer, you don't want to do that. You want to be strong and powerful, not puffed up. If you are, then stop and change to more cricket specific training methods:

  1. Eat reasonable amounts of food
  2. Use cricket-specific team sport training techniques (like low reps, power training and core training)
  3. Avoid illegal supplements
  4. Play lots of cricket
  5. Do lots of speed, agility and mobility work all year round

While this will lead to some muscle growth it won't turn you into an enormous cartoon henchman but it certainly will prevent injury and develop you as a player.

Avoiding bodybuilding training methods will increase strength and power without compromising speed, agility or mobility. There are many studies and a lot of experienced coaches who testify to that.

Which is what we all want.

How weight lifting can improve your cricket without you getting too stiff to play

Now we know we are not going to hulk up overnight by joining a gym, why is strength training so important?

Because you can never have enough strength.

Remember, strength is different to muscle size (think function rather than puffed up). They are related, but you only have to look at the incredible strength of climbers to know you don't have to be muscle bound to be strong.

Strength is the basis of everything in all team settings. It leads to:

  • Muscles, ligaments and bones that are more resistant to injury
  • An increase in your ability to generate force to run faster and hit, bowl or throw a cricket ball better
  • A reduction in body fat giving you less to carry around in the field

For me it's a no brainer, strength should be almost as high a priority for cricketers as playing. There is no excuse, especially complaining that you will get too big.

This is cricket fitness myth #1, to go back to the list of cricket fitness myths click here.

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How much is a reasobake amount of food? You have to tea well right?

Haha yes you can tea well. I'd focus on eating good quality lean meat, fish, vegetables, fruit and good fats. It's pretty hard to stuff your face every day with enough of the right food to become big without becoming fat.

[...] The benefits are huge because work in the gym transfers directly to the pitch. More speed, more power and even better endurance. [...]