Strength Exercises for Cricketers

cricket Jun 20, 2022

 

Cricket is a game involving running, sprinting, jumping, and change of direction scenarios

As one will notice, cricket is a very demanding sport which requires an athlete to possess specific performance traits.

 

The foundation for all of these traits is a program which has strength exercises designed in such a way that it helps a cricketer to:

1) Progressively overload and

2) Able to perform different variations of the Foundational movement.

 

In this Article we will cover 8 Foundational Strength Exercises that will help a cricketer to become a) Strong, b) Athletic and c) Resilient to Injuries.

 


 

A) Squat

- Squat is one of the most fundamental movements that can be seen in a strength and conditioning program. It involves the joints of lower limbs, namely: A) Ankle B) Knee and C) Hip.

- Exercises like the 1) Barbell Back Squat primarily involves muscles like Calves, Hamstrings, Glutes, Quadriceps and Adductors. In a nutshell, all the muscles of the lower body are involved in this exercise and it will help a cricketer to become brutally strong.

 

Image: The sticking point of a Back squat is usually below parallel (Hip is below the knee)

 

2) Front squats involve placement of the barbell on the clavicle and getting the elbows almost parallel to the floor. It demands the anterior core to work overtime in order to create that extra stability. Upper back mobility is of paramount importance in an exercise like the Front Squat.

Points to focus on: One must focus on a) Bracing their core and creating a protective sheath around their spine b) Pushing the floor away on the way up (i.e. concentric phase)  c) Complete Hip extension at the top ,which ensures the glute maximus is working overtime to perform its function.

Takeaway: There are a plethora of Squat variations, but these 2 squat variations will be extremely beneficial for cricketers in developing their lower body strength.

 


 

B) Hinge.

3) Deadlift primarily focuses on powerful hip extension. The primary hip extensors are a) Glute Maximus and b) Hamstrings. These two muscles are considered to be a powerhouse to produce enormous amount of power in a very short time period (Type-2 muscle fibres). Hence, consider incorporating Deadlifts in your training regimen.

-There are Variations of deadlifts namely A) Romanian Deadlifts, B) Sumo Deadlifts, C) Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts and D) Stiff-Leg Deadlifts.

- Incorporating unilateral movements like a Single Leg RDL can help expose any side to side imbalances in strength or stability and become extremely resilient to injuries as it demands a lot of stability and motor control.

 

 

Image: Creating full body tension and bracing the core is important to do before the lift.

 


 

C) Lunge

 

4) Lunge is one of the best unilateral movements one can incorporate in their training. There are many variations of a lunge one can choose from depending on their needs.

- One variation of lunge that is by far commonly used in most Cricket related Strength and conditioning programs is a Split lunge. The benefits of a split lunge are as follows:

1) Helps in improving balance and coordination.

Balance and coordination are important, especially when considering an athlete must be stable on one leg during sporting movements. 

 

2) Target Large Muscle Groups 

Depending on the lunge variation performed, a lunge hammers the Quadriceps, Hamstrings and Glutes simultaneously. The more muscle groups involved, the harder your system gets hit, especially under load training near failure.

These are the exact reasons why a lunge is a staple exercise in a cricket specific strength and conditioning program.

A few variations of the lunge are as follows:

1) Reverse Lunges, 2) Forward Lunges, 3) Curtsy Lunge, 4) Side lunges.

 

Pic: Lunges are a great unilateral exercise

 


 

5) Kettlebell Bottom's Up Shoulder Press:

- One of the most underrated muscle groups is the rotator cuff muscle group. The rotator cuff muscle group involves 4 different muscles, but the primary function of the rotator cuff muscles is to secure the head the humerus safely in the glenoid fossa, which in turn is very important for one's shoulder health.

- The bottoms up Kettlebell shoulder press brings all the stabilizer muscles (i.e. Rotator cuff muscles) into picture and helps an athlete become resilient to injuries.

- Most often, the program is designed in such a way that it targets the main movers of a particular joint. In this instance, since we are discussing the shoulder joint,1) The deltoids, 2)Latissimus dorsi and 3)Pec Major are the primary movers.

- Higher the strength deficit between the primary movers and stabilizers, more prone an athlete is to injuries. The kettlebell bottom's up Shoulder press is a game changer when it comes to Shoulder health.

 


 

6) Yoga Push up.

- Shoulder Mobility is a critical aspect when it comes to throwing population. In a game like cricket, where in throwing is an important aspect of the sport, the upward rotation of the Scapula is extremely important.

- A bowler has to lift their arm overhead each time before they deliver the ball, in order to achieve this the upward rotation of the scapula has to happen.

- The more upward rotation one can get easier it gets to lift the arm overhead and deliver the ball at the highest of speeds.

- A closed chain exercise like yoga push up is a must in a cricketers program. Since most of the cricket related injuries are shoulder related, exercises that help one to improve shoulder mobility should be given paramount importance. One can incorporate Yoga push up in conjunction with an exercise like bench press which focuses more on retraction of the scapula. The more freely the scapula rotates on the rib-cage, the better it is for an athlete’s shoulder health.

 

Image: Upward rotation of Scapula during Yoga push up

 


 

 

7) Farmer's Walk:

- Farmer's walk should be a staple of one's program along with Squat, hinge, push, pull. Whether the goal is to build muscle, rehab an injury or in general build a Good conditioning base, farmer's walk are the way to go.

- Farmer's walk challenges the core than any sit up, crunches or any direct core training. It will also help one enhance their grip strength and develop full body stability.

- Farmer's walk also challenge's one's shoulder stability. It forces one to create more ideal shoulder positions to perform this exercise and hence optimizing Shoulder health.

- The key is to start the exercise by maintaining full body tension throughout the duration of the carry. One should get the alignment of Shoulders, ribs and hips spot on. They should be stacked over each other.

- One should focus on taking small steps so that the feet stays underneath the hip.

 

 


 

 8) Ring face pull or Banded face pull.

- Strengthening the upper back is also important for stability of the shoulder and ribcage.

- One such exercise that helps one to strengthen this is a Ring Facepull. It helps one to target the muscles around the scapula, namely rhomboids and middle traps.

- The key here is to focus on the end range shoulder retraction and staying there for a few seconds before performing a slow 3/4 seconds of eccentrics.

-With all the push exercises that we have discussed in this article which predominantly targets your anterior chain, it becomes even more important to include exercises which target the posterior chain.

-The advantage of this exercise is it is highly versatile in nature and can be done using A)Ring  B)TRX  C)Resistance bands D)Ropes.

 

 


 

These are the some of the exercises that you will see in our Strength and Conditioning Program designed for Cricketers.

We will also be covering topics like a) Agility Training for cricket b) Conditioning for Cricket and C) In-season Training for Cricket in the upcoming blog’s.

A whole lot of Cricket-related content coming your way! Stay tuned.

 

 Written By: Kaushik Ranganath

 

 

 

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