Cricket is a popular sport within Australia and shows strong participation rates across the community. The sport is associated with injury with pace bowlers the most injured group followed by batters and then fielders. Majority of injuries are non-contact with the lower back, shoulder, and lower limbs the most commonly damaged areas. To counteract the chance of injury and improve your performance on the field, completing strength training is a proven method. Consistently completing strength training improves muscular strength, power and neuromuscular control. Improving these factors will assist you in staying injury free and allow you to perform better on the field. Training should focus on increasing trunk anti-flexion, rotational, lower limb and upper limb strength & power. Below are 5 exercises that can be completed to best prepare yourself for the upcoming Cricket Season.
- Side Plank – 3 sets x 30 second hold each side
Regression: Side Lay Hold – 3 sets x 30 second hold each side
Progression: GHD Trunk Anti-Flexion Isometric Hold – 3 sets x 15- 30 second hold each side
- Lat Pulldown – 3-4 sets x 8-12 reps
Goal: Increase upper body strength. Specifically focussed on improving shoulder strength and scapula control. Due to the high use of the rotator cuff muscles when bowling and throwing it is important, that we train the area to increase strength and power. This will allow for greater force production during bowling and throwing.
Regression: Scap Pull Ups – 3-4 sets x 8-12 reps
Progression: Pull Ups – 3-4 sets x AMRAP
- Single Leg RDL to Hip Lock – 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps each side
Goal: Strengthen the hip extensor muscles (hamstrings and glutes) through full range at the hip. The movement mimics the running gait which is vital for the bowling run-up. Speed into the crease has been shown to increase bowling speed for pace bowlers. Being able to produce greater force throughout the gait will allow the athlete to reach greater running speed during the bowling run-up.
Regression: Single Leg RDL – 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps
Progression: Single Leg RDL to Step Up – 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps
- Cable Rotation – 3-4 sets x 8-12 reps each side
Goal: Improve trunk rotational strength and power in a standing position setup similar to the batting stance setup. Focussing on this area will help the athlete produce force throughout a rotational pattern similar to a stroke played during cricket. Focus on staying strong through your lower body and core to ensure you maintain an upright position that allows for power to be produced.
Regression: Medicine ball Russian Twists – 3-4 sets x 8-15 reps on each side
Progression: Medicine Ball Hip Toss – 3-4 sets x 4-8 reps on each side
- Barbell Step-Up into Knee Drive – 3-4 sets x 4-8 reps each side
Goal: Improve the athlete’s ability to absorb force at foot contact and then produce powerful concentric force during the step-up. It is beneficial for pace bowlers as they need to be able to absorb large amounts of force through the front leg during the landing phase in the bowling action.
Regression: Barbell Split Squat – 3-4 sets x 8-12 reps each side
Progression: Waterbag Step-Up into Knee Drive – 3-4 sets x 4-8 reps each side
Hopefully this gives Cricket athletes and coaches some good ideas of where to start with their strength training.
If you have any questions or you are interested in starting strength training to improve your Cricket performance get in touch with the team at the Radcentre.