Reckon You Have What It Takes?
As the T20 blast comes to a head, we take a look at what it takes to make it this far in your cricket game. Think you have it? If you don’t, our training analysis might just highlight how your cricketing fitness needs work.
The 2017 NatWest T20 Blast has seen each county playing 14 qualifying matches over the past six weeks, all culminating when the top four teams meet at Edgbaston for Finals Day on September 2.
It’s more than a game of bat and ball. Gone are the days of cricket being considered a less physically-demanding sport than others. Endurance, strength, explosive speed and high-intensity intervals are all integral in the game. It takes more than an impressive swing or good pitch. If the T20 finals have got you itching to hit the wicket, as well as technique, here’s what you ought to address to go the T20 distance.
Shoulder strains, aside from pulled muscles, are likely a result of overuse. This means that you don’t want to overdo it in the gym only to go on and further wear it out bowling. Your shoulders are strong, but it is a delicate socket that is easily overworked. Single-joint exercises will quickly wear it out so keep these to a minimum. These include lateral and front raises and variations of these movements. For stronger shoulders that don’t place all the strain on your joints, compound lifts are the answer. Just don’t go too heavy. Opt for 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps of a low-moderate weight. You’re building strength, not mass. The same applies to strengthening your legs and avoiding ankle injuries. Compound lifts will help with explosive power, especially lifts that involve going from zero-to-maximum resistance. Try the following:
Where possible, you want to emulate cricket maneuvers, the arching motion of a bowl, the twist of a bat swing, the explosive power of a squat. But what you also need to consider is the auxiliary muscles that support these movements. You’re not mass muscle building; you want to keep your range of movement free using dumb bells and bar bells, not limiting your development with the likes of machine presses.
Here are a few exercises to cover all bases:
✓ Upper Body
✓ Single Arm Triceps Pullover
✓ Bench Fly
✓ Lateral Pull Downs
✓ Rear Deltoid Pull
✓ Inclined Bench
✓ Standing Bicep Curls
✓ Reverse Fly
Good core strength is essential, and many painful side injuries are the result of a lack of abdominal strengthening. This means you need to focus on a diverse range of ab-strengthening exercises that don’t focus only on one movement. Crunches are a good place to start, but from there you should mix up the motions with weighted twists using a medicine ball as well as front and side planks. Don’t forget your lower back: hyperextensions on a roman chair lift will keep you strong all around your core.
✓ Standing Barbell Twists
✓ Seated Medicine Ball Twists
✓ Roman Chair Lifts
Further to resistance training, your cardio ability has to account for more than endurance for fielding; we’re talking sprints. More than that, high-intensity interval training is an effective close match for the explosive speed and switch up from low to high intensity that you’ll experience through a cricket game. Using sprints as an example, sprint at full speed for 20 seconds and jog gently/ walk for a minute. Repeat this for 15 minutes. This will put you in good stead for a more intense game and, if the innings are slow, it’s always better to be prepared.
For training, it’s not about exhausting yourself before you hit the pitch. It’s about building your endurance, not ending it. Four days a week work on your cardio. Pick two from the high impact section and save two for active rest days.
✓ Low impact and intensity
✓ Longer distance slower pace jogs
✓ Elliptical trainer
✓ Cycling machine