Though cricket appears to include long spells of rest in the field, regular short bursts of activity and long periods of batting take their physical toll. The best cricketers have fitness on their side. For example, you’re unlikely to bowl at your best if you’re breathing heavily after just a few balls. And you’re more likely to make a basic batting error if you’re panting after a previous run. But if you want to to play better cricket, there are ways to get fit.
Whether batting, bowling or fielding, cricketers require good cardiovascular fitness. Cardio, or aerobic, fitness relates to how well your body takes in oxygen and gets rid of carbon dioxide. Aerobic exercises may also help prevent muscle injuries and fatigue. Useful aerobic exercises for cricket include running, cycling and swimming. Another tip is to practice running with full pads and cricket gear on. You may be able to run 100 feet wearing a t-shirt, but running in full pads is another matter.
Cricket Training in the Gym
Training at the gym for cricket fitness poses the question of which machines and exercises to try. In a 2007 Pitch Vision article about cricket fitness in the gym, David Hinchliffe suggests several cricket-specific routines. For example, leg lunges work the muscles used for positioning yourself for perfect batting shots and gaining a fast sprint start. Bench pressing and dumbbell exercises work the muscles needed to hit big shots or bowl fast balls. However, strength more than bulk is usually the aim of cricket fitness programs. Using the rowing machine helps you develop good overall upper body strength for cricket.
Cricket Circuit Training
Developing a circuit training program is an excellent way to improve cricket fitness. Exercises should focus on a combination of explosive power and stamina. You need no specialist equipment for these exercises. For example, in the DPH Sports Series book “Cricket,” Ashok Kumar suggests including pull-ups, burpees, back raises, push-ups, abdominal curls and sprint runs as part of an overall fitness program for cricketers. Aim to include eight exercises in your session. Perform each exercise with as many repetitions as possible for around 60 seconds.
Explosive Power and Flexibility
Flexible fielders can make the most acrobatic of catches. Flexibility also helps batsmen move their body into position quickly for a shot and even prevents bowlers from picking up too many injuries. Pilates and yoga are two useful ways to get limber for cricket, according to “Cricket for Dummies.” Short energetic exercises, such as an indoor group cycling session, can improve your overall endurance and explosive power. Try sprint exercises with varied pacing to help you get used to the stop-start nature of cricket.