Top 5 exercises for Cricket
Despite being a non-contact sport, injury is an all too common occurrence in a Cricketers career. There are many factors that contribute to injury but we believe that the big two are firstly, the sheer volume that takes place in something such as the bowling action and secondly, the unilateral dominance of all cricketing moments.
For a more in depth article about a common overuse injury in fast bowlers, a stress fracture in their lumbar spine, you can click here to have a read. But in this article, we want to focus on the second of those two factors. Whether you are a batter or bowler, you are only ever going to be doing your cricketing movement patterns in one direction (Wicketkeepers are an exception to this rule!). What comes with movement in just one direction is asymmetric adaptation to the stimulus. Whilst this is good and benefits the cricketing movement allowing it to be performed better, it creates imbalances which when transferred to a bilateral movement such as running, can cause real issues.
So, what can we do to help? We want to be completing plenty of unilateral exercises in our strength training. When completing bilateral exercises, you will naturally favour your stronger side, increasing the gap between the two sides. By training with more unilateral movements, we are allowing each side of our body to be somewhat independent and keep the gap narrow, whilst still increasing in strength overall. Below are 5 of our favourite unilateral exercises for cricket players and as a whole, this could make up a good strength session to follow! For each of these exercises, you can watch a longer coaching video from the Cricfit team on their YouTube channel.
1. Dumbbell external rotation
A great exercise for all round shoulder health. This will really activate the rotator cuff which stabilises the shoulder joint. You need to focus on pinning your shoulder blades back and down during this exercise as if you are trying to tuck them into your back jeans pockets. Then, ensure your elbow remains still as a pivot point. You can cue this by popping something in between your body and the elbow and squeezing it.
2. Single leg romanian deadlift
This exercise will help your knee stability and build strength through your hamstrings. You want to have a soft bend in your knee and then let your resting leg reach back as you hinge your hips to the back of the room. Keep your hips and shoulders square to the floor, resisting the urge to rotate. You can hold a dumbbell in your opposite hand to the standing leg to make this exercise harder.
3. Single arm landmine press
A halfway house between the chest press and shoulder press, the diagonal pushing pattern allows both pectoral and shoulder activation in a safe manner. You want to have a soft forward lean through your upper body into the bar. Pop your thumb on the top of the bar pointing to where you want to press and don’t let your elbow move away from that imaginary line as you push.
4. Palof press
A fantastic anti rotation exercise to fire up your glutes and obliques. Keep your hips and shoulders at 90 degrees to the direction of the band. Keep your shoulders pinned and arms straight in front of your chest. You can then move the band into the centre of your chest and back out in a straight line.
5. Unilateral Dead bug
Focusing on anti-extension of the lumbar spine, start on the floor with your knees over your hips, shins horizontal and hands over your shoulders. Pushing your lower back into the floor, trying to squeeze out any air, lower the same arm and leg whilst keeping the other side dead still. The more tension you can create through stillness, the more benefit you will create.
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