Strength & Conditioning for Fast Bowling
Looking to bowl faster for longer?
Athletic development is a critical element of a fast bowlers training regime. Fast bowlers need to withstand high impact forces, generate high speeds and maximise their bowling technique if they expect to bowl with pace, control and accuracy for extended periods.
At Pace Doctor we believe good technique and good athleticism are a critical interaction for fast bowlers to reach their potential. To be a high performance fast bowler you need both, one won't cut it. To assist fast bowlers achieve their potential we provide a 3 phase approach to strength and conditioning for young fast bowlers looking to develop into high performance fast bowlers. These three phases are called The Foundation, The Transition and The Individual.
Phase 1 - The Foundation
This phase is designed to ensure the young teenage fast bowler has the basic fitness standards across the three physical capacities of:
1. Aerobic fitness
2. General body strength
3. Core and gluteal strength
If you are not a teenager, are a fast bowler, and can't reach these standards, chances are you won't be able to sustain performance for long and your risk of injury is increased. Time to get to work.
Aerobic fitness is a basic underlying physical capacity for a fast bowler. It helps sustain effort over time, helps with concentration and the ability to recover between spells and matches. It is the body's ability to burn energy in the muscles using oxygen, and requires good heart, lung and muscle function. For fast bowlers the best way to train this capacity is running. Fast bowlers need to run to the wicket over and over again, so having "miles" in the legs will be an advantage. Running sessions can be done on grass to minimise impact and other aerobic fitness activities will also be beneficial, such as cycling and aerobic exercise machines in gyms. Being able to perform 3 - 4 aerobic sessions per week for 30 minutes at 70-80% of maximum heart rate is a good baseline fitness level to aspire to. For a young teenage fast bowler here are some standards using a range of aerobic fitness tests to assess where your aerobic fitness levels are at (senior fast bowlers should be more developed):
1.2km time trial: XX.XX
Beep Test: XX.XX
Yo-Yo Intermittent Level 2: XX.XX
General Body Strength
Ultimately fast bowlers want and need to bowl fast, which requires them to generate forces by achieving speed throughout their body and limbs. Strength is a fundamental part of speed, for example 100m sprinters are strong athletes. Fast bowlers don't need to be as strong as sprinters but they need to develop good levels of strength through their lower and upper body so they can bowl faster for longer. For a teenage fast bowler hitting 15 or 16 years of age strength training becomes an important part of their development. This is where basic strength training should be introduced and feature body weight exercises such as push ups and pull-ups, and then start progressing to basic weight training featuring basic exercises such as bench press, squats and weighted pull-ups. These exercises lay the foundation for the strength training recommended in phase 2. Some basic indicators of appropriate strength levels at this foundation phase 1 level are being able to complete:
40-50 push ups in one set
10-15 pull ups in one set
50cm + in the counter-movement vertical jump test
Core and Gluteal Strength
This is a critical area for fast bowlers as the pelvis and lumbar spine are subject to large repetitive torques, shears and stresses when bowling fast. Couple this with the teenage fast bowler's growth spurt, relatively lower bone mineral density and lower general strength levels it is unsurprising we see so many lower back injuries in adolescent fast bowlers. Exercises that maintain muscle balance, strength and range through all the muscles, tendons and ligaments supporting the pelvis and lumbar spine are a fundamental training regime for any fast bowler wanting to sustain their performances, and minimise their risks of injury. The video below shows a routine of these exercises, being demonstrated by S&C specialist advisor Stuart Karppinen. This routine, or many similar variations, should be performed by fast bowlers 4 times per week minimum.
S&C Performance Pack
This is for the serious fast bowler looking for world class coaching and mentoring as you progress through your fast bowling journey. Over a 12 month period you'll connect with T.A. Sekar on a monthly basis (approximately) for 10 online Zoom sessions to discuss your fast bowling approach, review your performances and discuss how you prepare, recover and improve over the course of a year. You also get a free 1 year membership of the online Pace Doctor community where you can ask questions, follow topics and discuss all things fast bowling.
In your ten Zoom sessions you will:
review and establish your goals,
discuss your bowling results,
develop / review your bowling tactics for different batters / formats
address any performance issues (e.g. control, swing, economy, wicket taking)
review your bowling action to determine if anything is holding you back
discuss and develop your mental approach to fast bowling
Price: ~11,900 Indian Rupees (AUD$225)
What you get: 10 personal online sessions mentoring from T.A. Sekar, plus a 1 year membership to the online Pace Doctor community
Check out Pace Doctor specialist S&C advisor Stuart Karppinen demonstrating some fundamental body weight exercises for fast bowlers.
These exercise are designed specifically to get fast bowlers strong and dynamic to better transfer energy for ball speed and help reduce risk of injury.
These exercises are considered the minimum requirement for fast bowlers, teenage fast bowlers in particular, to ensure their hamstrings, gluteals and core are in good condition to help withstand the demands of fast bowling.
We have structured these into 3 phases.
Phase 1 is simply 'Core & Glutes'.
These exercises should be a regular part of the young fast bowlers routine, four to five days per week.