Rising from The Ashes
Rising from The Ashes – three training techniques for bowlers
Have you been bowled over by England’s bowling? The fourth Test of the latest five-match series of The Ashes got under way in thrilling style this morning, when Stuart Broad took two wickets in his opening over.
The Nottinghamshire bowler took another five wickets in 19 deliveries and Australia were out for 60 by lunchtime.
If you fancy yourself as the next Stuart Broad, here are three training tips that could help improve your technique.
1. The hips don’t lie
A top bowler’s delivery is about co-ordination as much as power. As the bowler’s foot hits the crease, the energy surging through the body has to be controlled and driven through the hips.
A great exercise for developing hip drive is the kettlebell swing (see our blog on The origin of kettlebells).
Recommended kettlebell weight: 16kg-24kg for men, 8kg-12kg for women.
Reps: start with two sessions a week of two sets of 12 swings and build up from there.
Technique: make sure you drive through the hips and squeeze the glutes – don’t let your back do all the work.
What it works: hips, thighs, glutes, core, lats.
Benefits: improves hip drive, co-ordination, core strength and overall power.
2. Scream if you want to bowl faster
Speed is of the essence and bowlers need a fast delivery arm.
The best technique can be let down by weak arms (see our blog on Muscle Spindles – what every personal trainer needs to know) and push ups will help build arm strength.
Reps: Build from five to 20-30 a day.
Technique: ensure hands are positioned under shoulders; dip into the press up, keeping your back straight.
What it works: pecs, deltoids, triceps, requires scapula control
Benefits: strengthens shoulders, arms and back, promotes a strong core.
3. Be sure of your core
Controlling movement is crucial for bowlers and a strong core is essential for mobility and stability. Any restrictions to either will prevent you from bowling at your fastest – and you are more likely to develop injuries (see our blog on Defining core strength and our vlog on Personal Training: Exercises for the core).
Static floor exercises like the plank are great for core strength, but dynamic bodyweight exercises are also highly effective, such as the side lying hip abduction.
Reps: three sets of 12 on each side. Progress to adding a dumbbell held at the top of the hip or a resistance band.
Technique: stack your shoulders, hips, knees and feet; keep the movement slow and steady.
What it works: core, abductors and glutes.
Benefits: better core strength and stability, flexibility and mobility.
Don’t forget, training is key but confidence and belief in your ability is the other half of the battle.
Now go out and bowl them over – and out!