Thursday, 27 August 2009

Progress report, new articles and some BIG NEWS!

Hello everyone,

I apologise for the lack of posting on Get Fit For Cricket. The reason is because I have very kindly been asked to post for Pitch Vision, a brilliant cricket website with plenty of free information and other slightly more expensive but equally brilliant goodies.

I've posted two articles on their site, the first one introduced my research and a few technical considerations, whilst the second one is about the hips and how to use them properly. Everyone knows they should use their hips when they bowl, the problem arises because no-one knows has told you how to use them! Hopefully, the article should help. Links are at the bottom of the article.

Some of you may be thinking that my articles lack information that can be directly applied to bowlers. I am sorry for this, but I promise you that this information is coming! I have plenty of drills that'll help you out, if you want to find some out, send me an email at and I'll be more than happy to help with drills specific to your needs.

Now for the big news.

I would like to take this opportunity to announce that I'm writing a book about fast bowling!

The book will cover all aspects of training for fast bowlers: technique, flexibility and conditioning. I have spent a long time researching all these areas, I now feel confident enough to put them all together in one place!

The technique chapters will describe the theory and how to put it into practise with drills and exercises. The drills will be set out so that there's a natural progression from one drill to another. I want to make the format as simple as possible, so that you start with the basic drills and eventually move onto the advanced drills.

The flexibility chapter will detail all the why's and how's of stretching for cricket. Although the thought of stretching may make you groan, I can assure that stretching gives you 'bang for your buck'- i.e. when you consider the amount of time that you'll spend stretching, the results you'll get will be more than worth it.

The conditioning chapter will contain information on strength and energy sytems work for cricketers. My friends and family all know how much I love spending time in the gym, so I've done a lot of research to make sure that cricketers will get the most out of thier conditioning training. Most of my methods were pioneered by elite Eastern Bloc Sports Scientists, all I have done is apply them to cricketers. As well as explaining exactly how cricketers should train, I'll also include an annual training template.

Essentially, I want the book to be as simple and effective as possible. I want every coach and bowler to be able to APPLY what I discuss, not just know it. I won't go as far as saying the book will be full of 'underground secrets', but the book will definitely contain a lot of information that I've never heard coaches discuss before, but is vitally important to fast bowling.

Considering the very limited (and in my opinion pretty rubbish) information on fast bowling out there, I think the book will prove to be a useful contribution to a cricketer's book collection!

My articles on Pitch Vision can be found here. Make sure to have a look around the site!



P.S With regards to the book, I'll be looking for a publisher or somewhere to put it on the internet, if anyone can help me with this it'd be great to hear from you!

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Fast Bowling: A new approach

Hi to everyone,

I'm sorry that I haven't posted in such a long time but the past few weeks have been very busy. Fortunately that time has been spent working on two big cricket projects, one written exclusively for Get Fit For Cricket and the other for my end of year Mathematics project.

Since my maths project work is fresh in my mind, today I'm providing a copy of my work on fast bowling. You can grab a copy at

What I've done is create a mathematical model of a portion of a fast bowler's action. I've then evaluated it's behaviour and had a look at what we can learn about fast bowling from the model. There is a lot of maths but hopefully the project is written in such a way that the project 'works' without the maths. If you want to get the jist of the project I suggest you read the introduction, the summary of bowling biomechanics, take a look at what the model looks like and then go straight to the results.

The style of writing is much more formal than that of the blog since an informative tone wouldn't have gone down too well with the mathematics department :-D.

It was absolutely fascinating working on the project, there's a huge scope for work in the future so it's an exciting time for me. I hope you get as much out of reading it as I did writing it.

If you feel my work deserves it please 'have a look' at the ads. Every click counts. I'm well on my way to getting the video camera- it will vastly improve the quality of the site, so everyone wins!

Cheers, hope you enjoy the article,


Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Putting a myth to bed

Hi everyone,

Sorry for the lack of posts, I've spent the last I-don't-know-how-long revising for exams that I finished yesterday! Whoop whoop!

So, to celebrate I'm doing a double post: one is going to be about fitness (see above) and this one will be about cricket.

First of all I'm going to discuss something that's really REALLY been bugging me for a while. A lot of people are going to disagree with me about this. In fact, what I suggest goes against everything I was taught as a youngster. It goes against everything everyone was taught when they were learning to play cricket.

Fortunately, I have a wealth of video evidence and modern biomechanics on my side :-D

As a child, one phrase was drummed into my head: 'cricket is a side on game'. It was in reference to all three aspects of the game: batting, bowling and fielding. The techniques that make up these components of the game have largely remained unchanged since cricket technique was formulated, approximately 100 years ago. It is rare that a technique goes largely unchanged for so long in sport. However, it made sense: you start side on, so why change that position? So, for years I practised driving with my hips perpendicular to the direction I wanted the ball to go. Still today you hear cricket commentators saying a player 'got squared up' when he got out, referring to the batsman presenting his chest to bowler.

Cricketers were side on, and it was good.

Unfortunately, it came to my attention that something was seriously wrong. For starters, there's not a single technique in any other sport which matches the principles of the 'side on' game.

Take a look at the first javelin throw here:

He runs up front on, turns side on just before executing the throw, and rotates his torso 90 degrees so that his chest faces the direction he wants the javelin to go. As a youngster, I was told to throw with my chest perpendicular to were I wanted the ball to go. In other words, if i had a big arrow sticking out my chest, it would make a 90 degree angle with the path of the ball.

It is absolutely physically impossible to throw a ball more than 10 metres like this.

Try it now: try to throw completely and utterly side on. It's impossible to generate any power like this. Baseball players have known this for years, yet cricket coaches are still teaching you to throw side on!

So how are we able to throw further? We rotate our torso. It's not particularly obvious, but throwing is a whole body movement, just like punching or kicking. Every muscle group contributes, whether producing force or just stabilising the body.

The exact same logic applies to bowling: you may start side on (and I would suggest it's beneficial for your speed to be a side-on bowler), but when you release that ball, your chest is facing the batsman. Whether you're a side on bowler or a chest on bowler, you release the ball with your boobs facing the bloke you're bowling to. It doesn't make sense to do anything else. I have plenty to say about bowling, but I'll leave that till another day

And now, onto the biggie: batting.

As motivation for this section, we'll have a look at batsmen getting caught behind. Bowlers are always searching for that perfect line and length, where the batsman doesn't know whether to go forward or backwards, defend or drive. It is my belief that the only reason such an area exists is due the fundamental flaws of the side on technique. There is nothing particularly 'magical' about this 'corridor of doubt'; the only magic is that it's the line and length that exposes the weakness of modern batting technique most predominantly.

However, I would like to say one thing first: you can bat side on. There's no doubt of that: it's just an incomplete technique. If you bat side on, you rule out using the most powerful part of your body: your hips, and you relegate your top hand to the job of 'control'- completely ruling out the contribution it can make to power!

Here's a useful example and a cute little story :-D. When I was younger, I bought a cricket magazine. In it, there was an article about Damien Martyn, the ex Australian batsman. One bit of the article stuck in my mind: Martyn was noted as one of the only batsman in the world who could play the back foot straight drive. How could he do this? I now realise it's because he wasn't playing the shot side on.

Just like throwing, it's impossible to play a back foot drive side on: your arms just can't get the range of motion. However, if you become chest on, it's easy! It's a simple result of our anatomy: we're not built to do things side on. Side on is an uneven position: much more emphasis is put on the top hand on the bat than over the other, simply because it's hard to get your bottom hand around your body. This is the true reason why the check drive exists: it is the furthest position the bottom hand can reach whilst remaining side on. As soon as you start going for a full drive, your torso must rotate. Try it, it's just simply anatomy.

I think I could persuade most people that you throw and bowl front on at the point of delivery, but many, nay most would stick to batting being predominantly side on technique.

So, I decided to gather some evidence to demonstrate otherwise. Just through some simple examples of videos on YouTube, I'll show you why international batsman get out, and I guarantee you'll never have heard anyone saying this before.

Batsmen get caught behind when they're defending or driving on the back foot because their arms are trying to hit the ball one way when their body wants to hit it in another.

Let me explain this: in every single sport, your chest (actually your hips) tell you what to do: wherever the hips are facing, that's where the ball, the stick, the shot put, the whatever wants to go. Go look for yourself: it's everywhere in every sport. Usually, to get to this position, the hips have rotated 90 degrees from side on to front on (just like the javelin example above). This has occur ed naturally in general sporting techniques because a rotational element (torque) allows for greater force generation than without. Simples!

Now in cricket, because we have been taught to bat side on, our hips have been made redundant.

Here is what we have been taught: we see a short ball just outside off stump and we try to hit it just to the left of mid off or extra cover. Because we only move slightly back and across, our hips are pointing towards point or cover. What happens? Our arms cannot achieve full range of motion, we are in a biomechanically inefficient position, and so we snick it off. See you later! The slightly short ball just outside off stump is the line and length which exaggerates the ineffectiveness of the side on technique.

This is the reason for the 'corridor of doubt'. It's ironic that the bloke who coined this phrase, Geoffrey Boycott, is also one of the greatest proponents of 'the side on game'.

Now that I've explained the theory, here is my evidence.

Just to highlight my point, I've taken some stills and have put a red arrow to show where the hips are pointing, and a yellow arrow to show you were the batsman is trying to hit it. Apologies for the poor quality. Also, I would note that these pictures are not conclusive: the angle of the camera plays a big part in the appearance of the shot. However, I hope the full motion videos and a consideration of the bio mechanics complete the evidence.

Conversely, there is an instance where batsman are taught to get it right. The back foot cover drive is a perfect example of the biomechanical contradictions of batting technique. Below is a Alistair Cook demonstrating the shot.

As you can see, the ball is going to go where his hips want it to go. Biomechanically speaking, he is in the best position.

This is by no means the full picture. Deviation off the pitch, extra bounce and conditions will always play a role in batting. However, correct technique will always reduce the risk of these variables drawing your innings to a close sooner than you would have liked.

These principles can be applied to every straight bat shot.

My solution to these flaws is thus:

-Move your back foot ACROSS and not back to the line of the ball when back foot driving. Moving back gets you in a better position to cut. By moving across you allow yourself to hit the ball through the covers (check this now by playing the shot and look at the direction of your hips). The idea that this allows you more time to judge the ball is overplayed: the time gained is tiny, and a small sacrifice for better technique.
- Get your bat to come through in the same direction as your hips. If this feels difficult, your head is too close OR you're too far away from the ball. Everyone is different, but if you're making contact with the ball when your elbow is level with the front of your body then you'll be in the right place.
If you make these changes, you'll hit the middle of the bat more and you'll hit the ball harder. Isn't that what we all want?

To conclude, I believe that cricket hasn't embraced biomechanics as of yet due to it's history. It is a sport stuck in the past, unwilling to embrace change. Sports science could revolutionise the way cricket is taught, but the progression of cricket is being hindered by retired players stuck in the past. Modern sports are changing every year: change is important for progress, yet cricket is not improving at the same rate as other sports, and it is due to the closed mindedness of the few in the highest positions of power.

I hope you have enjoyed this article. If you have, you can contribute to the website too. All you have to do is have a look at the ads. Maybe you'll see something you like. Maybe you'll buy something. Either way, you'll be helping to make the site better. I'm currently saving up for a video camera so I can demonstrate what I'm talking about. I'm about halfway there, but every time you make a contribution, I'll be a little step closer :-D

Later today: a simple, effective and specialised weight training program for cricketers that will get you strong and looking good as well!

Train Hard, and let's take those slips out of action :-D


Thursday, 30 April 2009

The bodybuilding myth

I want to clear up something once and for all. In this article, I'm going to discuss the difference between looking strong and being strong. Right now you might think there is no difference- the purpose of this article is to show you that in some case there is.

First of all , take a look at the video below. Skip to about 5:46 and just watch for a minute. I think its fairly amusing anyway.

As I'm sure you've noticed, this bloke is big. Admittedly not as big as some, but it's obvious that he 'pumps iron'. The bodybuilder, Markus, says that he's been training since he was 13 and that he's 29 now (sourced from his website). According to him, he's been bodybuilding for 16 years. So, naturally, I'm sure most of you would assume that he's pretty strong.

Unfortunately, this video demonstrates that he's not. The late Mike Mentzer, the coach, says that the plates are 45 pounds, so with 6 plates he's deadlifting about 270 pounds (120kg). He does a set of two as a warm-up, does three more decent lifts, and then two more bad lifts (he doesn't manage to 'lock the weight out').

Please don't think I'm bragging by saying this (serious strength trainers will say I'm weedy!), but I can just about lift what he's lifting with a bodyweight of 76kg and a whopping total of one month practising the deadlift. Anyone who knows me will know I haven't quite got his physique :-D.

I'm telling you this for one reason: to demonstrate the most under-appreciated fact in fitness training-

Bodybuilding isn't Strength training

In another video, Mike Mentzer says it himself: 'you are a bodybuilder not a weight trainer. We are not training for strength, we are training for body growth'. In other words, bodybuilders train to look strong and not to be strong.

As you've surely realised, this is a very important difference. As sportsmen, we are not interested in looking good. As human beings we might be, but as cricketers it makes no sense to specifically train your body for size.

Remember, bodybuilders train for competitions, were they are judged on their size and proportions. Over the years, bodybuilders have found the most efficient ways to get bigger. They are not judged on strength, and as such being strong has no use for them.

Science can even explain this difference. Most bodybuilders train to failure (that is, they perform a certain movement until they fail to do so) with medium weights. This type of training induces sarcoplasmic muscle growth, and is characterised by an increase in the water retention of the cytoplasm of the muscles. Consequently, the size of the muscle increases due to greater water content without an associated increase in strength.

I wasn't aware of this difference until a few months ago. The reason why this difference is so poorly documented is mainly due to the places we look for this information. Men's health magazine, for example, has no use for strength training. They need cover models who look good. They don't care if he can squat 500lbs, and neither do you. We just want to look like him. So they tell you to train like a bodybuilder. There's not much of a problem with this in my eyes.

The problem comes when coaches try to incorporate bodybuilding routines into their sports programs. This is disastrous, as players end up big but not strong. Their gains in muscle size are not adding anything to their performance.

To bring home my point, here's another video of a personal hero, Ross Enamait. This bloke is a beast.

As the Americans would say, 'do the math': Ross is lifting over three times his bodyweight!! To me, that's much more impressive that looking like the hulk. Notice as well, he's by no means a big guy! Clearly, he has felt no need to bulk up to become insanely strong.

To conclude, in my opinion I think the bodybuilding myth will continue for a long time. Louis Simmons, a notable powerlifter predicted that bodybuilding would be the death of strength training- unfortunately he was right.

Strength training is an absolutely crucial part to all sports- its such a shame it's done incorrectly so frequently. The cult of bodybuilding is to blame for the inappropriate training methods that I see performed by the rugby players at my university gym. It is the cause of our addiction to style over substance. It's also part of the cause of our society's obsession with image. As a sportsman, you are wasting your time if you follow a bodybuilders routine.

If you want to get strong (and put on some muscle as well) then this is what I would recommend:

- If you're new to strength training, start off doing 1-2 training sessions per week with 2 days rest inbetween. Just ensure that weight training doesn't hinder your sport specific training sessions.

-Do 6-7 compound exercises (look this up if you don't know what this is). In my opinion, there is no place for isolation exercises in sports training.

- Do 6-7 reps in each set at a weight of about 50% of your 1 rep maximum (1RM). Move the weight as fast as you can, but with extremely strict technique. This is the most important part from sportsmen. You don't play sport slowly, so dint lift weights slowly (there is a more scientific reason for this).

- Do 3-4 sets.

- Train in a circuit (i.e. do one set of one exercise, then move onto the next exercise).

- The next session, move up to 60% of your 1RM (don't' recalculate this, just use the same number from the week before). The session after that, use 70% of your 1RM. The week after should be a back-off week, where you use lower weights (50% 1RM) but focus solely on a very quick execution. This session will improve your power. The next session, move up to 60% and so on.

However, please note that there is no one-size-fits-all training method. If there was we would all do it! What has worked for me may not work for you. The most important thing is to get stronger. If you're not getting stronger, experiment with this sort of structure and find out what works for you.

For more info, see future posts or email me at You may be interested in 'Westside for skinny bastards',

If anyone tries this, I'd be interested to hear about your results after 10 weeks.

Train hard and have fun!


Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Stretching (it's important, honest!)

Stretching is the process of elongating the muscles before exercise in order to prepare the muscles for physical activity. I want to write a wee bit about why it's important, and then go on to set out a simple stretching routine specifically for cricketers.

If you're the sort of person that groans at the mention of a warm-up or stretching I'm going to ask you to bare with me for a minute- hopefully I'll change your mind about it.

There are four types of stretches: dynamic (a stretch through a range of motion), static (a dynamic movement which is then held at the extrema), isometric (a stretch against resistance) and relaxed (a stretch aided by resistance).

For example:

Arm Rotations are dynamic;
A lunge held at the deepest point is a static stretch;
Doing the splits propped in between chairs is a isometric stretch;
A front split is a relaxed stretch.

Each different type of stretching works a different variety of flexibility. For example, you may be able to kick above foot about your head (a dynamic movement) but that doesn't automatically mean you can do the splits. Clearly different sports require some types of stretching and not others. Gymnasts require all types of flexibility. As cricketers we only require dynamic flexibility.

This is the reason why it is pointless to do static stretches before a game. Static stretches impair the contractile force of muscles for up to one hour (Fowles et al, 2000) and may even INCREASE the risk of injury. There is no place for static stretching in cricket before a game. The only time you hold a static position in cricket is when you pose for the cameras after playing a glorious cover drive for four...

... I'll let you decide how frequently you do that.

Although there is no place for static stretching before a match, a well trained and experienced athlete should participate in isometric and relaxed stretching. Isometric stretches are the quickest way to improve the tensility (or flexibility) reserve of your muscles. In a given muscle, the flexibility reserve is the difference between the maximum reach of a movement and the amount of movement required for in a sport, e.g. the difference between how high a kick boxer has to kick dynamically and how low he can go in the splits.

Although this is quite a complicated topic, simply put; the bigger the flexibility reserve, the smaller the risk of injury.

Unfortunately, isometric stretching is fairly taxing on the muscles and requires a background in strength training to ensure injuries will not occur. If you're interested, send me an email (address at the top) and we'll discuss it.

Back to dynamic stretches.

Dynamic stretches are the best way to increase active range of motion. It is also the best stretching method to perform before cricket. I would also advise performing dynamic stretches on days when you're not exersising as well, as it will increase your active range of motion without a warm-up.

Here is a sample stretching routine that you could perform before a game and after you wake up (ideally before breakfast as eating inhibits blood flow around the body). If you find that you're getting tired from the stretching routine, stop.

Perform the stretches in the order given below.

Arm Rotations: spin your arm round in several directions, gradually increasing the speed. Perform 15 reps per arm or until you feel blood rushing to your hand. Fast bowlers should definitely do this unless they want thier hand to be throbbing and painful after the first ball!

Hugs: hug yourself, then immediately try and clap your hands behind your back, then very briefly hug yourself again. Once you have done a clap, after a hug try and bring your arms higher up your back. When performing the hug, flare your back muscles out and shrug your shoulders. Perform 15 reps.

Kicks to the front: Put your hand out in front of you. Using your hand as a target, attempt to kick your hand with the leg on the same side as your hand. Once you manage to kick your hand, move it up. Continue to move it up until you cannot kick any higher. REMEMBER to work up gradually and don't go too fast. You shouldn't need to swing your legs. Perform 10 reps with one leg, then move onto the next. Perform 2-3 sets depending on whether you reach your maximum range of motion after each set of 10 reps.

Kicks to the side: Same procedure as above, just kick out to the side. You may find that your hip clicks: as long as its painless, don't worry. Again, 10 reps for 2-3 sets.

Squats: I suggest you youtube 'bodyweight squats' to get the technique correct. Make sure your knees don't go beyond your feet. Go down as low as you can (ideally with your butt around ankle bone level). These are tiring, so only perform 10-15 reps depending on your fitness levels.

Torso Twists: Sit on the floor with your legs straight and wider than shoulder width apart. Bring your hands up to your arm pits and twist at the waist, making sure your arse doesn't come off the ground. Do 10 reps on each side, with 3-4 sets. Don't bounce. Go as far as you can, then immediately bring your body back to the front.

Side bends: Still on the floor, with your arms by your armpits, bend to the side. Do 10 reps with 3-4 sets.

Forward bends: Still on the floor, bring your feet slightly closer together. Bend forward, making sure your back becomes curved. We want the back to curve to stretch the back muscles out. Again, perform 10 reps with 3-4 sets.

Shoulder Raise: Lie on your stomach and put your arms by your shoulders. Use your back muscles and your arms to push your torso up, but make sure your hips stay on the ground. Work up to locking your arms out.

After performing this sequence of stretches you should feel supple and ready to exersise. Make sure you do a general warm up before sport to prepare your entire body, including your heart, your lungs and your muscles. However, one thing I see too often is a warm up which is too intensive: the players use vital energy stores before the game has started! I suggest skipping (like a girl) for 20m or so and jump rope as good all-round exersises.

If you follow these steps, you will reduce the risk of injury. However I will put as a DISCLAIMER that by performing this routine you remove any responsibilty on my part for any injuries that occur during this routine. Although the risk of injury should be very small if performed correctly, you perform these exersises at your own risk. Like I said before, sueing me would be lame.

Enjoy and work hard!



NOTE: for more info on stretching, I would recommend reading 'Stretching Scientifically' by Thomas Kurz. Although the writing is quite technical, anyone can gain valuable knowledge from this excellent book.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Back pain

DISCLAIMER: By performing the exercises in this article, I take no responsibility if you injure yourself in the process. If a correct warm-up is performed beforehand, the risk of injury will be minimal. However, if you do become injured whilst performing one of the exercises I recommend, by performing said exercises you lose your right to legal action against me. So don't sue me, it's totally not cool.

The American Institute of Biomechanics estimate that 80-85% of people suffer from back pain at some point in their life. I know quite a few cricketers who have told me that after every game they have back pain. Back problems have affected everyone in my close family, including myself and seriously affected members of my extended family.

So what's going on?

Has anyone thought that their 'core' muscles, the muscles that stabilise the trunk, are just plain weak?

As motivation for the rest of this article, lets consider a study by Hodges and Richardson (1996). The transverse abdominus muscles, muscles which run around your waist and connect to the lumbar spine were found to contract before any movement of the limbs. In other words, the transverse abdominus muscles contract to stabilise the trunk before any other movement can occur. This study demonstrates just how important these muscles are. If these muscles are weak, your lumbar spine will not be stable. I would not like to hypothesise what this could lead to as I haven't personally done the research, but I hope you understand that a stable spinal is vitally important in order to minimise undue pressure on the spinal column.

The key to avoiding back pain is a strong core and correct posture.

'Core strength' is another one of the many fitness industry buzzwords that gym instructors like to throw around. The basic idea isn't particularly flawed though.

To quote Ross Enamait, 'the core is the body's centre of mas. It is the valuable link between the upper body and the lower body. In addition to providing stability, the core allows one to develop and transfer force from the lower body to the upper body, and vice versa.'

This paragraph highlights one of the most important features of bowling fast in cricket. Fast bowlers run in to gain momentum, in the hope of being able to bowl faster. If we cannot transfer the energy we develop in our legs to our upper bodies via the core, we may as well bowl with our feet in concrete! In other words, if you really want to bowl fast, you've got to have a strong core. Through rotation or 'drive' of the hip, the really good fast bowlers (and golfers and footballers and boxers and baseball pitchers and javelin throwers and...) are able to generate force from their hips in order to launch the ball quicker. This highlights the importance of the core muscles in sports, as these are the muscles which create the hip drive.


I could go through all the muscles that make up the core, but I doubt it would help people out much. Instead, I'd like to explain why people get back injuries.

'Stretching scientifically' by Thomas Kurz states that one of the causes of injuries is 'great differences in strength between opposing muscle groups'. If you're wondering what this has to do with back injuries lets have a look at your stomach.

What do we all want? A six-pack. How do we try to get one? Crunches and sit-ups. What happens? We do lots of crunches without doing any back work. What happens then? We get muscle and postural imbalances. Consequently, we get injuries.

This is something I've experienced myself. Around the age of 15-16, I lost a lot of weight and started doing a lot of sit-ups. I can 'proudly' claim that I've done 1000 sit-ups in one go. However, I didn't really have an amazing set of abs. Something I did have was constant back pain. I didn't understand what what going wrong! The problem was one of balance.

Unfortunately no one cares if you have an amazingly well balanced core. If you want to play cricket for all your life, you'd better start caring about it. Lets not wait until we get serious lower back injuries before we start training the core.

Here are my top tips and exercises to strength your core muscles:

- Improve you posture: if you're on facebook, sit upright! Don't slouch, pull your stomach in and make sure the desk and monitor are at the right height.

When you're standing around, don't slouch either! Stand tall and pull your stomach in and your shoulders back.

- Have a go at these exercises. If you're aching the next day, wait until the day you're ache-free to do them again:

The knee hug: Lie on the floor with your feet slightly above the ground. Bring your upper and lower body together and hug your knees. Don't let your feet touch the ground between repetitions.

Back extension: lie on a table. Get your mum/dad/brother/cleaner to hold your feet. Slide yourself forward so that your hips are just resting on the edge of the table. Bring your head towards the ground. When you reach the bottom, bring your head up until your body is horizontal again. Repeat.

Leg Twist: Lie on the ground facing up with your feet together. Bring your feet in the air until your body and legs make an 'L' shape. Keeping your legs together, rotate your legs to the left until they touch the ground, at all times maintaining your 'L' shape. Bring your legs up and to the right. The whole motion makes an arc with your feet.

The side crunch: lie on the floor on your side with your hands touching the opposite shoulder. If you're lying on your right hand side, bring your left shoulder up in the air and towards your hip or vice versa.

Don't do each exercise really slowly, just slow enough so that you don't use the momentum created from the movement.

I would suggest doing 5 circuits with 15 reps in each circuit to start with. Every session try and do 5 more reps until you get up to 30 reps. If you get that far, email me at and I'll tell you some progressions.

Finish each session with The Plank: start in the push-up position and drop your elbows to the ground. Make sure that your back is straight. Hold this position for as long as you can bare :-D.

Since I started doing a core workout, my back problems have (almost) disappeared. I still have a fair distance to go before I would say I have a strong core, but I noticed improvements within a week of starting.

As always, if you have any questions, email me at the address above. I'm more than happy to help, especially since this blog is read by my friends.

DISCLAIMER: By performing the exercises in this article, I take no responsibility if you injure yourself in the process. If a correct warm-up is performed beforehand, the risk of injury will be minimal. However, if you do become injured whilst performing one of the exercises I recommend, by performing said exercises you lose your right to legal action against me. So don't sue me, it's totally not cool.



Thursday, 16 April 2009

How I train

Just in case anyone is curious or if people want evidence that I'm not just a 'keyboard warrior' I'd like to post how I'm training at the moment.

My plan follows a training method called the 'Conjugate method'. I have been forced to use this method due to the short amount of time until the cricket season starts. As soon as I start playing properly, I'll start a maintenance program.

Next season I'm going to try out 'linear periodization'. More on that story later.

The conjugate method involved training all sport specific functions in the same week. Here is how I train:

SUNDAY: Max Strength Day
MONDAY: REST/skipping practise
TUESDAY: General physical preparedness training/'Warrior Challenges' and Core training
THURSDAY: Sprint training and Core
FRIDAY: Power training

Every training day I do a 'finisher', an exercise design to test mental toughness as much as physical. Technical training is on the rest days, just catching, throwing etc. I also do stretching exercises on the rest days twice a day. When I have access to nets I'll bowl 10 overs on Tuesday instead of the GPP training.

Most sessions last for 20-30 minutes, apart from the max strength day which takes an hour. I work at 100% all the time- if you have to pace yourself, the training is too long and not specific for cricket.

Everyone is different: its taken me a while to come up with the right sort of training method for me. It might not work for you. It's also taken me a lot of reading to find out what to include in my training sessions and when. If you have any questions about my program, email me at