The modern day batsman has to add strength and power to their game. Timing remains important but power hitting boosts the run rate so here are 12 exercises to increase that capability.
12 Best Strength and Power Exercises for Batsmen
This is one of the most common exercises around and it can be used in a number of scenarios. The squat can also help batsmen to build their strength and power and, while it’s simple, it’s important to get it right.
This exercise helps to build up core strength while improving on the strength and size of the lower body muscles.
Start from a standing position with your hands clasped out in front of you. Now, you will need to bend down – lowering your hips and then ascend to a standing position once again.
2. Chin Up
This is a very simple exercise and nobody else needs to be involved. You will need a bar, however, so head down to the gym or buy a purpose built bar that can affix under a door frame at home.
Place both hands on the bar and lift yourself up so that the chin touches that bar. Repeat and, over time, this will help to develop the back and shoulders.
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3. Cable Wood Chop
You will definitely need to head down to the gym for this one because it uses specialised equipment. The cable wood chop utilizes the cable rack and a single cable. The correct method involves pulling the cable over your head and leaning forward as if you were performing a ‘chopping’ motion.
Ask the gym instructor for a full check and demonstration before going ahead but it is quite a standard exercise which is designed to build strength in the core and the obliques.
This is another common exercise that you can do in the gym or at home. You can start with regular push ups by facing the floor, horizontally, and pushing up your body with the palms of your hands.
Many coaches and instructors recommend varying the push ups so you could try with a single hand or you can bring your arms in closer which will help to focus on building up your triceps.
5. Bent Over Barbell Row
As the name suggests, this exercise requires you to lift a barbell so, unless you have one at home, it’s off to the gym. Start with a bar alone if you prefer and then you can add weights on as you build your strength up.
- Put your feet shoulder width apart and keep them close to the bar.
- Place your hands on the bar just outside of them.
- Bend and deadlift that bar from the ground.
This exercise will focus on strengthening both the back and the shoulders.
6. Medicine Ball Throws
I’ve already underlined how bowlers can use medicine ball throws but they can also help to build strength and power for batsmen. With this technique, the best option for batters is the rotational throw.
- Start by standing sideways to the wall.
- Twist the torso and throw the medicine ball at the wall.
- Catch it on the rebound.
The purpose of this exercise is to generate force, starting from the ground upwards.
7. Nordic Hamstring Exercise
Hamstrings are put under pressure when you are a batsman and this exercise can strengthen them and help to prevent common injuries. You’ll need a teammate or friend to help you out here.
- Kneel down and keep your upper body straight with your arms crossed and your hands placed across your shoulders.
- Have your colleague hold on to your ankles while you slowly lean forward with your upper body.
- You’re going to fall all the way with this exercise so make sure you have a crash mat to soften the blow.
8. Rotator Cuff Exercise
A rotator cuff injury is extremely painful and there are exercises that can help you to recover and also to prevent problems in this area. The most common one involves lying down on your side and placing one elbow on the floor.
With the other hand, take a relatively light dumbbell and lift the weight up towards the ceiling.
9. Pull Ups
There is a very subtle difference between the pull up and the chin up but both are similar and will look to strengthen the same muscles. The pull up also involves pulling the body up from a vertical hanging position and the only real difference is that it uses a pronated grip.
This means that your palms are facing away from you rather than towards you as they would with a chin up. Both exercises will help to develop the back and shoulder muscles.
The snatch is a common exercise involving a barbell. Here, the intention is to lift it to the waist and hold in a standing position before lifting it once more, clean above the head.
This is a tricky exercise to master in the early stage so experts advise to start by lifting to your waist first before taking on the second part.
11. Core Exercises
There is a wide set of techniques that can come under the umbrella of ‘core exercises’. They are very good for cricketers in many aspects and they don’t require any specialised gym equipment.
One of the best and easiest of these simply involves bending down and touching your toes. Alternative exercises for strengthening the core include:
- Reverse Crunches,
- Abdominal Crunches,
- Lower Back Extensions,
- Heel Touches
- and Leg Raises.
12. Double Bat Shadow Batting
Most cricketers have probably tried shadow batting at some time but what does the double bat technique involve? Here, the batter will, quite literally, practise their batting while holding two bats.
There is no ball involved so it’s all about swinging those bats and visualising a ball coming to you.
This can help to improve strength in the muscles needed to power through the stroke as, when you take to the field, you will only be hitting with one bat which will be much lighter.
But it’s also a ‘faking’ method: Your brain is tricked into thinking that you are still hitting with the same weight and it will fire the relevant muscles to swing harder.
How to Prevent Injuries with Prehabilitation
Prehab is what we want to be aiming for here rather than rehab after the event. Many exercises can actually guard against injury while on the field.
The areas that are most vulnerable for a batsman are
The Nordic exercise which is listed in the previous section is extremely useful for the hamstrings.
Other exercises that can prevent injury and are recommended by the experts include:
- Cable Wood Chop
- Triceps Pull Downs
I didn’t cover those pull downs above but they are straightforward. You need a cable and a rope attached around it. Stand facing the rope with your arms in front of you and keep your elbows in tight. Pull the rope down to your waist and then pull it apart.
Exercises you Should NOT do
Some exercises will not help increase strength and power and there is the potential for them to lead to injury if you are not already familiar with them.
Upright rows and lateral raises are not recommended along with any others that are specifically designed to improve the shoulders.
While shoulder strength is important, it’s only a part of the story and these other exercises will help with the all-round strengthening package needed for power batting.
Exercises for Batsmen FAQ
What Increases Hitting Power in Cricket?
All of these exercises will benefit your strength in some way but the best ones for hitting power will concentrate on the arms and shoulders. Look specifically for chin ups, pull ups and the weightlifting exercises – snatch and barbell rows.
How Can I Increase Arm Strength in Cricket?
Once again, those weight exercises will be good for arm strength. Push ups will also help as they are carrying the weight of your body while you are going through the process.
I would then suggest going on to the double bat shadow play as this strengthens the arms and fools the brain into replicating that strength during a match.
How to Improve Bat Speed in Cricket?
Commentators often talk about bat speed and this is an element that can help you hit the ball further. To apply extra pace to the ball, you can think about starting with a higher backlift and to employ a backswing.
On the downswing, move your weight fully towards the ball and power through it before finishing with a high follow through.
Exercises and workout are important and we’ve seen here how they can prevent injury as well as increasing your capacity for power hitting. Of course, you will need a strong technique and to learn how to play all the shots.
Combine all those abilities and you will stand a better chance of performing well as a batsman in a match situation.