Whether you love your beach cricket or play competitively, we have good news: cricket can improve your muscle strength as well as your overall health and fitness – here’s how.
With the ICC Cricket World Cup being hosted in Adelaide this week, all eyes are on this iconic Aussie sport.
As you watch the game from the sidelines this month, you may not be thinking of health and fitness – particularly given the amount of standing around that cricket involves.
But if you think you’re not getting any benefit from all those cricket games you play every summer, think again.
Cricket and your muscles
Cricket involves short bursts of energy as you bowl, leap to catch cricket balls and run for your life between wickets.
Bowling a cricket ball involves only a few key muscles, including:
- Latissimus Dorsi
- Abdominals and Obliques
These muscles contribute to the bowling motion as you swing your arm over your head, rotate your arm over your shoulder and pull downward before throwing the ball.
Your bowling action is supported by a range of secondary muscles, including your biceps, wrist flexors – as well as muscles in your legs when you run before bowling.
The muscles that enable you to run with speed and leap to catch cricket balls include:
Batting also requires core strength with a focus on your abdominals and obliques, gluteals and upper body muscles.
Cricket and your health
Regardless of whether you play cricket with family and friends on the beach or at a more competitive level, playing a good game of cricket works a variety of muscles in your body.
When you’re bowling, you need to sprint up to the delivery and use your arms, shoulders and core strength to thrust the ball.
If you’re fielding you may stand around a lot, but you need to be ready for action at any moment so you can sprint to get the ball and throw it back.
Batting gives your core a workout, as well as your upper body.
Here are some of the more general ways a game of cricket benefits your health:
- Fitness – cricket requires endurance and stamina as well as great physical fitness – plus, if you’re running on sand, you’re giving your body an extra workout!
- Strength – you’ll need bowling strength as well as the ability to whack the ball.
- Hand-eye coordination and ball-handling skills - throwing and catching works your ball skills.
- Sprinting – you’ll need to run for your life between wickets and catch balls, and sprints are a great way to improve your overall fitness level.
- Core strength - bowling, running, jumping and batting are all actions that work your core strength and fitness.
Common injuries from cricket
The most common injuries that cricket players receive tend to include muscle injuries like hamstring strains and side strains.
Lower back pain is also common among bowlers.
You can avoid cricket-related injuries to your muscles by warming up and stretching before you play, adopting the correct bowling and sprinting technique, restricting the number of overs bowled throughout the day, and cooling down properly.
If you play cricket on a competitive level and are looking for ways to improve your muscle strength for bowling, training your muscles with weights on a regular basis will help. Always ensure that you are giving your muscles enough rest time, too.
So if you’re inspired to start up a game after watching the ICC Cricket World Cup this week, don’t forget to think of your muscle health.
A sports massage can help to ease your muscles if you’re feeling sore and strained – and we have a range of massage options that can help. Get in touch to find out more about our sports massage services, or book online to see one of our Remedial Therapists today.