By Jo Behrens
Summer is here and that means it’s time to get on the Cane Train! This year is set to be another sensational year of cricket for our Hobart Hurricanes. Have you ever wondered how your favourite cricketers train and what gives them that competitive edge? You might be surprised to hear that Pilates is a part of their program.
Pilates provides key benefits for both batsmen and bowlers, which is why many top cricketers like Hobart Hurricanes Big Bash League player Caleb Jewell uses it as part of his program for strength and conditioning training. I sat down with Caleb to talk about his preparation for the season ahead and how Pilates fits in. He said:
“Pilates for athletes is great to make sure we are using the right muscles and keeping our body in check during the season. Playing and training takes a real toll on our bodies and making sure we are looking after them is a big part of staying on the park and being a consistent player. Putting time into our bodies through Pilates helps us train at our peak everyday and making us the best we can be for when we have to go out and play.”
Low back issues are a common complaint among cricketers. Standing for long periods at the crease, or on the field, holding posturally unnatural positions and moving with forward flexion and rotation can all contribute and lead to injury.
Pilates helps by offering strengthening and release work for specific stabilising muscles as well as core strengthening exercises to support and take the pressure off the low back and encourage more fluid movements. Reformer Pilates adds resistance by working against spring loads as well as using body weight to provide stretching and strengthening to improve flexibility as well as strength and provide greater endurance for long days.
Caleb has noticed significant improvements since incorporating Pilates into his training program. By working his core and stabilising muscles he’s able to fight fatigue and bounce back quickly after a match.
“Learning about my body has been amazing whilst I’ve been doing Pilates. I now know when I’m being lazy and using the incorrect muscles and able to correct it. My posture on and off the field has improved more than I could have hoped. This has taken the pressure off my back and legs which is so important playing cricket day in day out at the professional level.”
For me my favourite Pilates move is feet in straps and short spine (lifting as far up as possible with my core, then releasing my back on the way back down). This is so good because it has both core work and release work in the same exercise. I would say from the reactions in class for feet in straps hip circles, that would be the favourite amongst all the cricketers!
There are no two days the same when you are a cricketer, with so many games and different formats we are always changing our training. At the moment with the big bash around the corner, I can now put more emphasis on improving my body as to maintaining which happens in shield cricket. On a day where we don’t have a game; I’ll have a gym session for an hour which is power-based before I have a training session with the full group for our skills. Our training sessions can go for as long as 4 hours, making sure we have all bases covered when it comes to walking out and playing. We try to get 1 to 2 Pilates sessions a week around this also, as both a recovery and a body check to make sure we are switching on the right muscles.
The big bash is dawning upon us quickly. I’m feeling really good going into the tournament physically and mentally. I’ve had a pretty light few weeks to get my body feeling fresh after a gruelling start to the season. It’s going to be a jam-packed few months so I have to make the most of the time I get to reset.
Like anything in life, if you put too much pressure on yourself things generally don’t work out. Cricket is hard enough as it is without all the unnecessary pressures. So just enjoy what you are doing and accept you will have a bad day every now and again. As for backyard cricket tips, swing as hard as you can!
Feeling inspired? If you’re keen to lift your backyard cricket game or want to train like a Hurricane why not book in for a Pilates class at The Studio.