One of my jobs as a trainer is to study an individual’s movement and train them to normalise the damage that their body may have incurred owing to their action or movement. How should an athlete train his body to perform the work considering how he is moving and what are the other movement patterns the athlete goes through in his day is how I understand my job as a trainer.
Incorporating corrective/needed movements in training has been my forte. Therefore, the below mentioned views are purely from a trainer’s perspective. As usual I have tried to use simple language (non anatomical) so that any player or non-expert can understand and should be able to reason it out.
Also this is not about his current injury because I do not know the details of the injury. I am sure its a minor injury and he will take the field very soon. However, the subject of his injury made me dig further into why he is susceptible to lower back injury.
My background on lower back study: I have researched the subject of lower back in depth from different angles and I have written several articles on the subject of the back Below mentioned is a link to one such research article where I am suggesting to look at spine sometimes to train your back. This is relevant to Bumrah’s subject and hence the importance:
Almost every good fast bowling coach, sports scientists involved in cricket, and perhaps other experts have studied his action and given their opinion related to how his action can lure injuries or how he is able to generate pace etc. This is a coaches job.
However, as a movement and lower back specialist, I am analysing it purely from a movement perspective and I am specifically interested in how he can safeguard himself from lower back injuries without changing his action.
His bowling action is uncommon. But to me it is not totally out of sync from anatomical perspective even though he is putting unnecessary stress by not following the kinetic chain e.g. his bowling arm (hyper extended elbow) falls towards inside rather than going out and backward, or his other arm movd differently from that of majority of fast bowlers.
Q. What happens if we stop the kinetic chain (or I call it ‘force cycle’)?
Ans: We have to take extra use of our muscles if we were to stop the movement before its natural ending. Therefore, his bowling arm stopping at his leg is the work of muscles and muscles can be trained for the job.
His release point (picture on the left), jump and landing all look good to me from anatomical/movement perspective.
In regard to his finish – his bowling arm stopping at the leg instead of going back is a problem that most have spoken about. However in my belief this is not a problem since the body can prepared for such tasks via training.
I wish to bring to your notice a new way of looking at this which many of you may not have heard, as am not sure if anybody has pointed this out yet. More importantly, I am interested in going into depth to understand how minor adjustments can safeguard you from future injuries without hampering your action. So this may be treated as a case study for lower back.
Analysis: I would suggest you open this video link of his bowling as pictures don’t indicate everything clearly:
He creates a weird angle with his left arm – NOT his right!
- His rightfoot lands inward which makes his knee and his entire leg move towards the left (inward) which is good because the knee is following the foot and hip is following the knee. No problems anatomically.
2) But his left arm is coming straight and slightly inward. (The arm that you see in the picture is his left arm. Right arm is inside the right leg.)And this is making his spine go straight forward instead of following the hip towards left. So his hip is aiming to go right but his back is aiming to go straight.
IF we look at both the above points together then this is what is happening:
His front leg is moving inward (left) whereas his back is staying straight. A lock situation in a movement?
Result: He ends up putting extra pressure on his lower back and glutes because of this position as you can see in the above picture.
Now, lets study his finish from back side:
He hunches his back after the release as his right foot contacts the ground. This hunching of the back (thoracic) cuts the spine into upper and lower. Another lock situation?
Result: his lower back gets jammed between glutes and upper back.
It is at this point that he faces the maximum impact on his lower back.
Summary: Firstly, his right leg movement makes him put extra pressure on the back & gluteal muscles, and then the hunch seclude the lower back jamming it in a situation where it has to bear all the force coming up from the ground.
My 2 cents: Both my suggestions below do not hamper bowling in any manner. Both actions are happening after he has delivered the ball. I am talking about making minor adjustment during the follow through. As per my understanding of the subject, this should not hamper his bowling in any way.
These suggestions are more from my perspective of breaking up a movement into small components looking for possible solutions.
Suggestion 1: Work on reducing the hunch to reduce the impact on lower back. It is possible if you train your spine. The above article link gives you a good and deep perspective into how you can do that.
Suggestion 2: He should work on his foot alignment and balance during jumps or drills. The idea should be to make your foot memorize this via movements (not via squats) so that your foot starts changing its course as per what it has learnt over a period of time. I have tested this in my last assignment with a fast bowler where he improved upon his landing. So possible…
Your opinion or questions are highly welcome.
Movement Specialist I S&C trainer I Relaxation therapist