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We always see a few athletes/people who would not miss a workout. However, does that hard work reflect in their body? Whereas, on the contrary you will see a few athletes who stay in nice shape all through their career.

What could be the reason that they are not able to shape up well besides training hard?

Let us understand ‘progression’ for a sportsman/cricketer:

Stage 1: Imbalanced body


Can you see an imbalance between the right and left half in the picture of a 17 year old right handed batsman and part time off spin bowler? Perhaps not! Now look at the next picture and then come back to this picture, you will be able to see the noticeable imbalance in his body.
You would see this more in an average cricketer or any sportsman and much more in fast bowlers.


In my opinion, it is important to work on the structure first and not think of going heavy overnight. One of first outcome of balance is more strength. This, to me, should be the first stage for any cricketer before they start going heavy in lieu of strength. This boy started training in the gym 3 weeks back and he has had 8 visits in total to the gym since the start. The focus was more on the movements – smooth & powerful, for structure instead of weight.

Started from ZERO and progressed. It is at this stage that he is ready for Stage 2. Not 3 weeks back!

This also takes care of neural adaptation which is a prerequisite for hypertrophy.


Stage 2: After balance comes rhythm & hypertrophy

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The next stage after this is what I call the building stage. I often see sportsmen jumping to this stage directly to gain muscle size, and this may be the reason, why we don’t see many athletes not shaping as their training regime would promise. Perhaps a reason for injuries? The picture on the right displays a good foundation for building a robust back structure as shown in below pictures.


Every training session should earn you more fitness even though the progression becomes slow after a period of time. Keep making the muscles stronger in off-season and shift back to Stage 1 as and when you have time to train at the gym, during season.

Remember ‘stage 1’ is the backbone of your strength and saves you from injuries.

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The progression could be taken to any extent. However, a good foundation is important to built a strong structure.

Ques: How many times do we see muscles growing from good to better?

Ans: If we follow Stage 1 before progressing to Stage 2; we have every chance to shape up the muscle to the extent we like.

Anyway, size is irrelevant when you are working on limited timelines. You need the best out of a session for your muscles to help you in the real time movements on the field. This is the objective of any training including strength training.

Remember: Structure, rhythm & load. This is how we should progress in strength training for a robust sport friendly fitness level. 

PS: The result that you see in my pictures is a result of 6 weeks of training. Generally it would take months to build to this level but not when if you have progressed from Stage 1.

Simplifying training….

Umesh Chhikara