The topic of movement is highly complicated and its science doesn’t seem to make sense to many. Yes…because no athlete that I have trained (including top level) understand the value of movement. All they understand these days is ‘strength’ via load (gym). I feel bad for these athletes and angry at trainers they have worked with all these years. If this was not enough, all rehab is being done in the gyms!!

So let us ignore the scientific language because it doesn’t seem to make sense to many. Instead, let us understand movement, its importance, and how movement brings strength in an athlete by sheer LOGIC and reasoning. Something that all of us could relate to.

Ques: Which of the two actions you think will bring more force, power, speed, etc.?

Ans: LOGIC – the foot that hits the ground with more force will withdraw more force from the ground. Simple?

Ques: Does this force help an athlete take off faster?

Ans: LOGIC – Yes

Assuming these are two different boys – the left boy can do 150 kilos of squat VS right side boy who can barely do 50 kg squat.

Ques: Regardless of their squat strength, which of the two will speed faster?

Ans: LOGIC – right of course

Logic explains us why correcting the movement is more important that squatting in the gym for speed and take off. Imagine the postural versions of take off on the field. It is next to impossible and master each take off (from stance). However, we can prepare all the relevant muscles, ligaments, joints, & kinetic chain for any take off and thereby, master take off. How do you do that? Squatting? NOOOOOOOO…………

Ques: Moving forward…can we make this better?

Ans Of course….

Ques: How does posture help in speed?

Ans: LOGIC – the one whose body is better placed to move forward. Because withdrawing force is one part of the story, positioning your body to decrease air resistance is another.

Second LOGIC is even simpler – if my entire body is in line in the direction of movement, then I should be able to cover more distance.

Teach your body to follow the chain and everything else comes in order by its own.

Ques: Which of the two do you think move faster?

Ans: LOGIC – your turn to tell!

Ques: How does one improve?

Ans: Just like progression in strength training where we increase the load, amount of exercise, repetitions etc., we make swift progression to learn movement first. It is not one day job. Neither it is about doing repetitive drills. Its more about honing your bodies natural tendency and prepare your muscles for the same. Don’t create resistance by tightening your muscles, pulling your tendons, or stressing your joints; instead, prepare your body in the most natural manner. You take off and run from weird angles/posture. Thankfully without weights. How one should improve? With weights? Apply LOGIC….

Ques: What comes first?

Ans: Syncing your upper limb with lower limb comes first. Once this is done, you will find your action improve. Action is nothing but a display of all body parts doing their work in a movement/sequence naturally.

LOGIC –

Lower limb to upper – if my lower back stay in line with my gluteal region then we would see a straight spine in line of the movement (moving forward in this case) from lower to upper.

Upper limb – AND if my spine is straight then there is no reason why my hands/shoulders will go anywhere else to compensate. They will have to follow their natural movement to propel the body forward.

Its that simple.

Ques: I have sorted the basics. Now what?

Ans: Then comes fine tuning the movement further to generate more power into the movement. It could be at feet, or back, or overall action….let an expert guide you.

Example: the picture on the right picture.

LOGIC – (as explained in the 2nd picture)

Ques: How does wrong biomechanics lure injuries?

Ans: Wrong biomechanics make it worse for an athlete if they have been training at the gym.

LOGIC: anybody who is training at the gym is strengthening (over strengthening in most cases, in sports) their muscles. Some parts like shoulders, glutes, or chest are more strengthened than the rest. But, as we have learnt so far, any movement is a work of many muscles, joints, ligaments, etc working together to form a kinetic chain – different kinetic chain than the weight room exercises. Then how does over strengthening a few help?

Ques: Do you think (regardless of my action) I would be putting equal amount of force or more (extra strength due to weight training) in comparison to any other athlete?

Ans: LOGIC – Yes…100%. Whether it is the arm or shoulder…an athlete does compensate for biomechanics via muscles.

Human body has an amazing machinery by virtue of which it automatically facilitates the demands by over-compensating and over-doing. It doesn’t matter if my action is right or wrong, it will inadvertently maximise the use of strength via stronger/bigger muscle groups.

Ques: What happens then?

Ans: LOGIC – What do you see happens? One is effortless meaning overall less effort, less energy (same output), and faster. And in the other scenario, you put more effort for the same or less result.

Ideal training in any sports – keep it as close to the sport of play. If it requires use of excessive strength (rugby/boxing), then by all means, improve your strength. But if it requires tactical movements then one should train their body for these movements. No amount of strength can save an athlete from injuries if they are not well equipped to perform the sporting movements effortlessly.

Injuries don’t see your body shape or muscle size!

Examples where movement is bringing strength:

  1. Roger Frederer (or majority of tennis players) looks leaner and weaker than most sportsmen in the sports world. Any guy working out in my gym looks stronger than them. And yet…not many can match his powerful serves or his back hand drives.

2. Badminton players – one can’t match their speed, agility, and stamina that easily. Their jumps are higher than most sportsmen (leave aside sport like basketball). But don’t they say you need to squat heavy to jump higher? Oooops!! Their smashing power – speed at which shuttle travels in km’s is more or matches the best travel speeds in the world of sports.

Example where movement is not considered important – CRICKET

a) Max injuries

b) Max re-injuries

c) Hardly 4/5 players in the world who could bowl 155 km’s/hour plus. Average bowler bowls at 135km/hour. Where do you these such a vast difference? Can you think of any other sport? What’s stopping bowlers?

d) Over weight players – why? When you are training well (as per your trainers), eating well, living out of 5 stars; what makes you fat?

e) Highly imbalanced structures

f) Least stamina in compare to any other sports – we often athletes going out of breath while running 3 even though they would have passed YoYo test. Why?

g) Every player can hit a six – players with bodies don’t hit any longer than the ones who do not have big muscles. Why? What’s the point of bigger muscles then? Where are cricketers using this strength?

What is common in cricketers- Weight training ?

If this still doesn’t get into the deaf years of cricket administrators and coaches (who prefer working with their known or an international) instead of what is required, then God help cricketers.

Although the above logic’s are enough to explain what we are doing in cricket is WRONG. It doesn’t matter if you are with the biggest team in the world and have had 40 years of experience behind you. You surely must have injured several players. It is WRONG and it is not helping majority of players. Look at number of injuries in Cricket today. However, if you are one of those who believe Olympic lifts or weight training are must for a cricketer then please come forward. But know that you have NO sense of human body or training regardless of the level you are at, or degrees, or your experience with top teams. You are at that level because you know people and not because you have produced fit players. If not then match the below record:

The writer of this post has 3 back to back cricket seasons under his belt as a trainer with NO-INJURIES covering different age groups – U19, U23, and Senior (Ranji trophy).

When did you hear it last?

Umesh Chhikara

Sports Scientist