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Jonny Bairstow’s Ashes workout: bungees, sprints and 600 squats a day 

Jonny Bairstow talks to The Telegraph about his fitness secrets – from Wattbike sprints to ballistic bungee drills

1. Wicketkeepers do 600 squats a day

“During a series when I am keeping wicket, I am doing effectively 600 squats a day on the pitch, just by getting into position for each delivery. I also cover 14k a day when I keep wicket. So during the series itself my fitness is more about maintenance. I don’t do heavy squatting because the 600 I am doing during the match takes care of that. I focus more on maintaining my range of movement and my strength.”

2. Wattbike intervals keep you sharp

“Before the series I was doing a lot of higher reps for fitness conditioning. On the treadmill you might do 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. On the Wattbike, it might be 6 lots of 20 seconds to prepare yourself, and then 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. I would do 20-25 of those intervals. In the gym we did circuits which are tailored to your individual position, depending on your physical capacity, any niggles and things like that.”

3. Ballistic bungee work boosts your power

“With (wicketkeeping coach) Bruce French, I use a body harness with elasticated belts on it. In warm-ups I do ballistic work where I jump over stumps and other movements so I am constantly firing up my legs and becoming more powerful. During training sessions I will have the harness on and I will do all the same movements I do keeping wicket but with someone holding on to the elastic to pull me in different directions. It’s all about making your movements more powerful.”

4. Fuel up with scrambled eggs

“In the morning I like to have scrambled eggs and salmon for breakfast. I will have some brown bread to get some carbs in, and I will try to get some fruit in me too. And definitely a coffee.”

5. Sharpen up your reactions

“We have got orange Katchet boards, like corrugated iron, which someone throws a ball at to help me train my reactions and replicate standing up against the wicket. I also use a bowling machine which fires the ball against a bat so it replicates hitting the outside edge. It’s good for helping to maintain your posture and balance and your reactions. You can get closer and closer or ramp the pace up.”

6. Prepare for the environment you’ll face

“Before the series I was going into the sauna a bit more at the gym and trying to acclimatise that way because as soon as you get out there you are facing 25-45 degrees of heat. Although I didn’t use it personally we also had an outdoor tent at Loughborough and it was very warm in there so people could train in a warm environment.”

7. Eat what you’re going to burn

“In Bangladesh I burnt 6,000 calories in a day so although you want to eat something light before going into the field, you can’t be eating too light when you are doing 6,000 calories a day. I lost 2 kilos of fluid in 2 hours in one match. It’s the same for the bowlers. You can’t be eating too light if you’re going to bowl 20 overs.”

8. Get used to dining out

“We are very restricted on what we can eat because there are not many sports where you leave the hotel at 8.30am and get back at 7.30pm. We have breakfast at the hotel, we come to the ground and the next meal will be at lunchtime at 1pm so you are dependent on what menu they offer at the ground. Snacks will be brought out if we are fielding. We then have tea and an evening meal so we are basically eating out all the time. It is very unique.”

9. Enjoy the down time

“You can’t be living and breathing cricket all the time. You need to have a release and switch off. It’s nice to go down to the beach. We tend to play a fair amount of golf on tour. Quite a few lads have their clubs: myself, Woakesy, Jimmy (Anderson), Broady. Mark Ramprakash loves his golf and Paul Collingwood does too. Everyone will give it a go.

On tour I sometimes watch Netflix. I have been watching Shooter by Mark Wahlberg which is very good. It is different depending on where you go. In Bangladesh and India, we tend to take more box sets or books. In Australia and South Africa we can get out and see places a bit more.”

10. Warm up with football

“All the boys play football in the warm-up. There are loads of different bits in the warm-up and it is very tailored to the bowlers and the batsmen so we will slope off into two groups and then come together to play football. Mo (Ali) thinks he should be on about 500 goals but I reckon he has got about five. Chris Woakes is a very good player. If Woakesy and I get on the same team, good luck.”


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