sport news Lifting 84kg weights and running 2km in under seven minutes, Ben Stokes has ...

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() Ben Stokes is one of the fittest and best-prepared cricketers in the England team and he does it his way.

He doesn't shout about it. He leads by example and takes his responsibilities very seriously. He and Jos Buttler have led the way in this group with how they conduct themselves from a physical point of view and how hard they push themselves.  

Alastair Cook used to get the plaudits for never knowing when to stop and pushing himself to the limits and Stokesy is similar. He pushes himself to some dark places when he trains, which is nice as a strength and conditioning coach because I don't have to push him.

There are four parts to an England cricketer's training: cricket-specific work; gym work concentrating on strength, power and co-ordination; aerobic development and sprinting, which is an extension of their power work in the gym.

Ben Stokes' dedication to self-improvement has made him one of the world's best all-rounders

Ben Stokes' dedication to self-improvement has made him one of the world's best all-rounders

STRENGTH

The strength work will concentrate on traditional lifts like pull-ups, bent-over rows and bench press. He lifts heavy weights - for example around 40 to 42 kilos in each hand for a dumb bell bench press - for relatively low repetitions, and does it consistently. 

Your chest is your engine but there is no point in having a Ferrari without any brakes, so Ben will do a lot of pulling to give him those brakes and allow him to go faster. 

He has a pre-match lifting routine the day before each match and his physical ability allows his skill to come to the fore. He has got himself into a place where he can physically perform those ridiculous skills we see on the field.

He sticks to his bespoke conditioning programme; completing a pre-match lifting routine

He sticks to his bespoke conditioning programme; completing a pre-match lifting routine

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Emma Gardner, our head nutritionist, has done brilliant work with Stokesy over the last year or so. He may have talked about his McDonald's and Yorkie bars after Headingley - and I think we can all forgive him those - but he has actually made huge changes from a body composition point of view in reducing body fat and optimising lean mass. 

Keeping his body composition optimal will support his athleticism on the field and reduce the likelihood of injury. You can't out-train a bad diet, that's a fact, and while Ben can indulge himself after a match with that Filet-O-Fish, he has actually been very good with his pre- and post-match food. He's taken on a lot more carbohydrates this summer and where once he was prone to cramping now he is aware how he needs to fuel before a match and he hasn't cramped up since he's been working with Emma. 

You cannot do what he did at Headingley on that last day and throughout the World Cup without having enough fuel on board. In a Test match day, Stokesy could cover between 20 and 30 kilometres, running in at 25km an hour when he is bowling, and within that you have repeated sprints and powerful movements. I wouldn't like to put a figure on how much energy the players burn up but it's a good few thousand calories a day. If Stokesy is going to bowl as many overs as he did at Headingley and follow it up batting the way he did, we have to get as much

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