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How James Fleming is using Hytro BFR to prepare the Middlesex Cricket team this season

We caught up with James Fleming, Head of Athletic Performance at Middlesex County Cricket Club, to hear how he’s using Hytro BFR to help his players gain a competitive advantage.

Middlesex County Cricket player wearing Hytro BFR Recovery Shorts

With England’s winter campaign coming to an end in Bangladesh this month, attention now turns toward the domestic game. Though frost and snow may only be a recent memory, pre-season fixtures are already in full swing, with the English County Championship set to resume on April 6.  

 

“Over the winter, the players are in four days a week. They do two speed, two strength and two conditioning sessions each week around their sessions focussed on cricketing skills,” said Fleming. “In summer, the training schedules are very dependent on the fixtures. For county cricketers, those schedules can be hectic. Games in the County Championship last for four days, with only three rest days between fixtures, while across the shorter format recovery is even more reduced.” 

 

The introduction of the Hundred has squeezed even more into the already busy schedule of county cricketers. Some counties now play across four formats (the Hundred, Twenty20, 50-over and four-day) over a six-month period, further increasing the workload on cricketers. Such demands mean that recovery is becoming ever more important. 

 

 

“Cricket is a sport where you have to come back day after day. Players travel all around the country. One day they could be in Durham, the next in south Wales. If they’re playing at 80% then they aren’t performing to their maximum and it’ll impact the team. That’s why we need to ensure they recover as best they can in as short a period of time as possible.” 

 

With players bowling faster than ever, hitting further than ever, running more sharply between the wickets, and being increasingly alive in the field throughout games, the physical demands of the game are growing, requiring players to be in top condition in every game. To do so, they need to recover as effectively as possible. Recovery, Fleming finds, can be quite individualised. Beyond the ‘non-negotiables’ of sleep and nutrition, different players like different modalities. Soft tissue massages and ice baths are popular, and at Middlesex so too is Blood Flow Restriction. 

 

“We’ve used BFR in different ways over the years,” he said. “Mainly it’s been in a rehabilitation setting, but more recently we’ve been using BFR for performance. Previously, we used BFR cuffs. Though they have their benefits, we found that they could be quite fiddly. Since the winter, we’ve been using Hytro BFR. It’s been highly effective because of how user-friendly the tee and shorts are. Players can strap themselves in and be self-sufficient with their BFR work. I no longer need to supervise them, as I was doing when they were using cuffs. We first started Hytro BFR to supplement our strength work. From pre-season, it’ll mainly be utilised from a recovery point of view to gain an advantage over our opponents.” 

 

 

When players are presented with a new tool, their reactions can be unpredictable. Fleming admits that some took a bit of time to get used to Hytro BFR, but firmly believes that over the long term they’ll reap the benefits. “If they don’t like something they’re not going to do it,” said Fleming. “Player buy-in comes through relationships. By relating it back to their sport, showing how the tool will benefit them and make them a better cricketer, you can prove that this isn’t just something they’re doing for the sake of it. Once they understand that they realise how powerful it can be.” 

 

With Middlesex CCC’s men’s team, academy and Sunrisers women’s team all using Hytro BFR wearables, Fleming’s players are about to see the impact that Hytro BFR can have on their season. 

 

 

Read about how the Hytro BFR wearables can support efficient recovery whilst on tour or book a demo for your club using the link below. 

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