Bowling Exercises to Boost Performance

Warm up before you start bowling. It may seem silly to you, but do you know that most injuries usually occur in the first few minutes of bowling?

Though bowling is not seen as a heavy or terribly strenuous sport, you should be aware that with the motion and repetition you could fall prey to muscle strain if you do not properly prepare before playing your game.

How Warming Up Can Benefit Your Bowling Game

Bowling takes strength, coordination and flexibility. Your bowling performance is greatly enhanced by your pre-bowling warm up routine.  By warming up before you bowl, you'll be more relaxed, better able to focus on the job at and less likely to injure yourself.

Warming up increases your body temperature slightly by increasing blood flow to the muscles. Warm muscles are less likely to cramp or tear.

Stretching before exercise also gives your body a cue, on a cellular level, that you're about to engage in physical activity. Your heart rate and respiration change in order to accommodate the increased workload. Your glycogen stores are tapped to provide the energy for a great game of bowling, creating peak physical performance to win games!

So develop a warm-up routine (as shown below in two phases). Your warm up routine should become a ritual before you bowl…every time you bowl.

Phase One: Limbering Exercises

Before performing muscle group-specific exercises, it's important to limber-up in general. Limbering exercises help tone and strengthen both your muscles and your cardiovascular system.

It's important to spend about 5 minutes in this phase of your warm up in order to ensure your muscles are warmed up and your joints are adequately lubricated.

Begin your warm up by walking or jogging in place. A brisk walk or slow jog from one end of the bowling alley to the other will get the blood flowing to your muscles.

Phase Two: Stretching Exercises

Next, spend a few minutes (say 5 to 10 minutes) working your major muscle groups. Since the bowling motion involves the entire body, bowlers should not concentrate on any one body part, and failure to stretch a part of the body increases the chance of injury to that area.

The following exercises help stretch and warm up the main areas that will be used when bowling.

Back Stretch

The back can be stretched using a number of techniques, but a common way is to lie on your back with the right arm extended outward. The right leg is then bent and pulled across the torso using the left hand. You should use the other leg and hand to stretch the left side of the lower back as well.

Hip Flexors Stretch

Hip flexors can be stretched while standing by taking a step forward while keeping the back leg straight. The forward leg should be bent until the bowler can feel the front area of the opposite hip being stretched. Both sides should be stretched in this manner.

Wrist Stretch

While keeping your right elbow straight, use your left hand to bend your right wrist backwards as far as you can until you feel a stretch in your wrist/forearm. Hold and repeat with the other side. Then, bend your right wrist in the opposite direction until you feel a stretch. Hold this stretch and then repeat with the other wrist.

The legs require three different methods of stretching, one each for the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves.

Quadriceps Stretch

Stand with your left hand holding onto something stable for balance. Using your right hand, grab onto your right foot and pull your heel in towards your buttocks. Keep your knees close together during this stretch. If you do not feel a stretch in the front of the right hip and thigh, pull your right knee further back behind the left knee. Hold this pose for 30 seconds and then repeat with the left side.

Hamstring Stretch

Sitting on the floor you will stretch out one leg and bend the other leg and foot toward your body. Bend and touch the toes of the extended leg and hold 10 to 20 seconds. If you are not flexible and cannot touch your toes, go as far as you can and hold it. Repeat for the opposite side. You should try to do about 10 of these for each side. This will loosen your hamstring up and help protect you against injury.

Calf Stretch

Stand a few feet from a wall and at shoulder level put both your hands on the wall. Step back with your right leg, keeping it straight, while the left knee bends. With both heels on the floor, lean forward by bending your left knee until you feel a stretch in your calf. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.