Bowling is not considered a physically demanding sport compared to other games like football or basketball. However, bowling requires a variety of athletic movements to deliver a weighted ball across a sixty-foot lane. Your body has to bend, stretch and keep you balanced simultaneously, which can be pretty demanding.
Like any other sport, there are particular exercises you can do to make your body strong and in shape to bowl successfully. So, which workouts are best for bowlers? The best exercises for bowlers include stretches, warm-ups, shoulder sets, finger exercises, and cardio. Read on to learn more about these best exercises for bowlers.
Stretching your muscles is an essential part of exercising. It warms up your body, preventing you from injuries, and helps keep your body flexible. There are different stretches that you can do as a bowler:
1. Overhead Stretches
It's the best option for stretching your shoulders, upper arm muscles, and forearms. Here's how to go about it;
- Raise one arm above your head.
- Bend your elbow (of the raised hand) to a point your fingers can trickle the back of your neck.
- With your free hand, hold your elbow, gently pull it to the back of your head, and maintain that position for 10-20 seconds. This stretch should not be painful, but you should feel a stretch on the hand you had raised.
- Feel free to tilt your waist sideways toward the direction you're pulling your hand to. This move will make you feel a slight stretch on the lower side of your abdomen.
- Repeat the process with your other arm.
- You can repeat this exercise 2-3 times per arm.
2. Cross Stretches
It's the best stretch before you start bowling because it warms up your muscles and prepares them for action. You can also undertake these stretches at home to increase your flexibility. To perform cross stretches;
- While standing, bring your arm across the chest and keep it somewhat loose.
- With your free arm, gently pull your extended arm at the elbow to a point you'll feel a stretch on your shoulder.
- Maintain that position for 10-20 seconds prior to switching arms.
- Repeat this stretch at least thrice for each arm.
With your upper body now stretched, it's time to work on your abdominal muscles and legs, strengthen your knee joints, and boost your flexibility. Here is how to make lunges;
- Stand with your feet shoulder-length apart while placing your hands on your hips.
- Make a 2-3 feet stride with one foot while maintaining the one planted.
- Go down with the planted foot into the L position, only allowing your toes to touch the ground and not your knee. At this position, your extended leg should now be in the shape of an inverted
- While in this pose, ensure your back is straight and maintain your hands on the hips while in this position.
- Maintain this posture for 10-20 seconds, standing up and alternating the other leg. Repeat the process at least ten times for each leg.
4. Wrist Extension/Flexion
This stretch works on the key areas you use for bowling; fingers, wrist, and forearm. Besides, wrist extension/flexion helps improve your flexibility in the mentioned areas. Here’s how to go about it;
- Stretch your hand and twist it so that the inner side of your elbow is facing upwards.
- Use your free hand to hold your fingers and lightly pull them downwards till you feel your forearm stretching. Hold on to this position for about 10-15 seconds.
- Alternate your arms and repeat the process. You can do this stretch at least thrice for each arm.
5. Fingers Stretching
As part of hand stretching techniques, remember your fingers. They are the most essential part of the bowling grip. They provide control over your ball flight and help you achieve a consistent release. Here are easy ways to stretch and exercise your fingers;
- Bending and folding: The quickest way to stretch and exercise your fingers. Hold your hands up with your palms facing away from you. Proceed to bend each finger outwardly, starting from the little finger and proceeding to the last one (thumb). But remember, when bending one finger, the others remain still.
Bend and fold fingers
Set a pen below your first knuckles and try folding your fingers over the pen. Try rolling the pen up towards the crease of your hand using your four fingers.
Do this exercise for like a minute on each hand. Take a rest of about four minutes in between alternating your hands. This exercise increases blood flow to your fingers and strengthens them.
It’s the best exercise for improving your finger grip strength. Squeeze a stress ball or tennis ball randomly while watching or whenever either of your hands is free.
Strengthening exercises are crucial for preparing your body to withstand the rigors of bowling. Some of the strengthening exercises to look at include;
If there are some hard-to-reach muscles in your abdomen, sit-ups can help you strengthen them. Other benefits of sit-ups include;
- Strengthening your lower back.
- Giving your body an athletic performance
- Increases body flexibility
- Healthier necks and shoulders
Squats are a must-do for every bowler! These exercises help strengthen your upper legs, muscles, and knees, which are crucial when you’re bowling. Squats also improve your overall balance, coordination, and leg flexibility.
They are ideal for strengthening your abdominal muscles, arms, elbow joints, and shoulders. All these muscles are critical in bowling.
Cardio exercises can help you improve your bowling skills. Engaging yourself in low-impact activities such as swimming, walking, cycling, and rowing have a low risk of suffering from injuries.
Full Body Exercises
Bowling is a full-body sport; as such, you need to focus on exercises that will strengthen your entire body. Work on your upper and lower body, flexibility, cardio, and core.
Start working on the above exercises, and you will start noticing improvements in your average bowling score. While you might only be able to implement some of them, start with the most straightforward bowling exercises before doing the ones you find complicated.