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Exercises For Bowlers


If you wish to learn more about exercises for bowlers, please give some thought to a few practical recommendations for use at home and on the practice lane. As you prepare to bowl in some form of meaningful competition such as leagues, tournaments, or merely bragging rights against fellow bowlers in a practice session, developing an exercise routine can help you tone the big muscles of your body while improving your stretching ability for about 20 minutes per day at home. While at the lanes in preparation for competition, you can also warm up your body so you will be able to make effective and confident deliveries when you begin bowling for score.

Exercises for bowlers begins with stretching exercises. When engaging in a work-out routine at home, stretch your leg muscles by sitting on the floor, extending your legs outward in front of you together, and slowly reach down your calf muscles of your legs and grab and hold your legs with your hands as far down toward your ankles as you are able to stretch. Once you feel a slight burn in the hamstrings of your legs, hold that position for a count of 15 seconds before releasing your legs and relaxing.

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Next, widen your feet as far apart from one another as you are able to stretch them and make sure your legs are fully extended so the back of your knees touch the floor. Reach down your legs with each of your hands, left hand on left leg, right hand on right leg. Reach as far as is comfortable but far enough to feel a slight burning sensation behind your hamstring muscles as in the previous exercise. Hold your legs as close to your ankles as you can without injury and count to 15 seconds before releasing your hands and relaxing.

Finally, bring your feet in so the back of your ankles are as close to your groin as possible and both bottoms of your feet compress against one another and you remain in a sitting position. Use your elbows to press down on your legs just above your knees to stretch the groin muscles on the insides of your thighs toward the floor until you feel a slight burning sensation. Hold and retain the same pressure down on your legs for a count of 15 seconds before releasing your legs and relaxing.

These three leg stretching exercises all can be done from a sitting position on the floor, all should be done with slow and deliberate stretching motions, and you should be able to hold each form for a minimum of 15 seconds. In time, you will be able to reach further down your legs or apply more pressure on your groin muscles and hold the postures longer than 15 seconds. It will amaze you how much you can increase your flexibility of your big leg muscles using these exercises and how much it will help your legs to retain knee flex during your approach while bowling and prevent cramping of your muscles while helping you improve your footwork tempo and reduce fatigue during a long session on the lanes.

Doing other strength exercises at home such as forward leg lunges while holding a bowling ball waist level against your stomach will help you build strength in your thighs and tighten stomach muscles as a by-product. Alternate a leg lunge motion extending your slide leg first first until your bowling slide knee flexes to create near or at a 90 degree angle with your lower leg. Hold the form for ten seconds before stepping back to an upright standing position and then extend your opposite leg forward flexing your knee near or at 90 degrees and holding the form for ten seconds, then return to a standing position and repeat each exercise ten times slowly and with good balance keeping your head level and back as straight as possible. Holding the bowling ball is not essential to begin this series of exercises but will increase leg resistance once you develop stamina and help the abdominal muscles tighten at the same time.

A third recommended leg strengthening exercise is to stand with your feet together and raise up onto your toes and hold the form for ten seconds before releasing down to a flat footed standing position. Repeat this exercise no less than ten times slowly and hold the form up on your toes at least 10 seconds before releasing back down to the standing position. As time goes by, you will be able to do more repetitions and hold each form for longer periods of time. You may also wish to hold a bowling ball at waist level against your stomach area while doing the toe raises in much the same way as when you are doing leg lunge exercises. Added weight offers greater resistance to the leg muscles and helps condition and strengthen them to help you in your bowling approach motion.

For your upper body, it is recommended to use light weights such as "dumbbells" or stretch exercise bands with handles so you can do military presses, arm curls, and pulling up motion exercises. Pulling exercises begins with your arms first extended downward and then pulling the band or the weights up underneath your armpit area slowly and returning your arms to the hanging position next to your body. Repeat this exercise ten time slowly and do perhaps three sets of ten repetitions.

Military presses are simply holding your hands under the band handles or the free weights and slowly raising your hands to full extension above your head directly above your shoulders and then return back to a position about shoulder level, then extending again your hands and raising the weights or band handles fully stretched above your head. Repeat this exercise ten times per set and try and do three sets each home exercise session.

Arm curls are simply holding the free weights or band handles down against your thighs where your arms are fully extended down and then keeping your elbows against your stomach area, slowly curl your hands upward until your hands (or weights) lightly contact your chest. Repeat this motion ten times slowly to gain maximum benefit from the resistance and do three sets of ten repetitions each session.

These six simple exercises at home are good simultaneous stretching and strengthening exercises to build endurance and sustaining power while on the lanes. We also recommend cardiovascular exercises such as long walks at a brisk pace for anywhere from a half of an hour to one hour intervals at least five days per week.

Riding a bike or an exercise bike, using a Stairmaster device, or using a treadmill are also great ways to build endurance and cardiovascular stamina for bowling. Of course, for those of you who enjoy jogging, do so in a steady and consistent pace and build to at least one mile, if not more, depending on your age and physical and medical challenges. In many ways, the cardiovascular exercises are more important than strength exercises for bowling but doing both five days per week will get you in good shape in 60 days time so you can gain noticeable benefits on the lanes. When you are in shape, you think better, develop improved stamina, and develop better tempo and ball speed control for longer duration than before training regularly.

Now comes time to warm up at the bowling center before delivering your first ball. Try to spend a few minutes of exercise time doing all stretching before you make your first delivery of your session; get your muscles of your legs and arms loose, warm and ready to bowl. Since we must walk and swing our bowling ball in a synchronized manner and deliver the ball between 18-21 mph accurately and consistently to achieve desired results, it makes sense to stretch your leg muscles near the settee area before beginning to bowl.

Slow and smooth stretching exercises working the big muscles of your legs is a key process to limbering the legs in preparation to bowl. Stretch your hamstring muscles, the big muscles of the legs, to a point where the legs feel warm and stimulated before stepping on the approach and delivering the first shot. Because you must make a good knee flexing motion when sliding and releasing the bowling ball, your legs need to be relaxed, stretched out enough to avoid injury, and allow for a long stride and sliding action into the foul line.

General calisthenic exercises or aerobic exercises used at home are useful for stretching your bowling leg muscles. If you stretch for just a few moments slowly and smoothly before beginning to bowl, you will start off your session with good tempo and good footwork to the foul line. Avoid hurried motions by walking quicker than your best footwork pace during your first few deliveries. Anxiety creates tension and tension keeps your muscles tight. Tight muscles will not move as consistently as when properly loosened and stretched in preparation for bowling.

The same strategy should be used with your arm muscles and with limbering the shoulders before bowling. Again, general aerobic exercises will work nicely regarding your upper body muscles.

Rotate your arms, one arm at a time, in a swinging full-range of motion in large circles slowly and smoothly and then reverse the rotational direction. This type of motion loosens the shoulder sockets and the big muscles of the arm and gets your blood flowing before you bowl. Stretch your arm across your body to a full extension and with your opposite hand placed on your elbow of the arm which rests against your torso, gently stretch the arm so the shoulder muscles get loosened in preparation to deliver the bowling ball.

Stretch both arms in the same fashion individually. It is never a good idea to stretch only one side of your body but rather stretch both legs and both arms in the same manner during the warm up process. It is also a good idea to loosen your hand, wrist, and ankles before releasing a bowling ball at full speed, particularly for those of you living in cold climates.

You might wish to place your hand into your ball and make some practice swings back and forward without releasing the ball. After a few swings, then perhaps you can allow your bowling thumb to release from the hole while keeping your fingers in their holes and catch the "mini-release" in your opposite hand. Flexing your hand open and closed several times also stretches the ligaments in your gripping fingers and gets the blood flowing in your hand.

Finally, make sure your first four or five deliveries are at half speed. Do not rush to release the ball at full operating speed until you have made several deliveries. By building gradually to your full speed, you will retain consistent tempo and good releasing action on the bowling ball as opposed to hurrying your first full-speed deliveries without warming up to the task. Develop a pre-shot routine, like the pro bowlers use, so each time you ready to bowl, you perform your physical stretching exercises and take the first several deliveries at half throttle. Be precise in your warm-up routine just as you wish to be when delivering the bowling ball when in competition.


Since our policy is always to recommend you consult a certified bowling instructor or local bowling professional to help you improve your game, the same holds true with consulting your physician or physical trainer about warming up properly before beginning your session on the lanes. With a good coach and with proper medical advice, you can improve your game enormously. Also, we realize some of you already train regularly and have your own routine and exercises which keep you in good bowling shape. We urge you continue and help your teammates realize the benefits of good physical conditioning.

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