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STABILIZATION IS HIP! - Strong Hips Will Aid Leg Strength and Balance

By Nick Bohanan

Bowling puts your body in positions it is not always used to being in, so it’s important to have good leg strength and good balance, particularly at the finish. Part of establishing good strength and balance comes from hip stabilization.

Hip stabilization gives you strength in the way balance does. The primary benefit of stable hips is added strength at the finish, but stabilization also helps your hips stay level in each step of the approach. If you have weakness in one hip or the other, it can affect your posture from side to side and front to back
as you move from one step to another.

Hip stabilization is mostly about the pelvic bones. Your hips are ball-and-socket joints and the pelvis is the bone that connects your hips with your spine. There’s a little bit of movement in that area and it needs to be stable in order to provide your lower body with support.

If you’re not strong in those areas you tend to compensate with one side or the other. The result is pain in one hip or the other, or in your lower back. Because of the natural imbalance in weight distribution, bowling can accelerate that pain.

In the finish position your slide hip has the greatest strain. You still need flexibility in that area, but you also need strength and stabilization. Also, weak glutes are prevalent in bowling. Many bowlers are
bent forward at the finish, which strains the glutes. There are a few exercises that can help strengthen the gluteus medius, which correlate with abduction, extending one leg away from the other.

First, lay on your side. Lift the top leg straight up and away, tightening your glutes while relaxing your abs. You only need to raise your leg 12-18 inches to be effective. (Going higher than 18 inches reduces the effectiveness of the exercise.) Hold the leg at that angle for five seconds. Do three sets of 10.
The other exercise is the Clam Shell. Lay on your side with your knees bent at about 60 degrees. Keeping your ankles together, separate your knees, lifting the top knee only. Do three sets of 10.

These exercises will help strengthen your hips and make you more stable through your approach and to the finish.

— Nick Bohanan is United States Bowling Congress Sports Performance Specialist.

Permission granted by USBC/Luby Publishing