October 21, 2009
By Nick Bohanan
USBC Exercise and Strength Conditioning Specialist
Before league bowling starts, bowlers can be found doing a variety of things - talking to one another, preparing bowling balls, etc. While those activities have their place, they are not nearly as important as the one activity far too few bowlers engage in: stretching/warming up.
Just like all other athletes, bowlers need to spend adequate time getting their bodies ready for competition. This is especially important for league and tournament bowlers who place a great deal of emphasis on results. Well, if you want your body to be there for you during competition, you have to be there for it before competition; therefore, I suggest creating a regimented pre-competition stretching/warm-up program. Here's a 5-10 minute program you can try:
Jogging in place or jumping jacks - The goal is to get your body loose and your blood pumping. Doing one of these two exercises for 30-45 seconds will definitely help you with that.
Torso twists - With your feet planted and shoulder-width apart, rotate your upper body from side to side.
Leg swings - Stand with feet together, but place all of your weight on one foot while allowing the other foot to hover just barely off the ground. Keeping your leg fully extended, begin swinging your leg straight forward and straight backward like a pendulum. Allow that swinging action to go as far forward and backward as it can without causing you to lose balance.
Arm swings - From a normal standing position, swing your arms together, allowing your arms to cross and uncross as they move in front of your chest.
Side bends - From a standing position, stretch your arms straight over your head and lead as far as you can to one side. Be sure to keep your shoulders and hips in line while doing so.
This routine represents the bare minimum you should do to warm up before competition. Feel free to add additional exercises and stretches, and be sure to do them every time you are getting ready to bowl. You'll be amazed by how much better your body feels and is able to perform.