With fall bowling leagues starting up, I asked my favorite PBA pro bowler Scott Norton for fitness tips. Scott gave me the six best fitness tips for bowlers at all levels of the sport to improve your game by keeping your body in peak fitness for bowling.
Since your lower body takes a beating, it’s very important to not only stretch before you bowl but also after you’re finished since many injuries can occur post-game. One of the best stretches is for the quadriceps:
* Stand on your left foot and grab your right shin behind you.
* Tuck your pelvis in, pull your shin toward your glutes, making sure your knee is pointing to the ground.
* Hold for 30 seconds and then switch sides.
*Another common problem facing regular bowlers is carpal tunnel. To prevent or lessen carpal tunnel symptoms, it’s important to also stretch your arms and wrists by doing the “Stretch Armstrong:”
* Place one arm straight out in front of you, elbow straight, with wrist extended and your fingers facing the floor.
* Spread your fingers slightly and use your other hand to apply gentle pressure to the downward-facing hand, stretching your wrist and fingers as far as you’re able.
* When you reach your maximum point of flexibility, hold this position for 20 seconds.
* Switch hands and repeat.
* Do this stretch two to three times on each side and try to do this stretch each hour to keep your wrist and fingers loosened up.
2. LOWER BODY WORKOUTS
The key to being a successful bowler is having a strong lower body. The most common injury sites for both professional and amateur bowlers are the lower back, knees and hips. That’s because the power generated actually comes from the bowler’s lower body and not from the arms and wrists. The best exercises for strengthening the lower extremities are lunges and squats using more repetitions and less weight. I exercise my lower body at least twice a week.
3. CORE EXERCISES
Keeping your lower body grounded or “rooted” in place as you release the ball requires a stable core. Crunches, planks and balance exercises with a stability ball ensure that your core becomes strengthened enough to maintain proper body mechanics.
I swim, play tennis or do some other sport that involves cardiovascular work. This keeps my workouts from feeling like “exercise” and makes it a little more fun.
Play in local tournaments. Even though I’m a pro, I still play localized tournaments just to get in practice and challenge myself. Since bowling is such a mental sport, the best way to work on that aspect of the game is by DOING IT!
6. DRINK LOTS OF WATER
It seems like every fitness article or workout plan always urges us to drink water. But this is very important to keep your muscles from getting tight and starting to cramp.
Even though a majority of us just bowl on the weekends with family and friends, this advice from PBA champion bowler Scott Norton can help each and every one of us prevent potential injuries so we can bowl our best game.
By Bryan Lee
Bryan Lee is a National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association (NESTA) certified personal trainer, life coach and author who has lost over 130 pounds. Please check with your personal physician before using these health and fitness tips.