When you're bowling for girls' night out or practicing for a league tournament, you must get your body ready for some bowling action to help prevent injury and increase your ball speed and accuracy. Bowling is serious exercise disguised as fun; it works most major muscle groups in your body and uses the ball's weight as resistance. According to MayoClinic.com, if you're 160 pounds, you can burn up to 219 calories per hour while bowling with the girls.
The idea of bowling is simple, but in practice, you must contort your body in just the right way to get that perfect spin on the ball. Keeping your body flexible and working as a unit when weighted on one side means some creative exercises before you bowl. A reverse lunge with a downward rotation is just the trick. Step back into a low lunge, then put one hand on the floor -- the hand opposite of your bent leg, such as your right hand down if your left leg is bent. Turning your body and extending the other hand up toward the ceiling gives you that rotation, getting muscles ready in your stomach, sides, hips, legs and shoulders. Alternate sides for 10 repetitions.
Keeping your balance is key in bowling; no one wants to see you fall over the foul line after executing the perfect glide to the line. Because you end your walk to the line on one foot as you're swinging the heavy ball, building your balance helps your body prepare. Knee hugs help you find that balance one leg at a time. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and squat down slightly. Lift one knee toward your chest and hold it there as you stand. As you release the knee and move your foot back toward the floor, sink into a slight squat again and lift the other knee. Try to make it a continuous motion for dynamic stretching rather than holding your knee up for several seconds. Do at least 10 repetitions.
Getting your blood flowing prepares you for powerful swings as well as hearty celebrating when you get that strike. Dynamic stretching gets your muscles warm and loose, which is key with both your arms and legs. Standing beside a sturdy chair or a wall for balance, swing one leg forward and backward, keeping it straight. Start low and gradually increase the height of your swings for at least 30 seconds before switching legs. For your arms, dig into some arm circles -- not the tiny ones out to your sides like your coach used to do in gym class, but big, giant windmills that get your shoulders and upper arms working. Go for at least one minute.
Wrists and Hands
Your major muscle groups provide the power you need for a strike, but your hand and wrist give you the finesse for a precision hit on the "1" pin. Using a light bowling ball can help you warm up and build muscle. With your arm hanging down, swing the ball forward and backward, clenching your grip in the finger holes. Take your thumb out on the up-swing and use your wrist to tilt the ball up, catching it with your other hand, continuing for at least 30 seconds. Repeating the move with your other arm is key to building both sides of your body equally; your off-hand is essential for balance and helping set your initial grip on the ball, so always work both sides of your body when getting ready to bowl.
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