The 3 Best Stretches for Tenpin Bowling

Improve your tenpin bowling and minimize injuries with 3 of the best tenpin bowling stretches.

by Brad Walker | First Published May 8, 2010 | Updated April 21, 2019
Tenpin bowling is a competitive sport where a player tries to score points by knocking down pins with the help of a ball rolled along a wooden or a polyurethane lane.

According to an estimate, more individuals play bowling than any other sport; with the notable exception of football. Its origins can be traced to antiquity. However, bowling gained popularity only after it spread to America in the 16th century.

Tenpin Bowling Stretches and Flexibility Exercises

Muscles used in Tenpin Bowling

Bowling involves all the major muscle groups including the lower back, quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus (buttocks), deltoid and the rotator cuff complex. Of particular interest are the muscles of the upper extremity that affect grip and finger strength (biceps, forearm, wrist, fingers and thumb).

Ten-pin bowling requires a tremendous amount of speed, strength, agility and coordination. Large ground reaction forces acting on the joints of the body, and repetitive movements during training and competition put the athlete at an increased risk of injury.

Most Common Tenpin Bowling Injuries

Bowlers are prone to a wide variety of both acute (traumatic) and chronic (overuse) injuries. The nature of the activity causes considerable stress to muscles, tendons and ligaments as well as making such athletes vulnerable to strains and sprains. More often than not, injuries involve fingers, wrists, elbow and shoulder. However, knee and lower back injuries are a common occurrence as well. Injuries due to falls, and dislocation or sprains due to fingers getting caught in the holes of the ball can also occur. Some of the more frequently encountered injuries include:

  • Thumb and finger sprain;
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome;
  • DeQuervain’s syndrome;
  • Biceps tendinopathy;
  • Elbow injuries, including lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) and tendinitis;
  • Shoulder Injuries, including rotator cuff tear or strain;
  • Lower back pain;
  • Adductor (groin) strain;
  • Knee ligament injuries, namely, the cruciates or the collaterals;
  • Knee meniscus injuries;
  • Patello-Femoral syndrome; and
  • Ankle sprain.
Stretches for tenpin bowling

Injury Prevention Strategies

Proper training, good overall conditioning, and using well maintained and correctly fitted equipment will help reduce the overall incidence of injury. Additionally:

  • Warm up for 10 to 20 minute before playing; including cardio work or calisthenics (exercises using body weight) and stretching exercises.
  • Cool down properly after training and competition with gentle stretching.
  • Design and implementation of a strength training program for improving: core strength; finger and wrist strength; and muscles specific to bowling like the shoulders, forearm, quadriceps, hamstrings and adductors.
  • Include aerobic training to prevent fatigue in later stages of training and competition.
  • Stretching, with specific emphasis on the muscles used in bowling like the shoulders, quadriceps, hamstrings and lower back.
  • The use of proper technique, with regular input from coaches, will help to reduce injuries.

The 3 Best Tenpin Bowling Stretches

Tenpin bowling stretches are one of the most under-utilized techniques for improving athletic performance, preventing sports injury and properly rehabilitating sprain and strain injury. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that something as simple as stretching won’t be effective.

Below are 3 of the best stretches for tenpin bowling; obviously there are a lot more, but these are a great place to start. Please make special note of the instructions with each stretch, and if you currently have any chronic or recurring muscle or joint pain please take extra care when performing the stretches below, or consult with your physician or physical therapist before performing any of the following stretches.

Instructions: Slowly move into the stretch position until you feel a tension of about 7 out of 10. If you feel pain or discomfort you’ve pushed the stretch too far; back out of the stretch immediately. Hold the stretch position for 20 to 30 seconds while relaxing and breathing deeply. Come out of the stretch carefully and perform the stretch on the opposite side if necessary. Repeat 2 or 3 times.

Chest and shoulder stretch for tenpin bowling
Assisted Reverse Chest and Shoulder Stretch: Stand upright with your back towards a table or bench and place your hands on the edge. Bend your arms and slowly lower your entire body.
Lower back and core stretch for tenpin bowling
Lying Knee Roll-over Lower Back and Core Stretch: While lying on your back, bend your knees and let them fall to one side. Keep your arms out to the side and let your back and hips rotate with your knees.
Hip and quad stretch for tenpin bowling
Kneeling Hip and Quad Stretch: Kneel on one foot and the other knee. If needed, hold on to something to keep your balance and then push your hips forward.

Want more Tenpin Bowling Stretches?

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Research and References

Brad Walker - AKA The Stretch CoachAbout the Author: Brad Walker is often referred to as the "Stretch Coach" and has even been called the Stretching Guru. Magazines such as Runners World, Bicycling, Triathlete, Swimming & Fitness, and Triathlon Sports have all featured his work. Amazon (author page) has listed his books on five Best-Seller lists. Google cites over 100,000 references to him and his work on the internet. And satisfied customers from 122 countries have sent 1,000's of verified customer reviews. If you want to know about stretching, flexibility or sports injury management, Brad Walker is the go-to-guy.

Disclaimer: The health and fitness information presented on this website is intended as an educational resource and is not intended as a substitute for proper medical advice. Please consult your physician or physical therapist before performing any of the exercises described on this website, particularly if you are pregnant, elderly or have any chronic or recurring muscle or joint pain.