Five Tips for Bowling With a Bad Back
1.) Stretch the Back Through an Appropriate Warm-up
In order to loosen the back muscles so they don’t lock-up during bowling producing not only pain but potential injury, I normally do 10 to 20 minutes of warm-up exercise. For me, this is usually accomplished as part of my yoga routine but just stretching in a standing or sitting position will also accomplish this goal.
2.) Wear Comfortable, Loose Fitting Clothing
I live in Malaysia and a baggy pair of shorts are considered appropriate bowling wear but even if you can’t wear shorts when bowling where you live a pair of pants that is not too tight and a loose untucked shirt can minimize back troubles by giving less resistance when you bend over or turn to one side and making moving around easier in general.
3.) Use a Ball One or Two Pounds Lighter Than You Normally Bowl With
If you are not using your own custom made ball, pick a ball one or two sizes lighter than you normally use. When I was younger and my back hurt less, I used a 12 pound ball. I now find that though I still have the arm strength to bowl with this weight of ball, it is easier on my back to use an 11 pound ball or even a 10 pound ball if there is a flare-up. Again, this is for lessening wear and tear on your back.
4.) When Releasing the Bowling Ball, Minimize Jerky, Sudden Movements
When bending to release the bowing ball, use a measured, gradual style rather than moving forward quickly then suddenly stooping down. The same once you have released the ball, come up slowly rather than suddenly jerking up straight. This will preserve your back. I find trying to use methods of release that emphasize more spin or a higher backswing such as the Cranker or Tweener styles irritate my back quicker.
5.) Know When to Stop Bowling
These days, three games consisting of ten frames each is about all I can handle before the pain appears. I could probably bowl a few more additional games before the pain gets excruciating enough to stop it completely but why risk further injury? When the pain comes and stays, not a brief twinge but a steady ache, it is time to stop at least temporarily. Listen to what your body says, feel what your body is trying to tell you.