Fitness Tests for Bowling

Introduction

Tenpin bowling is a popular sport in many countries, for example in Australia, the USA and many Asian countries. In 1998, Tenpin became a Commonwealth Games sport. Despite its popularity and successes, the application of Exercise Physiology to Tenpin Bowling is relatively new, and therefore standardized testing protocols have not been developed.

While the physical demands of tenpin bowling is not as great as some other sports, it does require some unique abilities and a certain degree of competence in many aspects of fitness. The following factors are suggested as important physiological and physical attributes of a successful bowler: exceptional hand/eye coordination and balance, good flexibility (upper and lower body), good strength (upper and lower body), good aerobic fitness and low body fat.

bowling ballFitness Tests for Bowling

Fitness only plays a small but important part in the success of a bowler. There are several components of fitness that are important for success. Flexibility and power are important, though a good level of health as indicated by adequate aerobic fitness levels would also be advantageous. Further information and discussions on the components of fitness for bowling can be found here.

Below are listed fitness components that are relevant for bowling, and some example tests that can be completed to measure these components. For a discussion of how to design, conduct and interpret fitness tests, go to the fitness testing guide.

Fitness Component example tests comments
Aerobic Fitness Due to the starting fitness level of most bowlers, a submaximal test of aerobic fitness would be suitable, such as a cycle test (Astrand test, Trilevel, PWC170), or the Cooper 12 minute run. You can find information on many aerobic tests from here.

This is an important component of fitness for bowling, so that players can reduce the effect of fatigue during tournament play. 

Flexibility The sit and reach test can be done for lower back and hamstring flexibility. Other flexibility tests should also be developed.

The flexibility tests should be specific to the actions of bowling.

Strength and Power

Maximal strength tests for specific exercises should be conducted.

A handgrip strength testis also suitable.

Strength (and power tests) should also be done to determine strength levels and to monitor strength changes in conjunction with training programs.

Strength Endurance Abdominal or Core body strength can be measured using Sit Up tests. tests of strength endurance are used to measure the ability to perform strength movements repeatedly.
Body Fat Skinfold measures should be performed to determine body fat levels.
Balance and Coordination There are many general tests of balance Balance and coordination are important for controlled movements in tenpin.

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