As many of you know -- my sport is bowling. There are not many bowlers in the Kettlebell community. I have been bowling for about 10 years - while the sport can frustrate me, I can't imagine living w/o it. There are a number of accomplished powerlifters, martial artists, MMA fighters, first responders, military that are RKCs. There are some people that bowl, but not many bowlers.
Over the last three years, my average has been just below the Mendoza line (between 197-199). After two years of using kettlebells, my averages are are now 205 and 210, and lately I have even been blowing those numbers away.
I had a new record series last Wednesday: 237-266-248 -- 751 series (old record - 747). While records in "finesse" sport are not completely attributable to conditioning and training (and rely a lot on some luck), I will say that kettlebells have helped the following attributes of my bowling:
* Rooting -- In bowling, you need to be "solid at the line." In order to be solid, you need to be perfectly rooted on your "balance" side. If you are not balanced, you can't consistently deliver good shots with the same direction, speed, and rotation. With consistent releases, you cannot score consistently. Exercises used: Single leg deadlifts/rows. Most ballistics. Also, to improve foot proprioception, I have taken to bowling w/o socks or with thin socks.
==> My bowling teammate (who averages 220) said that I was "overpowering" a tough lane condition.
* Mobility -- I have had multiple shoulder separations/dislocations. My shoulders have been shot. Kettlebells have given me increased shoulder mobility. In looking at old and new video, my arm angle has increased from about 165 degrees to about 190 degrees. While that may not seem like a lot - strike ball speed has increased from about 15.25-15.5 MPH to 16.5 to 17.2 MPH. Since E(translation) = 1/2mv^2, this is huge energy increase. Exercises: RKC Armbar, Turkish Get Up (TGU), Snatches.
* Hand strength -- It is common knowledge that kettlebells work the grip (both finger and forearms) in a way that tradition weightlifting does not. In bowling, there is not only power that comes from speed, but power that comes from rotation. Stonger forearms let you cup the ball somewhat, giving you leverage to really rotate the ball. Stronger fingers let you really rev up the ball as well. Since E(rotation) = 1/2Iw^2, this added energy is huge in getting optimal pin carry. Exercises: Farmers walks, snatches, high pulls, towel swings.
* General Conditioning -- I will not go into this too much, since you don't need fantastic conditioning to be a bowler. I will say that professional bowlers in general are improving their conditioning and losing weight. Since bowling you are putting near maximal effort repeated over a number of games (typically 3 -9), I would migrate toward HIIT rather than LSD. Exercises: Top of the minutes ballistics, HoC cardio.
Even though kettlebells will help bowlers with their conditioning, you still need to bowl to get better at bowling. In my case:
* GPP: Kettlebells, powerlifting
* SPP: Bowling Practice
==> Also, I have been teaching a couple of beginners to bowl. Why I enjoy seeing them get better (one got his first 200 game), I feel that I learn more by teaching.
Some other kettlebells PR set recently (in the last month):
* 10:00 minute snatch test with the 32kg: 106 (I feel that I have 120 in me)
* 5:00 minute snatch test with the 24kg: 130, I never set the bell down during the five minutes. Set progression: 20/20, 15/15, 10/10, 10/10, 10/10. My friend (and boss) Jamie was doing the TSC and I did this to give Jamie a number to compete against and help determine his strategy. I have been doing a lot of work with hang/dead snatches with the 32kg, and I am convinced that this help me more than snatching the 24kg bell for 5 minutes with every workout.
* C&P: 40kg x 7 reps with left hand
* Snatch: 40kg x 4 reps, I did this surrepticiously after doing some work with high pulls.
I am looking to do some powerlifting (weight about 193, probably would compete at 181). I need to find a contest that will give me enough time to lose the weight (try to get to a "walking around" weight of 185) and enough time to work at improving squat depth.
Till next time.....