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Bowling News USA - August 6, 2014 Does Fear of Injury Keep You From the Gym?

by Heather D’Errico, CPT, CSCS • Fitness for Bowling Blog 












(Tiger Woods withdrew from the 111th US Open Championship in 2001 due to knee pain)
Photo Credit |

While visiting with my mom this weekend we struck a conversation that I thought would make an interesting topic for a blog.  She has always been a huge Tiger Woods fan and loves watching golf.  If you also enjoy golf you may have seen over the weekend that Tiger pulled himself out of the Bridgestone Invitational due to an ongoing back issue.  The ESPN news crew began discussing the issue and pointed out that Tiger has been all about getting in the gym and doing some hardcore training for golf to be in the best shape possible, so shouldn’t that keep him from being injured?

I think this is where a lot of people become afraid to start hitting the gym, there is this fear that it won’t help your performance but may actually hurt it.  With bowling, there is a theory out there that having too much muscle mass would hinder performance because it is more difficult to have a loose arm swing.  Then we see some individuals who take to training but end up with a back, knee, hip, or shoulder injury and we wonder if it is really worth it.

My opinion is this:  there are many different ways to train depending on your goals; training for a sport as an athlete is far different than someone training for physique or to “tone up”.  The goals of an athlete are to increase performance, and decrease the risk to become injured.  I think where bowlers often get mixed up in this is that they don’t know where to start or what to do to help their game when they hit the gym.  Many times people come to me with the goal of weight loss so they start with some form of lifting and cardio.  This is all gravy and doing something is always better than nothing. 

However, the most important component for an athlete of any sport should be mobility.  Athletes should be spending 15-20 minutes of every workout on mobility movements and neuromuscular activation.  I would say a majority of the people at the gym do a 5-10 minute warm up and some stretches before working out, but that is not enough.  Think of mobility exercises as something like yoga, activating and relaxing certain body parts around their joints to achieve full range of motion.  It’s like the tin man in the Wizard of Oz using the oiling can to get the kinks out and move smoother; that is what mobility exercises do for us.

Now, I am sure that Tiger Woods has enough money to pay for one of the best trainers around so I can’t say that his training program isn’t top notch.  However, golf is a lot like bowling in that having the most muscle mass or brute strength isn’t necessarily going to make you any better, there are many muscular imbalances and movement deficiencies created requiring a functional strength program that has a focus on that mobility component and trunk stability.  IF for some reason he were doing too much strength training, especially with movements that isolate muscle groups, without a focus on mobility he could very well be doing more harm than good. 

So what I want to throw out there for anyone that is hesitant to maybe get into better shape with that anxiety that they will end up doing more harm than good. I say this: consider the goals of your fitness and keep your modalities of training in that realm.  Try not to let physique be the main focus as it should be about moving better and more efficiently to prevent injury and have better health. 

Hit the gym but for the right reasons, body composition is a small fraction of actually being healthy and fit and it will inevitably improve with consistency and nutrition over time.  Know that sometimes in sports or everyday life injuries can happen by just moving the wrong way and tweaking something, but overall you are reducing the risk of injury greatly if you take care of your body with QUALITY training.  If you are a novice to exercise and do not know what to do, find someone who can help teach you proper exercise techniques and keep the guessing out of it.  I think you will find that fear will diminish and that extra effort is worth it in the long run.


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August, 2014