As bowlers, we’re always looking for a way to up our game and improve our scores.
It’s not for all of us, but some people need some extra wrist support to step their game up to the next level.
Some people find that once they put on a wrist guard or wrist support their score skyrockets! It can stabilize your wrist in a way that helps you get more revs, be more accurate, and be more consistent.
Some people have wrist pain caused by bowling and just need a way to support their wrist so they can continue to bowl pain-free.
This article will be broken into two main sections: The first section will go through the best bowling wrist guards currently on the market and break down the pros/cons of each.
Second, we will get into all the nitty-gritty details about wrist guards. The reasons you should/should not use one, what to look out for, and anything else you need to know before deciding which wrist guard or wrist support to purchase.
If you just want to buy a wrist guard and see if it works for you, read through the product breakdowns and choose the one you like the most.
But if you want to make a highly educated purchase, read until the end of the article before deciding which one to get.
First, let’s breakdown what we have found to be the absolute best bowling wrist supports currently on the market.
Best Wrist Guards for Bowling
1. Brunswick Bionic
The Brunswick Bionic is my personal favorite wrist guard to ever hit the market, so I decided to feature it first. If you simply want to get a wrist guard and not worry about the nitty gritty pros/cons of the others on the market, look no further. You won’t go wrong with this one.
This is definitely one of the more heavy duty, robust wrist guards on our list. It’s made of lightweight aluminum. This one is highly adjustable. You can control the amount of bend in your wrist it allows, and you can also control the lateral angle at which the wrist guard holds your wrist.
If your main goal in purchasing a wrist guard is pain relief, there’s a very good chance that this wrist guard will accomplish that goal. With the amount of customization this guard allows, you can almost assuredly find a combination of angles that relieve all the pain from your throw.
The Bionic will also definitely give you some advantages when it comes to performance. Being able to choose exactly how “cupped” your wrist is will give you the ability to fine-tune your rev-rate to match your throw, the lanes, the oil, etc. Adjusting the lateral angle of your wrist will change the axis tilt and give you even further control over your bowling ball’s motion. In the video below, Liz Kuhlkin shows how to put on and adjust the wrist guard.
Side Note: Brunswick Bionic XF
Brunswick also has a very similar wrist guard called the Bionic XF as pictured here:
This wrist guard is essentially the same exact thing as the blue, original Bionic, but it has an extended index finger support. This extra support has the possibility of giving you more revs by increasing the amount of support your index finger has.
Having tried both of these wrist guards, I much prefer the original, blue Bionic over the XF. The XF was just slightly uncomfortable on the index finger, and personally, I saw no direct benefit from the extra support.
However, some people greatly prefer the red XF and see a benefit from using it compared to the blue Bionic.
My recommendation would be to stick with the blue one, but if you are interested in learning more about the XF you can click here.
2. Robby’s Cool Max Plus
This wrist support device is in some ways on the other end of the spectrum compared to the aforementioned Brunswick Bionic. This wrist guard is much smaller, simpler, and less robust.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean this wrist guard is better or worse, it’s just different.
This is my favorite “simple” wrist support on the market. Personally, I started using this wrist guard before I tried either of the Brunswick devices mentioned before.
I was starting to get some wrist pain, which prompted me to look into getting a wrist guard. I tried out a few of the different “simple” wrist supports on the market. I tried out the Brunswick Shot Repeater X, the Mongoose Lifter, and the Storm Xtra-Hook in addition to the Cool Max Plus. When it came to comfort, support, and pain relief, Robby’s wrist guard was by far my favorite.
It allows a bit of movement in all directions but still doesn’t allow your wrist to bend too much in any direction. At the time, I did notice some benefits in regards to my scores, but it wasn’t anything drastic.
The interesting thing is that using the wrist guard taught me a lot about where my wrist actually was compared to where I felt it was. This was a learning experience that actually ended up completely relieving my wrist pain and allowed me to discontinue using wrist supports at all.
3. Brunswick Pro
I have to be honest in saying that I’ve never personally tried a wrist support device in this style. This support wraps around your wrist and gives some support, but also allows a lot of freedom of motion.
If you have significant pain or need a significant amount of support, this style is probably not for you. I rarely see these types of wrist supports used in public, but I felt I would be doing my readers a disservice if I neglected to mention them.
If you watch some PBA or other pro-level bowling, you will often see bowlers using tape to accomplish a similar type of support that a device like this would give you. This is probably due to the fact that the modern pro-level, high-rev, high-power bowling release requires a ton of wrist action on release. This can be very hard on your wrist and cause pain and/or injury. Using a device like this adds a bit of support at the most extreme wrist angles without restricting your wrist.
If you have a very dynamic release or only a very small amount of pain in specific circumstances, this may be a style of wrist support worth looking into.
As I said, I’ve never tried out any sort of wrist support in this style, but after doing a quick look around the web, it seems that the Brunswick Pro is a very popular, high-quality piece of equipment.
Sometimes, people with especially sensitive, irritable skin may find a lot of discomfort using wrist guards/supports. If this is the case for you, you may want to look into purchasing a wrist liner along with your support device. Most if not all wrist liners on the market do exactly the same thing, however, everyone has their own opinion about which ones are the most comfortable.
Oftentimes, your wrist guard will cause you to sweat a bit which can lead to your wrist guard having a bit of a foul odor. One of the benefits of wrist liners is that they act as a physical barrier between your sweaty hand/arm and the wrist guard. Whether or not you have sensitive skin, if you are someone who sweats a lot, it is probably a good idea to look into wrist liners.
There are a whole bunch of wrist liners on the market, all made of different materials, lengths, sizes, etc. At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference and which wrist support/wrist guard you use, so I won’t try to recommend any specific liners.
I do urge you to do some of your own research into which one may be the best for you, which you can do by clicking here.
Best Bowling Wrist Guard Round-up
No matter your specific need for bowling with wrist support, we have covered the absolute best products in three different styles.
1. Brunswick Bionic (The best wrist support currently on the market)
The Brunswick Bionic is the best wrist support/wrist guard I have used/seen on the market. Although it may look a bit crazy, it has the best overall performance. The fact that it is adjustable along two different axes gives you much more freedom to use the device in a way that will suit your own personal game.
2. Robby’s Cool Max Plus
If you happen to be looking for a less intimidating, simplistic wrist guard, Robby’s Cool Max Plus is a fantastic option. It definitely supports your wrist, but it also allows a certain degree of freedom that the Bionic doesn’t offer. It is super easy to put on, and in most cases, will alleviate any pain you may get from bowling.
3. Brunswick Pro
The super simple wrist supports that only wrap around the wrist, such as the aforementioned Brunswick Pro are best utilized as injury prevention rather than injury relief. Given that the modern, advanced, high-rev release puts a lot of strain on the wrist means that there is a relatively high likelihood of injury. Whether or not you already have symptoms, if you use this bowling/release style, it may be a good idea to pick up a wrist support like this to proactively avoid injury.
Why do people use wrist guards, anyway?
There are many reasons that bowlers wear wrist guards. But in general, there are two main reasons: people have wrist pain, or people want to improve their game.
Wrist guards reduce wrist-pain caused by bowling
Bowling isn’t the most physical sport on earth, but it can still be pretty hard on tendons, muscles, and joints. Wrist pain can often be reduced or disappear entirely when a proper wrist guard or wrist support is used.
At the end of the day, we all love bowling, and anything that can keep you from having pain while on the lanes is something worth considering.
Your pain could be caused by arthritis, a childhood injury, or anything in between, but a good wrist guard can usually relieve the pain while bowling.
However, sometimes your pain is something that can’t be solved as simply as just wearing a wrist guard. If you have tried different wrist supports/wrist guards, and nothing seems to help reduce your pain, definitely go to a doctor/specialist and see if there is any way they can help you out.
Wearing a wrist guard can actually improve your game!
Bowling requires a lot of moving parts all working together to get your ball down the lane in order to get that strike. The release is a particularly complex motion that also has a lot of moving parts. Wrist position is particularly important for consistency, accuracy, revs, power, etc. At the end of the day, having proper wrist position at release is essential to delivering an accurate, consistent ball.
Some people find that without a wrist guard, things just feel too loose and inconsistent and their wrist is in a slightly different position each and every throw. Having a wrist guard takes the whole concept of wrist position out of the equation, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your game.
From what I’ve seen in person, read online, and heard from other people, it definitely seems that most people see an improvement in their average after utilizing a wrist guard.
However, at the high-end, professional level of bowling, things seem to be a tad bit different. The modern, professional style release seems to have a lot more wrist action in an attempt to get more revolutions and power on the ball. People who have a high-rev, dynamic-wrist release tend to steer away from wrist guards because they can actually decrease revs and power.
Wrist guards tend to make the average person bowl better, but anyone who is truly in the highly-advanced/pro level of bowling may actually see a decrease in performance.