Ever wonder where you should put your feet on the rowing machine?
Or how about should you push through your heels, toes, etc?
This post takes care of those questions.
Gives the optimal positioning for where to push through your feet when rowing. Even gives some info if you walk duck footed and what you can do for that.
If you are more curious about how to setup the machine so your feet are in a good position, check out this video here.
Once you know the good setup position, watch this video below to know where to push through your legs and feet when rowing.
You're probably still reading this because you think I am crazy. Either that or you think I am brave and you're curious to learn more about why I would want to do this.
Well, you came to the right place. Even I think I am crazy. I call this my absurd dream. The funny thing is, I haven't signed up for the race I want to participate in. I don't have any money. I don't have a boat. I just have a dream...an absurd dream. It's big, it's daring, it's crazy, but...it's MY crazy dream.
You might be wondering what got me into this...well, here you go.
In December 2017, I randomly heard about this challenge, with people crossing the Atlantic Ocean. I was obsessed with following their boat trackers across the ocean for a couple weeks. I went to my husband and told him I wanted to row across an ocean. He said, "how serious are you?"
I said, "75%". He said, "okay".
I forgot about it two weeks later.
Fast forward to December 2018 and the same thing happened. I saw the race, watched the dots, and this time I didn't say anything until about three weeks later.
I went to my husband and said, "I want to row across an ocean".
He said, "How serious are you this time?"
I responded, "95%".
He said, "oh, you're serious".
Ever since, I couldn't get it out of my head, I read three books in a month, and usually, I read two books a year. I researched and read everything I could. I watched movies about it. I looked at how to find a boat. Everything I could learn, I tried to learn. So clearly, I was into it.
Needless to say, at the time of writing this, it's been a few months, I still haven't signed up, and who knows if I will. But, I am researching, I am learning as much as I can, I am talking to other ocean rowers, and I still have my absurd dream.
Along the way, I decided I wanted to help people find their love of rowing. Regardless of their reason, we all find our way into new adventures and dreams. Mine was a rollercoaster of hating rowing, loving it, hating it, and loving it again. I am sure after being stuck on an ocean rowing boat for 3+ months I will fall back into the hate category, but I also believe I will find my way back to the love part. Either way, my mission in life is four-fold.
1. Help people learn to row and row without aches and pains so they can enjoy it just like I do.
2. Love what I do and put my love of physical therapy and rowing together.
3. Follow-through on my dreams, which currently, is to row across the Atlantic Ocean.
4. Share my story and make it easy for other people to row across an ocean if that is what their heart desires.
So, follow along on my podcast if you want to learn more about where I am in my Ocean Rowing adventure and to hear from other ocean rowers. There's only an episode twice a month right now, but it'll pick up as I get closer to my dream date.
Please reach out to me and tell me your story, your love/hate relationship with rowing, ask questions, or even just to say you think I am nuts. I will respond even if you think I'm crazy.
Thanks for following along and learning my WHY.
So yesterday I told you a little bit about how I started rowing and what I loved about it. I also mentioned that I went to college in the hopes of rowing for the next four years at a D1 university. Well, when I went to those practices and only heard people complaining about being there...it got me thinking....
Do I really want to wake up early and spend my time with people who don't want to be here?
No...I don't. First off, I am not a morning person. 5 AM is like the worst time for me to have to tolerate people complaining. Second, this is a team sport and if my teammates hate it...why am I here?
Well...I lasted one year...and then...
I QUIT! I felt like I didn’t belong and like I was a failure.
The thing is…I’m not a quitter, so this was a big deal for me. I had to weigh my options. I had a group of people that didn't like rowing, but suffered through it anyways. I had to wake up at absurd hours and go to class soaking wet because I couldn't get later classes...but I could deal with that. However, I did find another group of people that loved what they were doing....
My freshman year of college there was an EMT that lived across the hall from me. From the moment I saw him in his uniform, I thought, "I want to be him". So while I was still rowing, I worked my booty off to get into the schools EMT program...and I got it!
So I replaced my love of rowing with people who had a common goal, wanted to do something, and loved it. I found my group of people in the volunteer EMT program. I think what I was missing in rowing were people who enjoyed what they were doing. I wanted to be around people who pushed themselves to be better and found the good in themselves and others, not people who just complained all day. So...I was an EMT for the next three years in college and continued after school.
I ended up having a third ankle surgery while I was in school and that is when I had to go to physical therapy and ended up deciding that it is what I wanted to do.
Since my ankle wasn't great with running, and my booty wasn't a fan of biking, I actually found myself on the indoor rowing machine a lot and even though this device was the devil for people who row on the water, I found it kind of peaceful.
So...I eventually got into Physical Therapy school, learned a whole lot about how the body moves, and found a new love of rowing alone on the rowing machine.
Well, there is a lot more to that story and how I want to make it my mission to take my rekindled love of rowing and my desire to help people do what they love, and help rowers row without aches and pains, but...
I think the more interesting story that really plays into how much I love rowing and is my four year dream is...
In 2022 I want to row SOLO across the ATLANTIC OCEAN. You read that right. I want to row all alone, on a boat, 3000+ miles across the Atlantic Ocean in a 21-ish foot boat with sharks, dolphins, storms, 21+ foot waves, etc….and guess what…
I hate the ocean…It’s big. It’s scary. I could die…
I'll tell you all about it tomorrow.
I want to let you in on a little bit of my story...because my story is what makes me who I am today. And honestly, if you're going to be learning or chatting with someone, it's always nice to know a little about them and why they want to help in the first place. It's one of the reason's that I love being a Physical Therapist, because I get to work with my clients, one-on-one, multiple times a week and we really get to know each other. There are a few people out there helping rowers, and I want you to make sure you follow people you relate to and who are truly able to help you. So here is a little bit about me and why I love rowing.
I got started with rowing when I was at boarding school in 2001. I actually hated rowing my first season, as all I cared about was the upcoming basketball season and rowing was a means to an end. At the beginning of the basketball season, I broke my ankle, for the second time, and I was benched for the rest of the year as I had surgeries and recoveries. However, even though my ankle was fixed, I was never really as quick on my feet as I used to be in basketball. Sophomore and junior year, I did rowing in the spring and the fall, and I was glad I did as rowing is where I found the ability to be good at something again. I got into the Varsity boat and loved every second of it.
There is something about being in a boat with four other people, with only one of them allowed to talk, and just rowing together in silence, that is quite amazing. The fact that it was a team sport that required no talking, and precision to make a boat go faster was amazing to me. I continued to row every season I could throughout the rest of high school because I enjoyed it, and not because I had to, like I did when I started.
Once I got into college, I was put into a boat with all newbies and once again, I was miserable. I was with eight other people who all talked over each other and complained about being awake at 5 AM to row. I had specifically chosen a school with a rowing team, and I was already questioning my love for rowing and my desire to continue rowing.
Tomorrow, I'll fill you in on how my rowing career took a turn for the worst but I found something else to get me to where I am today.
See ya tomorrow.
This is a great question that I got the other day. I actually went looking to see if anyone else was addressing this issue, and only found one post on it. So...I decided I would make a video with the pros and cons of some typical shoe types I see people rowing in.
I made this video, and within hours, had someone post a picture of their bloody scraped up heel/ankle from rowing in hiking boots. It's funny, because I didn't even think to mention hiking boots in my video, so I will address that here....not a great idea.
Hiking boots don't allow for a lot of movement, they are designed to keep your foot and ankle stiff so when you are walking on uneven surfaces, you can last longer. However, on a rowing machine, you want to have motion. So your heel will be trying to create motion at the foot and ankle, and the hiking boot will try and limit it, hence unhappy feet at the end of it.
Check out the video for other shoe tips and what is ideal to wear on the rowing machine and why.
Getting hip pain when you are in the catch position (all the way in the front)?
There are a few reasons that this could be happening. It could be because of tightness in the front hip flexors. It could be weakness in gluts or hip flexors. It could also be referred pain from you back. It could also be a combination of some or all of these things. The human body is so annoyingly complex, but no worries.
This video shows you some things to try, and see if it helps. If it does, awesome. If it doesn't fix it all the way, but does some, feel free to reach out to me. I gave generic info that will help most people, but some people need some more specific advise, because we are ALL DIFFERENT. YAY!
Give these exercises a try. Stuff I reference is below, but most gyms have this equipment.
Here is the equipment I reference:
Some lacrosse like balls
There are some common injuries that I see a lot with rowers.
Usually people think ribs, or shoulders, or knees...but honestly that is more common with people that row in a boat. Now with so many people having access to a rowing machine and using it at gyms and in their home-gyms, the number one injury I have been seeing is....
I find this interesting, because it's way more prevalent in people rowing on the machines than it is with people who row on the water.
I have been pondering why this is the case and polling hundreds of my clients/patients. What I have realized is that it really all comes down to form...
I had over 50 people bring in videos of them rowing. This allows me to see what they are doing and help figure out if the problem is coming from being on the machine or maybe from things they are doing in their everyday life.
What I found is that there are some common things that people do on the rowing machine when they haven't been taught great form. So I am going to share those things with you. Today I will write it out, I will post a video with some demos later this week.
1. Pushing your buttocks back. This is the most common one I have seen. People tend to straighten their knees and push their buttocks back, which increases their hinge at their hips and usually ends up aggravating the nerves in the back and legs.
2. Not hip hinging. What this means is that people tend to keep their back/hips in one position. At the beginning of the stroke you should be slightly hinged forward at the hip, and at the end of the stroke (the finish) you should be slightly hinged backwards at the hip. Some people keep this upright position the entire time and others tend to keep the hinged backwards position the whole time. This puts extra stress on the back because the back is trying to help in the stroke more than it needs to.
3. Slouching or being too upright. Remember when you were little and a grandparent or parent said, sit up straight? Well, when someone told me to do this, I would shoot straight upward and overextend my low back. There is a balance between being super upright and slouched, and that is usually the good "posture" position. This is the position you want when you row. It should be comfortable and not overly pushed to be upright when you row, but at the same time don't slouch excessively. Life is about balance...so is rowing.
Those are the three big things I see. Of course there are more, and everyone is different, but I will show you a video example of these things later this week. If you aren't sure or have questions about what might be happening, feel free to send me an email with or without a video of you rowing and let's get you going without BACK pain!
Do you get leg numbness or tingling when you row for 10 minutes? You aren't alone and there is likely a reason!
There are a few reasons that this could be happening and there are some things you can do on and off the water or rowing machine to try and help. One of the main reasons this is likely happening is from nerve irritation. It's not a big deal, but the more you make the nerve mad, the worse it will get. Nerves are finicky, so you want to stop numbness and tingling as soon as you feel it, if you can. This video shows some things you can do to try and help with some of the symptoms you might be getting.
1. Check your form
2. Hamstring Stretch
3. Piriformis Stretch (two different ways to do it)
4. Knee to Chest Stretch
5. Knee straighten/bend with rowing
There is another video I made that shows more things you can do on the rowing machine and some form things to pay attention to if you are having this type of pain with rowing. Here it is.
Feel free to comment if you have questions. This is not medical advice, but just general tips. Please follow up with a healthcare professional or feel free to reach out to me for specific questions.
Are you using the rowing machine as a form of cardio for weight-loss? Or maybe you are just out of shape, like me, and have a bit of belly or thicker thighs. I do. I am a size 16 pants. I can't even get that size in a normal store...which is another ridiculous story, but still. I am by no means a stick figure or a model. I can't get into that amazing "perfect" position for rowing for a few reasons. One, I have a belly and thighs. Two, I have had three ankle surgeries. But...I still rowed in college at a D1 school, even after three surgeries. I row now! I don't let it stop me. However, there are some things we can do on the machine to help us out.
Check out the video to see what I mean.
Amanda Painter is the Rowing Doc. She is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and is here to help people stay active and rowing without aches and pains so they can keep doing what they love!