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.
Sciatica is super common, and even common in rowers. The rowing position requires our body to be active for a longer period of consistent repetitive movements that require our entire body to work. Additionally, the movement can put a lot of strain on our nervous system.
Check out the video to see some tips and tricks you can try to help with your symptoms and rowing.
While form is super important, it's almost important to know how to adapt the machine to work for you!
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!