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!
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!