Lower back pain - why?

General discussion on Training. How to get better on your erg, how to use your erg to get better at another sport, or anything else about improving your abilities.
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Byron Drachman
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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by Byron Drachman » December 3rd, 2010, 2:21 pm

bobkwan2007 wrote:I'm intrigued by the idea of slides on the indoor rower, and if I had the space in my home I'd consider getting a pair, but why would they ease the stress on your back? Isn't the rowing motion exactly the same with or without the slides? Do they force you to use more leg and less upper body? I don't understand the physics behind that concept.
Here is an article I found by googling on dynamic vs static rowing ergometers:

http://www.rowingaustralia.com.au/docs/ ... c_ergo.pdf

My own experience is that when I lent my slides to a friend with back problems, it was then that I realized how much I liked the slides. My friend bought slides after using mine. My stroke doesn't look very different with or without slides. With the slides my body stays pretty much in one place and the erg moves back and forth. So I am moving less weight back and forth but I think there is more to it than that. Perhaps it is simply that the dynamic erg has you take a "softer" catch and finish and apply forces more evenly.

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chgoss
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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by chgoss » December 3rd, 2010, 3:17 pm

bobkwan2007 wrote:I'm intrigued by the idea of slides on the indoor rower, and if I had the space in my home I'd consider getting a pair, but why would they ease the stress on your back? Isn't the rowing motion exactly the same with or without the slides? Do they force you to use more leg and less upper body? I don't understand the physics behind that concept.
Consider going for the new dynamic erg instead of the slides. I tried it at the Head of the Charles and really liked it.
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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by bobkwan2007 » December 3rd, 2010, 3:44 pm

Thanks for the link, Byron. Unfortunately I couldn't get it.

I just checked the price of new slides from C2--$299+taxes, fees, S&H, etc. What's the price of a dynamic erg? $1300? It'd be nice, but not really feasible at the moment. Maybe slides sometime in the future.
41M, 5'9, 145lb; 2k 7:14.4

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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by luckylindy » December 3rd, 2010, 5:13 pm

chgoss wrote: Consider going for the new dynamic erg instead of the slides. I tried it at the Head of the Charles and really liked it.
I just spent close to $900 on a new Model D 6 weeks ago, so I'm not ready to buy a new rower quite yet :wink:

Plus, I would need to try one before buying it ... I imagine it will likely be a year or more before one makes its way to the South-Central PA area.
6'1" (185cm), 196 lbs (89kg)
LP: 1:18 100m: 17.3 500m: 1:29 1000m: 3:26 5k: 18:58 10k: 39:45

aharmer
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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by aharmer » December 3rd, 2010, 5:26 pm

Lindy, I think you can definitely get used to a lower DF if you give it a few days. I pull everything from 500m intervals to HM at 125. I don't know any elite ergers but have heard that some of the fastest in the world are at about 125.

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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by Cyclist2 » December 3rd, 2010, 5:52 pm

Regarding the slides, when I first got them I rowed 1000m, then took the erg off of them, rowed 1000 meters, then put it back on, etc. for a few times just to try to figure out the difference. The catch is definitely softer and from the finish into the recovery is easier too. You're not moving the 140+# of your body, but rather the 60# of the erg. The added freedom of motion just makes everything less "harsh". It also forces better form, especially toward the end of those long, dreary pieces to build base when your concentration lapses. These all contribute to less strain on the back, fewer blisters, etc. I use the same DF (around 125 like everyone suggests) with or without slides. My "default" stroke rate is about the same, too. In other words, the slides don't seem to change anything except the feel, and it is sure more enjoyable to get on it when I know I'll be more comfortable while I'm in pain :wink: The only thing I haven't quite gotten figured out on the slides is the start - those quick, powerful first 5-10 strokes. I bang into the ends if I don't deliberately compensate and that messes up the sequence. I'm working on that, though.
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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by luckylindy » December 3rd, 2010, 6:31 pm

Alright, I'll try lowering the DF to see what happens ... if no change, I'll have a great excuse to get slides :D
6'1" (185cm), 196 lbs (89kg)
LP: 1:18 100m: 17.3 500m: 1:29 1000m: 3:26 5k: 18:58 10k: 39:45

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Rockin Roland
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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by Rockin Roland » December 5th, 2010, 3:12 am

Cyclist2 wrote: The only thing I haven't quite gotten figured out on the slides is the start - those quick, powerful first 5-10 strokes. I bang into the ends if I don't deliberately compensate and that messes up the sequence. I'm working on that, though.
The start on slides is pretty much the same as doing a racing start in a boat on the water. Position yourself in the middle of the slides. Then start off by doing three quick and sharp half strokes then a couple of three quarter length strokes before getting your full length. By doing this I find that I don't loose any time during a 2K time trial. There is less than one second difference between my times on a grounded erg and an erg on slides.

As for anyone wondering why you experience back pain on a stationary erg. Your body has to constantly stop and start at the catch and finish of each stroke. Your brain is also continously mashed into the scull with each dramatic stop at both ends of the stroke. The kinetic energy has to dissipate somehow, usually through your lower back.

Rowing on a stationary erg maybe good for fitness but it comes at a cost of the constant wear and tear on your body. Anyone who is not using slides or erging on a dynamic erg is asking for trouble. I don't recommend using stationary ergs.
PBs: 2K 6:13.4, 5K 16:32, 6K 19:55, 10K 33:49, 30min 8849m, 60min 17,309m
Caution: Static C2 ergs can ruin your technique and timing for rowing in a boat.
The best thing I ever did to improve my rowing was to sell my C2 and get a Rowperfect.

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NavigationHazard
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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by NavigationHazard » December 5th, 2010, 8:38 am

You might want to read http://rowingmachine.healthandfitnessre ... namic.html *

Hooper explains the kinetics (the main problem for the lower back is the finish), and ends with a number of sensible recommendations for reducing the lower-back load during training on stationary ergs. Some of this involves reducing the effects of lower-back load outside of erg training, so that you're not bringing strain to the machine and then aggravating it.

The only thing I would add to his article is that some of the energy coming forward is also probably absorbed by the tissue structures of the ankles/lower calf. This plus the energy absorbed by the knee will contribute not only to greater compression on a stationary erg but to its corollary: greater energy stored in the tendons. Thus you'll probably tend to 'bounce' much more during the catch turnaround than you will on a dynamic erg or in a boat, and get back more of the energy used in coming into frontstops in the form of recoil.

* Edit: didn't notice that Byron already had found this at a different location. There's at least one other Hooper article out there on the subject. It's also occurred to me that C2 may have applied for one or more patents on the new dynamic erg and any such application(s) probably also addresses the force issue. If I get bored I'll see if I can dig it up.
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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by bobkwan2007 » December 5th, 2010, 9:06 am

Thanks for that link, NavHazard. Excellent article, though now I don't know if I should be more concerned about lumbar injury, because I've logged almost 2M m in the past eight months on my static C2, all my sessions are over 30 minutes, and I weight train.

BTW, Rowpecfect retails for £1770.
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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by luckylindy » December 5th, 2010, 11:15 am

NavHaz - that's pretty interesting. I never considered the impact of lifting and rowing in close proximity (which I do very often now).
6'1" (185cm), 196 lbs (89kg)
LP: 1:18 100m: 17.3 500m: 1:29 1000m: 3:26 5k: 18:58 10k: 39:45

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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by H2O » December 5th, 2010, 5:37 pm

Rowing strapless has helped me in this regard.
I took a liking to it and now row everything strapless except hard pieces.

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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by robertk » January 16th, 2011, 2:02 am

Something I just tried is illustrated here:

http://www.smugmug.com/gallery/4510586_ ... 7148_SkkLJ

It's a Model A rigged up to slide on wheels, bungee-corded at either end to prevent wandering. I tried a similar thing today with casters (rated to support 125 lb each, about $2.50) bought at Home Depot. I screwed these to 2x4's 18" long, U-bolted to the feet of my Model B. I used a board longer than the 8" length of the rear foot to help even things out. It works (tentatively) pretty well, I certainly stay put while the erg slides under me. It'll take some getting used to, but the whole investment is around $20.00 including a bungee cord for either end. It's an alternative to official slides. If I decide I hate it I'm not out too much. Having tried just a few minutes of rowing on this arrangement I certainly think it's kinder to the lower back.

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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by gadgetware » February 13th, 2011, 11:34 am

I would like some advice. I am new to rowing and bought my Model D about 3 weeks ago. I have been working up slowly and concentrating on my form, which I think is coming along. I have always had some minor back issues and was hoping that through rowing and other exercise I could get in shape and strengthen my back. I am now experiencing new pain in my left hip (backside). I do not experience any pain while rowing, in fact my back usually feels the best after my workout, but later in the day or at night my hip it will start to hurt. I'm trying to figure out if this is just because I am using new muscles, bad form, or if it's that the stationary erg is not going to be good for me. I've been doing the warm-up/stretching exercises recommended by comcept2 but maybe I need to find some difference exercises.

I have about a week to return the rower under the guarantee. I would rather not return it because so far I really enjoy it. I've also thought about returning it and ordering the new dynamic model. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by luckylindy » February 13th, 2011, 11:50 am

gadgetware - for what it's worth, my back issues have mostly subsided after a couple more months of training. When they were real bad I backed off the training a bit (rowing every other day instead of every day), and lowered the DF (damper setting) on the rower.
6'1" (185cm), 196 lbs (89kg)
LP: 1:18 100m: 17.3 500m: 1:29 1000m: 3:26 5k: 18:58 10k: 39:45

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