Lower back pain - why?

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luckylindy
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Lower back pain - why?

Post by luckylindy » December 3rd, 2010, 1:31 am

I was wondering if anyone has any tips on helping with lower back issues. Are there common form mistakes that cause them? My lower back has been pretty sore lately, to the point of needing to cut some rows short. I've been trying to stay upright and keep my back straight, but so far it's not getting much better (been bugging me for ~2 weeks).

I've also dropped my 'easy pace' from ~2:08/500 to ~1:57 since I started 5-6 weeks ago, so not sure if I just need to give my back time to catch up.

Thanks!
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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Citroen
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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by Citroen » December 3rd, 2010, 2:36 am

1. drop the drag
2. get slides or a new C2 dynamic ergo
3. do more core strength exercises
4. Read some of the comments that Rocking Roland has written about grounded static ergos.

luckylindy
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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by luckylindy » December 3rd, 2010, 3:26 am

Citroen wrote:1. drop the drag
2. get slides or a new C2 dynamic ergo
3. do more core strength exercises
4. Read some of the comments that Rocking Roland has written about grounded static ergos.
Been doing #3 more, but I might need to try #1. I'm not sure why, but I can never go very fast with the drag below ~5 ... I always feel like I'm out of control or pulling on nothing. I currently keep it between 5 and 6 (135-140DF), although i've upped it to 9-10 for 500 trials. My LP with it on 5 is ~1:40, while on 10 it's ~1:18 or so ... not sure why, maybe I'm just really slow with enough power to overcome the slowness on high drag?

Would love to try slides, but need to wait a little before investing more in this outlet.
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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Citroen
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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by Citroen » December 3rd, 2010, 4:25 am

luckylindy wrote: I'm not sure why, but I can never go very fast with the drag below ~5
That's a meaningless statement, telling us you've got the damper lever on 5 tells us nothing. You need to get the monitor to show DRAG FACTOR as it can differ on every machine and can differ depending on your altitude.

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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by PaulH » December 3rd, 2010, 8:33 am

Citroen wrote:
luckylindy wrote: I'm not sure why, but I can never go very fast with the drag below ~5
That's a meaningless statement, telling us you've got the damper lever on 5 tells us nothing. You need to get the monitor to show DRAG FACTOR as it can differ on every machine and can differ depending on your altitude.
I'm going to guess that 5 is around 135DF for lucklindy. Don't know why I think that, just call it a hunch ;)

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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by Citroen » December 3rd, 2010, 8:37 am

PaulH wrote:I'm going to guess that 5 is around 135DF for lucklindy. Don't know why I think that, just call it a hunch ;)
Your hunch is predicated on Lindy being at (or near) sea level.

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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by slwiser » December 3rd, 2010, 8:58 am

Slides has been a real favor for my lower back now for about three weeks...but you have to know that it changes the way you row if you did not train as a rower and have proper technique to begin with.

For myself, I had ingrained something like "hauling anchor" on the static C2 but when I got my slides this disappeared along with it about 15-20% of the power that my lower back appears had been supplying. I am now learning to use a better technique with the slides and my rowing muscles are feeling the increased load while my back is feeling much better.

Another artifact that came with the slides is an tendency to increase the Stroke Rate. My aerobic capacity (hard comfortable breathing) was built around a normal rate of 25-26 spm and now when attempting a comfortable row on slides this is about 32 spm which requires me to build my aerobic capacity. I am getting more and more comfortable on the slides and just a couple of days ago did my first long row at a SR of 22 for almost an hour on the slides; this hurt and is still hurting but not my lower back. I have also lowered my DF while using my slides from ~125 to ~100.

I think your comment about "pulling on nothing" may be a symptom of "hauling anchor" technique.

I am a weak rower but am getting a real good cardio exercise with the indoor rower on slides without the concerns that I did have with my lower back.
Last edited by slwiser on December 3rd, 2010, 9:42 am, edited 2 times in total.
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mikvan52
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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by mikvan52 » December 3rd, 2010, 9:17 am

luckylindy wrote: I've been trying to stay upright and keep my back straight
This may be the cause and not the cure.

Go to 3:13 into this technique video for reference.

http://www.concept2.com/us/training/tec ... asp#errors

(if you get a blank screen: click on the "common errors" photo to get the video to play properly

specifically: " Do not lift with the shoulders and the back"... Doing so would cause lower back problem in the long run.
When some people say "I keep a straight back", this means they are lifting. The spine needs to articulate or uncoil to some extent.
Last edited by mikvan52 on December 3rd, 2010, 9:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by mikvan52 » December 3rd, 2010, 9:30 am

slwiser wrote:Slides has been a real favor for my lower back ....


... but when I got my slides about 15-20% of the power (disappeared) (initially).
I noticed something similar years ago...
I now erg at the same paces and rates both with slides and w/o slides... The major benefit is that regardless of which set-up I now use (with or w/o) I feel biomechanically sound. B)
IOW: The long term rewards for using slides are great. (I've been erging a good bit since the later 1990's)
If you don't already own an erg + slides you might want to consider purchasing the new "Dynamic" erg... It incorporates everything into one machine that takes up the least space...
I would if my household did not already have slides + erg.
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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by PaulH » December 3rd, 2010, 9:42 am

Citroen wrote:
PaulH wrote:I'm going to guess that 5 is around 135DF for lucklindy. Don't know why I think that, just call it a hunch ;)
Your hunch is predicated on Lindy being at (or near) sea level.
Actually it's predicated on the bit where Lindy said "I currently keep it between 5 and 6 (135-140DF)"

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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by PaulG » December 3rd, 2010, 9:55 am

I am experiencing back pain and am presently in physical therapy for tight hip flexors and psoas muscle. This was recently aggravated by a change in training when I went to more intense program with shorter intervals at higher pace and lower rate than I was accustomed. As a result my force curves were very much front loaded potentially causing excess strain on my back. When I really get going my erg would creep forward underneath me. Your recent drop in pace might have caused something similar. What does your force curve look like?

All I can say is take it slow be be sure you are recovered before you start again. Doing the same thing will only make your back worse. I'm almost willing to blow off this competitive season to rebuild my core muscles and stroke so I can come back stronger next year (as a youngster in a new ager group!)

Paul

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Byron Drachman
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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by Byron Drachman » December 3rd, 2010, 12:04 pm

Here is one simple thing to try. It might help and on the other hand it might not. Pretend a coach has made a fist and is pushing against the small of your back in order to get a more forward tilt of the lower back. In other words, it might help you to do the body swing from the hips rather than doing some of it at the waist. I had severe lower back pains and I got cured by doing flexibility exercises along with more core work. I agree with all those who say slides are easier on the back. I hope you find something that works for you.

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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by Cyclist2 » December 3rd, 2010, 12:56 pm

I don't have much more to add to this discussion except that I, too, have "garden variety" back pain. Nothing seriously wrong, just hurts every now and then. I slipped on some wet decks three days ago; didn't go down but tweaked my back and I was getting sharp spasms. Got on my erg (on slides) yesterday - the Holiday Challenge is underway, after all - and when I finished, the spasms were gone and the dull pain is subsiding quickly! Christmas came early! Ditto to Byron's post, hope you find something that works.
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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by bobkwan2007 » December 3rd, 2010, 1:34 pm

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.
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Re: Lower back pain - why?

Post by slwiser » December 3rd, 2010, 2:11 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.
My opinion/experience; the foot slider seems to slide out from under me using the slides compared with the static erg. The motion is faster so my legs get away faster compared with the static erg. On the static erg my back gets engaged earlier in the stroke while my legs get the flywheel spinning up which places more load for the back. What this means is that I am able to pull with my back more on the static placing higher loads on the back. The back comes into play later on the slides when the flywheel is more accelerated. The back and arms come into the stroke later now on the slides at a faster pace and the last amount of flywheel acceleration takes less load. I am slowly learning how to get the legs to do a larger share of the work.
215 lbs & 5'-9.5".61YO. 8.0MM+ and counting, Dynamic C2
Free Spirits Internet Rowing Team, http://www.freespiritsrowing.com/
Exercise Journal:http://www.cardiacathletes.org.uk/forums/showthread.php?1213-Steve-s-Exercise-Blog

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