Low back pain and concept2 rower (SkiErg better?)

General discussions about getting and staying fit that don't relate directly to your indoor rower
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hjs
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Re: Low back pain and concept2 rower (SkiErg better?)

Post by hjs » January 30th, 2015, 5:19 am

T_B wrote:Sorry for the bad quality, hopefully still good enough to see my technique.
http://vimeo.com/118170394
Hope it is a bit better than the last video. It was indeed more of an exercise this time.

It feels like I am really pivoting forward during the recovery but in the video it seems like my body is still too straight. I am not very flexible so that doesn't help either. Will try to push my body even further forward next time, but that might feel like squeezing and I am not sure if that will put a strain on my back.
Next training is Sunday so will try again then.
Looks indeed better, but look at the point you start the drive, between your torso and legs is a big gap, you are not bending forward but sitting straight up. At the backstop you do leanback, so that is what you feel in pivoting.
Stretching the hamstrings and lower back a lot is proberly needed.
Ps watch your hands, the height is now better, but keep the wrists more in line.

Other point, at the drive, the first movement is your back, not the legs, keep your torso where it is, start with the legs and later the backswing and lastly the arms.

Making meters will help, and get those muscle longer, so you can reach forward, without it feeling like overdoing that.
For my training see twitter @Hjsrowing

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Re: Low back pain and concept2 rower (SkiErg better?)

Post by T_B » January 31st, 2015, 1:26 pm

hjs wrote: Stretching the hamstrings and lower back a lot is proberly needed.

Making meters will help, and get those muscle longer, so you can reach forward, without it feeling like overdoing that.
Yes that might help, but my ability to move forward currently without bending or overstretching my back is pretty limited. To illustrate that, if I try to reach the floor with my hands while standing (so bending forward) the angle that I can max. make with my back is about 90 degrees. My fingers are still about 30 cm above the floor even if I am stretching. And you don't want to see a video of that... trust me.

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Re: Low back pain and concept2 rower (SkiErg better?)

Post by hjs » January 31st, 2015, 3:47 pm

T_B wrote:
hjs wrote: Stretching the hamstrings and lower back a lot is proberly needed.

Making meters will help, and get those muscle longer, so you can reach forward, without it feeling like overdoing that.
Yes that might help, but my ability to move forward currently without bending or overstretching my back is pretty limited. To illustrate that, if I try to reach the floor with my hands while standing (so bending forward) the angle that I can max. make with my back is about 90 degrees. My fingers are still about 30 cm above the floor even if I am stretching. And you don't want to see a video of that... trust me.
Not needed, but you certainly should work hard on that, it really is limiting. Most often not the back, but the hamstrings are the problem. Short and weak. You could start with just sitting in a deep squat. I bet you now can,t. This is not hard on the back.
For my training see twitter @Hjsrowing

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Re: Low back pain and concept2 rower (SkiErg better?)

Post by T_B » February 1st, 2015, 11:08 am

Not sure if my hamstrings are weak, but they are short indeed. Will try to squat deep on daily basis - also have some stretching exercises. Already tried to reach more forward during rowing today (unfortunately battery of my camera was empty so no vid)
I can push it a bit more forward and notice that the rowing stroke is longer then and have more power during that stroke. Hard to keep it up though, and it makes the rowing less automatic/smooth.
Thanks for all your comments, very helpful.

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Re: Low back pain and concept2 rower (SkiErg better?)

Post by hjs » February 1st, 2015, 1:29 pm

T_B wrote:Not sure if my hamstrings are weak, but they are short indeed. Will try to squat deep on daily basis - also have some stretching exercises. Already tried to reach more forward during rowing today (unfortunately battery of my camera was empty so no vid)
I can push it a bit more forward and notice that the rowing stroke is longer then and have more power during that stroke. Hard to keep it up though, and it makes the rowing less automatic/smooth.
Thanks for all your comments, very helpful.
It will come in time.
Re hamstrings, I talked in general. They only work when we run hard or squat deep. Or lift heavy stuff from the ground. Most people don,t do any, so have very underdeveloped hams.
Getting the stroke longer helps a lot, you have a lot more time to get the fan going.
For my training see twitter @Hjsrowing

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Re: Low back pain and concept2 rower (SkiErg better?)

Post by InlineJinn » February 16th, 2015, 5:04 pm

A couple of thoughts from my own experience with the Concept 2. At 55, I am new to rowing, but have been running, cycling, and inline skating my whole life, so my lower body is well accustomed to both strength and dynamic endurance. My upper body is accustomed less to strength, but certainly to dynamic endurance. My lower back much less so--it's used to holding a static position (more upright for running, more bent for skating). Rowing is asking my back to have strength, flexibility, and dynamic endurance, none of which have I ever developed in my back muscles. So my legs and arms are at an advanced level of fitness, but my back is a novice to dynamic exercise. When I try to make my inexperienced back muscles keep up with my legs, it strains my back. So I encourage patience in letting the back muscles grow accustomed to the demands of rowing, understanding that it may take a couple months to get the back muscles to approach the fitness level of the legs and arms.

I agree with the previous posts about stretching hamstrings and backs. I also have tight hamstrings and limited back flexibility, so this is a familiar problem. I stretch after exercise, and before bed. The other thing that has helped me a lot is heat. In the evening, a relatively hot bath (just a few inches deep) seems to loosen my back muscles and help recovery. I don't know if adding eucalyptus oil and Epsom salts really helps, but I like it and some people swear by them. In the morning, I microwave a gel hot pack, and apply it to my lower back to reduce the discomfort and loosen those muscles. The hot pack is also nice in the morning for tight neck and shoulder muscles.

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Re: Low back pain and concept2 rower (SkiErg better?)

Post by InlineJinn » March 18th, 2015, 9:56 pm

Found another thing that seems to lessen back soreness. After rowing, I use a 6" hard foam roller between my back and the floor, and roll out my back and shoulder muscles, paying particular attention to the large muscles that run up both sides of my spine.

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Re: Low back pain and concept2 rower (SkiErg better?)

Post by grahamcawood » April 27th, 2016, 4:07 am

Looked at your video.
It seems you get tension on the chain a long way from the box, for several reasons.
1. Reversal of your body and the handle(through straight arms) is slow. Almost pausing.
2. Not leaning over the knees a bit more.
3. Straight back.
May I suggest the following technique,which should also reduce the load on your back.

1. Keep the arms comfortably relaxed and bent during the recovery.
2.Any slowing of the recovery happens in the middle.
3.Ratio of recovery to work 1:1 always. Not less than 23 s.p.m.
4. At the catch allow the arms to be pulled straight by the chain. This separates jerky hand, and smooth torso reversal.
5. Allow the arms to immediately rebound and bend a little - catching the load.
6.Your body stops smoothly, shoulders a little forward of your hips.
7.Your body above the hips rebounds, but your hips continue about 80mm towards your feet, thereby getting early layback.
8 Push on the feet and start the work.
9. Let your back relax and curve throughout the stroke. The effort of straightening it will increase the overall load on the back.

The bent arm approach to the catch gives a long reach, with tension on the chain just short of the box. The smooth - not jerky- reversal of the torso reduces the load on the muscles involved. The early layback should further reduce the load on the back. The normally coached requirement for leaning forward until the legs have flattened doesn't make sense. Pausing disallows the plyometric muscle use, and the use of momentum. Both these can be of value at the catch.

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Re: Low back pain and concept2 rower (SkiErg better?)

Post by b12bandit » April 27th, 2016, 1:01 pm

I've had lower back pain for years. 20 years of front row rugby union has wreaked havoc. I've recently had an MRI and been diagnosed with problems in lowest 2 discs. One is slightly herniated, the other has a small tear.
Not serious enough to require surgery.
I've been erging for years (UK championship competitor in 1990 was my high point).
Had conflicting advice from two physios. One says rowing is a great all round exercise and good for my back. Another was adamant that rowing places great strain on lower back (especially at the catch - start of pull).
Any physios/osteos/docs on here care to comment?
Cheers
Pete
Shefford, Beds

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Re: Low back pain and concept2 rower (SkiErg better?)

Post by ohCanada » April 29th, 2016, 5:00 pm

grahamcawood wrote: 3.Ratio of recovery to work 1:1 always. Not less than 23 s.p.m.
Perhaps I am misunderstanding this point (newb here), but the C2 'how to row' video says the recovery is 2x as long as the drive. By 'work' did you mean the drive?

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Re: Low back pain and concept2 rower (SkiErg better?)

Post by grahamcawood » May 28th, 2016, 3:40 am

Many coaches and opinion require a 2:1 recovery to work. However there seems little sense in this since all racing is at about 1:1. If you want to get good at something - do IT. Our bodies seem most comfortable at 1:1, with much plyometric and momentum benefit.
Work is the drive. Relax is the recovery.
May I stress, for the benefit of your back.
1. Let it curve comfortably always. Watch the experts!
2. Pivot about the hips, not by flexing the lower back.
3. Rig the gates as low as possible(about 125mm)
4. Feather as your blade is leaving the water, to help '3' above.
5. Layback at the catch. Who leans forward in a tug of war?
Have fun!

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Re: Low back pain and concept2 rower (SkiErg better?)

Post by Alissa » May 28th, 2016, 2:26 pm

Graham,

Your suggestions on form are very different from the instruction I got from Xeno Muller when he had his rowing studio, The Iron Oarsman, open. It was a lovely way to learn, literally learning from matching form next to such a wonderful rower. But, obviously, quite different from what you're suggesting.

Could you possibly post a video? I'd be very interested to see your advice in action.

Thanks for your consideration,

Alissa

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Re: Low back pain and concept2 rower (SkiErg better?)

Post by grahamcawood » September 1st, 2016, 5:12 am

Some suggestions for reducing lower back pain.
1. Allow your whole back to curve comfortably in the stroke. Straightening the upper back can lead to excessive curving of the lower back. Your back needs to curve against the thighs.Look at any good sculler.
2. At the catch rotate your upper body about the bottom of the ribs to get the shoulders behind the hips - layback - before the heavy work begins. Your back remains comfortably curved. This layback will reduce the load on your lower back. Rotating higher than your hips makes it easier and quicker. Your seat will also move closer to the stretcher, and increase the leg drive.
The stroke movement is now 'back, legs, arms', rather than 'legs, back, arms'.
It is commonly coached that the forward leaning back is not working until it moves back. Not true!. It is still loaded when not rotating, and the muscles working( Isometric?). After layback they will work less.
3. Be careful of eccentric infrequent loads, such as lifting boats.
Have fun.

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Re: Low back pain and concept2 rower (SkiErg better?)

Post by grahamcawood » May 20th, 2017, 1:33 am

Greetings Alissa, I've finally got a video. Visit Youtube Rhecon sculling graham cawood. I do this daily for 30 mins. 1:1 in:out. 25 spm. 2.08 split. HR. about 130. 2 breaths per stroke - out at each end. 6.5 fan setting. I,m 69, had 5* bypass surgery a year ago. New hip 2 years.
Note heel blocks. No pausing. Legs and arms finish together. Bent back. Legs not forced down at finish. Catch near the gate. Elbows out at the finish.
Smile when I look in the mirror!!!
Have fun.

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Re: Low back pain and concept2 rower (SkiErg better?)

Post by lindsayh » May 20th, 2017, 2:50 am

grahamcawood wrote:Greetings Alissa, I've finally got a video. Visit Youtube Rhecon sculling graham cawood. Have fun.
FYI https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3lDM8_s88s
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