Lets talk about injury

General discussions about getting and staying fit that don't relate directly to your indoor rower
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dontmindsarno
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Lets talk about injury

Post by dontmindsarno » February 9th, 2020, 5:23 pm

Hi folks, I've been studying indoor rowing for the past couple of weeks (darkhorse vidoes) and I want to buy a concept2 and get into a good workout routine. I'm 35, 170lbs, Male, 70.5 inches.

About 4 years ago I had a low back injury (squatting/deadlifting) that has left me in chronic pain and partial weakness in my left calf (note it is perceived weakness as I'm able to do 70 single leg calf raises so I suspect nerve irritation,not actual damage). I won't go too much into this, but some days I'm in pain, other days I have no pain. I've seen people like McGill, Liebenson, others and read more books than I knew existed on low back pain. Anyway, I'm convinced there is some mind-body connection going on with my pain (Sarno, Moseley, Butler) but my main point is that I'm fully functional. I'm not convinced pain = harm and I'm pretty sure I have a "recovered/healed" low back for a 35 year old male so I know I can participate in some exercising as long as it isn't very rigorous and doesn't require me lifting very large amounts of weight. Right now I deadlift a 35-45lb kettlebell.

HOWEVER, I've been reading that low back injuries are the #1 injuries that people get rowing, followed by others. I'm terrified of getting re-injured or introducing a new injury to my body. On the other-hand, exercise is important for general health and I'm looking for something to "get into". My goals are some weight loss, a bit of muscle gain, overall general health and a good cardio workout that can make me sweat and keep my heartrate up. I am not looking to become an athlete in anyway or to compete in competition, even at the amateur level. At this time I simply walk at 3.5MPH up at 8-9 incline which can give me a good sweat in about 12-15 minutes. I do like the rowing machine and it seems to have a lot of potential. I've been trying it out on a local gym but I don't feel like I'm getting much of a workout doing a 2k which takes about 12 minutes. I think my force curve is wrong, it is too long and flat. Anyways I digress...

Can we have an objective discussion on potential injuries that can occur on the concept2? Any papers or books I can read regarding injury avoidance? Anything I should watch out for? Do's and don'ts? I try to get my back flat at all times when using the concept2 to ensure I'm not flexing too much which puts pressure on the discs and other structures in the back, but I'm not sure if that is enough to prevent injury.

Thanks!
Height: 5'10.5"
Age: 37ish
Sex: Male
Weight: 167lbs
Est. Body Fat %: 23%
Type of Job/Life: Very Sedentary

MPx
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Re: Lets talk about injury

Post by MPx » February 9th, 2020, 7:33 pm

It sounds to me like you should be discussing this with your doctor rather than on a public forum where most of us have little, if any, medical knowledge. Some thoughts for you.
The Erg measures work (hence the name) but you can generate that work by a powerful push/heave against more resistance which will slow the stroke or a quicker push against less resistance where drive speed is the key. There's many stages of grey between the extremes. You should err towards the quicker lighter end. This is measured by the Drag Factor on the erg and should probably be 110ish for you - maybe lower.

You get an all over workout on the erg - if you learn good form and don't rush your training it should strengthen your back not damage it.

I don't mean to decry any effort - we all start from where we are - but if you're taking 12 minutes to cover 2k its no wonder you're not feeling much of a workout. The oldest competitor racing in Paris at the weekend was in his 90s and posted an 11:11 time. Having said that you are a relatively light weight (if you have fat to lose) in a sport that favours giants so that will always limit your potential to a degree. Try another 2k, but as you're going along try to keep the big number on screen (500m pace) at 2:45 for every stroke. If that's still easy, try 2:30. I don't know what the number will be, but there will be one where "it'll feel like someone has injected lava into his legs. And poured acid into his lungs and belly. And placed 100dB bass drums in each ear." (Description courtesy of Max). You'll certainly know you've had a workout.

In terms of injuries, I've only once hurt myself on the erg (damaged hip flexors - about a month's recovery) but only when not maintaining form over a sustained 5 and 1/2 hour period. Otherwise just the usual blisters on the hands and a sore bum on long sessions.

Anyway top tips:
Take medical advice
If erging is medically OK then take time to learn a good stroke and the rest will take care of itself...
Mike - 63 HWT 183

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jackarabit
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Re: Lets talk about injury

Post by jackarabit » February 9th, 2020, 8:25 pm

I couldn't deadlift your bibliography single spaced and double sided.:lol: I subscribe to the CW that pain is effectively a warning to do less, do different, or don’t do. At the extremes of pathology, neurons can get stuck in a signal loop, obvious example being the perception of amputated limbs.
There are two types of people in this world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data

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Erik A
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Re: Lets talk about injury

Post by Erik A » February 9th, 2020, 9:16 pm

interestingly i started rowing to strengthen my back after having issues with back problems ie constant pain when lifting . continual small injuries when lifting incorrectly etc
Erik
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6'4 and 125kg

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jackarabit
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Re: Lets talk about injury

Post by jackarabit » February 10th, 2020, 2:16 am

Erik A wrote:
February 9th, 2020, 9:16 pm
interestingly i started rowing to strengthen my back after having issues with back problems ie constant pain when lifting . continual small injuries when lifting incorrectly etc
Comes under heading “do different.” I spent most of my working life on concrete factory floors. Knees painful and back chronically stiff by age 40 at which point I returned to weekend warrior road cycling and summer bike touring. Eliminated my knee and back problems imo.
There are two types of people in this world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data

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hjs
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Re: Lets talk about injury

Post by hjs » February 10th, 2020, 5:00 am

Re Injury, the rower is a bit what you put into it yourself, you can pull a max with high injury risk and very soft, with just as much risk as walking. I think if you are now can do about anything, rowing us perfectly suitable for you.

Re 12 minutes over a 2k, that much be very very gently, you talk about keeping your back flat, that should not be the way to look at it. You should use a natural curve, but “brace” your back, so it is fully rigid. If you do that the risk of injury is really small. Over time if you want training effect, your current pace will not do much, think your hf will hardly go up a bit.
Your should work up a sweat and your hf should at least go up to say 70% of your max.

mdpfirrman1
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Re: Lets talk about injury

Post by mdpfirrman1 » February 10th, 2020, 6:00 pm

I took nearly five months off the rower last year after a Thoracic injury -- likely a ruptured disc my doc said. By the time I went to the doc, it was already healing slowly and he felt it was best just to give it time and work it slowly back into shape.

I initially blamed a low rate CTC challenge row on the injury. Truth be told, my back likely got into bad shape from a bad desk chair and bad posture at work. Bad posture, in my honest opinion, is more harmful than any C2 machine. Bought a new office chair that is ergonomic, worked on Cobra poses (working to undo some of the bad posture from bending that back at the desk).

I'm finally back up to rowing 200K meters a month again. Slow, but steady progress. I'm not nearly as fast as I was (and I was never that fast to being with :wink: ), but the strength is slowly coming back.

As for low rate rows, something I never really did before. They have become my friend. I embrace them to work on form and keep HR low on Steady State days.

BTW, good to see you Jack and Henry!
Mike, Age 55, 195 lbs (currently, a bit pudgy after The Holidays!). 5' 10"

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ampire
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Re: Lets talk about injury

Post by ampire » February 11th, 2020, 9:30 pm

Don't pull the handle too high up at the finish to avoid leaning back too far. If you pull it above your chest you will usually lean back further which can cause back strain.
Don't cock wrists excessively at the finish, it can cause forearm and elbow issues.
Keep drag factor low for most training, like somewhere between 95 and 145. Lower end of this range is good for steady state.
Try to keep arms straight at the catch through early drive and push with the legs rather than pull with the arms and back at this phase. This way you are not fatiguing the smaller muscles of the arm instead putting the load on your stronger larger leg musculature. If you push hard enough with your legs you should feel your arms straighten and the handle pull against your fingers because of your powerful leg drive.
Slides are pricey but they help with decreasing back strain, it converts the static rower into a dynamic rower. I don't feel as much back pain using slides, I really like them.
Many people like rowing at low SPM but I personally found my lumbar felt it if I went below 22, however 30R20 is a pretty good workout for strength.
I have had spinal cord surgery at L5-S1 and T4-T5, not caused by rowing. I am using rowing to rebuild my body.
M34|5'8"/173CM|150lb/68KG|LWT|MHR~192BPM|2020: 5K 18:52.9 (@1:53.2/500)|C2-D+Slides+EndureRow Seat

Dangerscouse
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Re: Lets talk about injury

Post by Dangerscouse » February 12th, 2020, 2:19 am

mdpfirrman1 wrote:
February 10th, 2020, 6:00 pm
I took nearly five months off the rower last year after a Thoracic injury -- likely a ruptured disc my doc said. By the time I went to the doc, it was already healing slowly and he felt it was best just to give it time and work it slowly back into shape.

I initially blamed a low rate CTC challenge row on the injury. Truth be told, my back likely got into bad shape from a bad desk chair and bad posture at work. Bad posture, in my honest opinion, is more harmful than any C2 machine. Bought a new office chair that is ergonomic, worked on Cobra poses (working to undo some of the bad posture from bending that back at the desk).

I'm finally back up to rowing 200K meters a month again. Slow, but steady progress. I'm not nearly as fast as I was (and I was never that fast to being with :wink: ), but the strength is slowly coming back.

As for low rate rows, something I never really did before. They have become my friend. I embrace them to work on form and keep HR low on Steady State days.

BTW, good to see you Jack and Henry!
Do you, or could you, do Pilates classes? My wife had disc replacement surgery four years ago and her surgeon is convinced that she recovered so quickly because she did Pilates for years beforehand. I also do it at least once a week for about seven years now and I think it has helped reduce injuries, admittedly I can't prove it but a weak core is a standard consequence of too much sitting down
46 HWT; 6' 4"; 1k= 3:09; 2k= 6:36; 5k= 17:24; 6k= 21:09; 10k= 35:46 30mins= 8,428m 60mins= 16,331m HM= 1:18:25; FM= 2:45:49; 50k= 3:21:14; 100k= 7:52:44; 12hrs = 153km

"You reap what you row"

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Re: Lets talk about injury

Post by jamesg » February 12th, 2020, 4:32 am

My goals are some weight loss, a bit of muscle gain, overall general health and a good cardio workout that can make me sweat and keep my heartrate up.
That's just what the erg's for. Make sure you learn to row with a style that engages the legs. The arms move the handle around, but it's the legs that do the work. They can load your CV system no end, but we can dose the effort via drag and the rating (strokes per minute) so it's not nearly so hard as climbing stairs. This lets us do a lot more work in 30-40 minutes slow than in ten minutes fast.

Suggest you use low drag and set the machine to give you a comfortable posture when well forward on your feet. I find that however much aches and pains I have all over, they've all disappeared on the erg. Desks and cars are far more dangerous.
08-1940, 183cm, 87kg. Last seen MHR 162, in 2k (2020-05-16) 8.47.5@24

mdpfirrman1
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Re: Lets talk about injury

Post by mdpfirrman1 » February 12th, 2020, 9:15 am

Dangerscouse wrote:
February 12th, 2020, 2:19 am
mdpfirrman1 wrote:
February 10th, 2020, 6:00 pm
I took nearly five months off the rower last year after a Thoracic injury -- likely a ruptured disc my doc said. By the time I went to the doc, it was already healing slowly and he felt it was best just to give it time and work it slowly back into shape.

I initially blamed a low rate CTC challenge row on the injury. Truth be told, my back likely got into bad shape from a bad desk chair and bad posture at work. Bad posture, in my honest opinion, is more harmful than any C2 machine. Bought a new office chair that is ergonomic, worked on Cobra poses (working to undo some of the bad posture from bending that back at the desk).

I'm finally back up to rowing 200K meters a month again. Slow, but steady progress. I'm not nearly as fast as I was (and I was never that fast to being with :wink: ), but the strength is slowly coming back.

As for low rate rows, something I never really did before. They have become my friend. I embrace them to work on form and keep HR low on Steady State days.

BTW, good to see you Jack and Henry!
Do you, or could you, do Pilates classes? My wife had disc replacement surgery four years ago and her surgeon is convinced that she recovered so quickly because she did Pilates for years beforehand. I also do it at least once a week for about seven years now and I think it has helped reduce injuries, admittedly I can't prove it but a weak core is a standard consequence of too much sitting down
I probably should Stu but the gym only has Pilates during the day. I live in (mostly) retired area of Tucson, AZ where 90% of the classes assume that you're retired and can just take off and attend a class at 10 AM! I also detest Pilates, likely because it feels like 40 minutes of core work! Anyone that says it's easy has never done it. I did one class. Got through it fine but it was a hard ab workout. The biggest issue was I couldn't lift or do anything harder for 6 to 7 months. A lot of strength lost. I'm just able to add in weights in the last month or two. Body weight stuff to start and now lifting more a bit. But I should add in planks at least. I can fit those in quite a few times in the week. Yes, any core work helps tremendously with desk jobs. I should also consider sitting on an exercise ball instead of a desk chair.
Mike, Age 55, 195 lbs (currently, a bit pudgy after The Holidays!). 5' 10"

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Gammmmo
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Re: Lets talk about injury

Post by Gammmmo » February 12th, 2020, 9:33 am

dontmindsarno wrote:
February 9th, 2020, 5:23 pm
Can we have an objective discussion on potential injuries that can occur on the concept2? Any papers or books I can read regarding injury avoidance? Anything I should watch out for? Do's and don'ts? I try to get my back flat at all times when using the concept2 to ensure I'm not flexing too much which puts pressure on the discs and other structures in the back, but I'm not sure if that is enough to prevent injury.

Thanks!
I kept hurting my back (old cycling injury from 2013 pushing massive gears) on the Concep2 in the first 3-4 months. Too much, too soon. Engine was too good for the chassis. Get that DF really low and build up gradually.....stop the instant you think something has gone kafluey in your back as from experience carrying on the session may feel OK...the adrenalin/endorphins will mask pain to some degree until afterwards. Good luck, I know how frustrating injuries are....
Paul, 48M, 5'11" 80kg (sprint PBs HWT), ex bike time trialler.
LP=1:16, 100m=15.9s, 1min=350m Image
Targets: 355m+ 1min, 1:27(500m), 3:11(1K), bench 2 plates, squat 3 plates, deadlift 4 plates

Erg on!

mdpfirrman1
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Re: Lets talk about injury

Post by mdpfirrman1 » February 13th, 2020, 12:42 pm

Gammmmo wrote:
February 12th, 2020, 9:33 am
dontmindsarno wrote:
February 9th, 2020, 5:23 pm
Can we have an objective discussion on potential injuries that can occur on the concept2? Any papers or books I can read regarding injury avoidance? Anything I should watch out for? Do's and don'ts? I try to get my back flat at all times when using the concept2 to ensure I'm not flexing too much which puts pressure on the discs and other structures in the back, but I'm not sure if that is enough to prevent injury.

Thanks!
I kept hurting my back (old cycling injury from 2013 pushing massive gears) on the Concep2 in the first 3-4 months. Too much, too soon. Engine was too good for the chassis. Get that DF really low and build up gradually.....stop the instant you think something has gone kafluey in your back as from experience carrying on the session may feel OK...the adrenalin/endorphins will mask pain to some degree until afterwards. Good luck, I know how frustrating injuries are....
That's a great point Paul. After my thoracic disc injury, I couldn't row for five minutes without pain. When I finally could start back, I moved the DF down to like 90. I never was a high DF guy to begin with. My PB was set at 103 DF. It took six months to get it back to 100. I've been rowing quite a lot lately at 107 to 110, working to build back strength in the stroke, all while paying really close attention to any signs of pain again.

I think with bad backs, work on form with distance first. Use any DF that allows you to keep relatively decent volume without sacrificing form. And don't be worried if your DF is less than strong women use (like mine :lol: ).
Mike, Age 55, 195 lbs (currently, a bit pudgy after The Holidays!). 5' 10"

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