A healthy lower back through rowing, but of course!

General discussions about getting and staying fit that don't relate directly to your indoor rower
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xeno
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A healthy lower back through rowing, but of course!

Post by xeno » May 6th, 2006, 2:19 pm

If you ask random people on the street about rowing, they will respond using these words: oh ya, kayaking; it must really work the upper body; I can't do this it is too hard; I have a weak back; etc.

It is the last comment that is the greatest obstacle to the growth of indoor rowing. The public at large does not know how great rowing is for MOST backs. Of course, proper rowing technique, is EXTREMELY important to make the "back stronger and healthier"

So my quick technique tip is:

HINGE FROM THE HIP JOINT. KEEP THE SMALL OF YOUR BACK SUPPORTED. USE A MIRROR IN FRONT OF YOU AND SIT AS TALL AS POSSIBLE DURING THE ENTIRE STROKE CYCLE. CHEST OUT AT THE FINISH. SUCK THE STOMACH IN ON THE RECOVERY. IF YO SLOUCH SUCKING THE STOMACH IN IS IMPOSSIBLE.

I wish you all a great year logging your miles.
Some of you have come to visit us at the IRON OARSMAN. It is great fun to meet you from cyberspace.

All the best,

Sincerely,

XENO
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Post by pduck » May 6th, 2006, 5:53 pm

Thanks for the great tip, Xeno. I try to keep myself tall, but if my concentration slips, I slouch a bit. I've never had trouble with my lower back, but my middle back gets tired. I'll try your advice.
[color=darkred][size=75]M53 5'10 175lbs
Am I the only slow rower here?[/size][/color]

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Post by Cayenne » May 8th, 2006, 8:32 pm

Does, "KEEP THE SMALL OF YOUR BACK SUPPORTED" mean the same as maintain neutral spine ( ie; don't overarch or allow back to round, ) ?

Thanks

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Post by rowmyboat » May 8th, 2006, 9:18 pm

It's interesting to read your comments and advice Xeno. I never had a strong lower back until I started rowing only a few years ago and it's slowly improved. I had a back massage a couple of weeks ago and an unexpected comment came that I have a very strong lower back. I was chuffed of course.
Is there any information available on varying exercises while rowing?
I was shown a few from someone who attends rpm (might be called something else) sessions on the rowing machine but this is unavailable in our area and I know I am benefiting from the few variations I was shown, eg the pulls to the lateral sides at 3 different heights and/or the pulls down the sides of the hip area - I find my body is becoming stronger from doing these in my warm-up of 2,000m.

Your comments would be appreciated...

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xeno
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Post by xeno » May 8th, 2006, 9:57 pm

Hi

Rowing with the lower back supported means to be able to sit up and hinge at the hip joint without looking as if a bring stick was swallowed.

Always feel that you sit on the sitting-bones at toward the front edge of the seat.

XENO
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Post by Andy Burrows » May 9th, 2006, 4:47 am

I have been erging for years and have never been able to sit up straight on the erg, I have to slouch slightly which I know will do me no good in the long run, but if I sit up straight then I am sitting right on the bones in my bum and its very painful (Im talking within a few strokes, not 20 pr 30mins or anything). I would love to know how to correct this but fear its just a design fault in my bum :oops: and a side effect of having a skinny arse :roll: .
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Post by xeno » May 9th, 2006, 9:35 am

Have tried padding the seat with towels or other material to make it softer? How tight are your hip flexors and hamstrings?
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Post by Andy Burrows » May 9th, 2006, 10:42 am

xeno wrote:Have tried padding the seat with towels or other material to make it softer? How tight are your hip flexors and hamstrings?
I dont use padding unless its a HM or further. Regarding flexibility, its pretty poor to be honest but I cant see that is a problem as its the actual bones in me bum that hurt, not the muscles.
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Post by rowmyboat » May 9th, 2006, 5:22 pm

Andy, I always use a sponge square on the seat, I started out that way when I witnessed so many folk coming off their seats when competing in the 100m. I use it for all distances and practises and I'm sure my posture has improved because of it. Makes sense as it give some flexibility that the hard seats just don't have and your concentration is fully on the rowing not on sore spots. (I use 2 if doing the marathon!)

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Post by xeno » May 9th, 2006, 5:29 pm

Great comment about focusing on technique and not the sore spots.
Without the sore butt it is easier to focus on hinging from the hip joint.
XENO
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Post by Cayenne » May 10th, 2006, 12:00 am

What is a sponge square ?

Thanks.

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Post by rowmyboat » May 10th, 2006, 12:14 am

A sponge square - here's my explanation!
A piece of sponge that I 'acquired' from an upholstery shop (not to be mistaken for that airy sort of sponge that's usually blue in colour and is far too open and soft) - this is a brown colour, more durable, is approx 300mm x 300mm, I have a piece about 60mm thick but also a piece about 100mm thick!!
I guess most people cover them and call them cushions but mine is straight from the factory and does the trick that's for sure.
I wouldn't travel without it - to rowing comps that is. It's amazing how I have to 'share' it now though!

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Post by Andy Burrows » May 10th, 2006, 5:56 am

rowmyboat wrote:Andy, I always use a sponge square on the seat, I started out that way when I witnessed so many folk coming off their seats when competing in the 100m. I use it for all distances and practises and I'm sure my posture has improved because of it. Makes sense as it give some flexibility that the hard seats just don't have and your concentration is fully on the rowing not on sore spots. (I use 2 if doing the marathon!)
Sounds good, Ill look into that, thanks :D .
32 6'2" 85kg
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Post by Byron Drachman » May 11th, 2006, 6:22 pm

I would love to know how to correct this but fear its just a design fault in my bum Embarassed and a side effect of having a skinny arse
Hi Andy,

I had the same problem with the C2 seat. I tried various forms of folded towels, padding, small air cushions, thick cushions for wide bicycle seats, etc. Finally what worked for me was an old fashioned seat from a single shell with padding from C2 trimmed to fit:

http://www.math.msu.edu/~drachman/row/rockin_seat6.jpg

This takes all the pressure off the sitz bones.

Byron

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Re: Lower back

Post by adkmurray » May 27th, 2006, 12:33 am

Xeno is right. I actually have to row to keep my lower back strong. If I stop for 3-4 weeks as I did last winter during a trip I begin to get lower back pain due to lower back disc problems. I believe it also helps the stomach muscles which helps to keep you straight.
Jim

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