Hyper extension of legs at the finish

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carie graves
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Hyper extension of legs at the finish

Post by carie graves » August 31st, 2006, 4:01 pm

Hello I was looking around the topic pages and didn't find one that I thought would be appropriate for this question. So I made a new topic page.

I'm a collegiate rowing coach and have 20 year old female athlete who hyperextends her knees at the finish of each stroke. Her knees bother her terribly when she ergs. They don't bother her when she rows on the water because the seat platform stops her legs from hyperextending.

I've been trying to figure out a way of keeping her legs (seat) from going down to far on the erg. She tried putting tape around the rail so the seat wouldn't go back to far but that didn't work well.

Has anyone had this problem before and figured it out?

Thanks

Carie Graves

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Byron Drachman
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Post by Byron Drachman » August 31st, 2006, 4:08 pm

Hi Carie,

I haven't had this problem, but I would try two scraps of wood and a large C-clamp to stop the seat from going back too far.

Byron

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becz
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Re: Hyper extension of legs at the finish

Post by becz » August 31st, 2006, 4:36 pm

carie graves wrote:I'm a collegiate rowing coach ...
...and 3 time Olympic rower :wink:

Have you tried experimenting with the foot height on the erg? It would seem that lowering the feet might help to alleviate the hyperextension. This might not be optimal for power generation but if it allows her to row without pain it's worth trying.

I also wondered if wrapping the knees might help. There are those pull-on ace bandage type of wraps that have a bit of pre-bend in them. That may help as well.

The last thing I thought of would be to try and attach something to the erg seat that would emulate the effect of the seat platform in the boat, although this might be a little difficult to implement.

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Post by mpukita » August 31st, 2006, 5:27 pm

Carrie:

I'm having a hard time imagining how she does this. Could you explain what position her feet and the rest of her body are in when she does this?

Not sure I have any answers ... I'm only into this a year and a bit ... but it's an interesting problem.

Thanks -- Mark
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Re: Hyper extension of legs at the finish

Post by Alissa » August 31st, 2006, 7:40 pm

carie graves wrote:I'm a collegiate rowing coach and have 20 year old female athlete who hyperextends her knees at the finish of each stroke. Her knees bother her terribly when she ergs. They don't bother her when she rows on the water because the seat platform stops her legs from hyperextending.

I've been trying to figure out a way of keeping her legs (seat) from going down to far on the erg. She tried putting tape around the rail so the seat wouldn't go back to far but that didn't work well.

Has anyone had this problem before and figured it out?
Carie, your question is interesting. Caveat before you continue: I do not have a medical background of any sort...

I'm not sure this will help, but I also hyperextend my knees, although it's usually brought to my attention when I'm on a pilates reformer and extending from my heels. (Although I have occasionally found myself hyperextending there--although I don't know how often--it hasn't really bothered me rowing. I suspect it doesn't bother me since I'm still trying to get CV fitness established and am positive that I don't row as hard as your (or any) college rower...)

However what my pilates instructor always says is that it is a matter of not allowing the knee to "drop" by keeping the quads engaged to hold your kneecaps "up" (that is, up in the direction of the shoulders). I would think that you should be able to see if this is the case for your rower by having her legs extended in the hyperextended position, and then have her "engage" the quad muscles. Her leg will still be straight, but the knee will pull out of hyperextension. Here's a link to an article dealing with dancers and hyperextension which has some nice pictures showing a straight leg and a "locked" (or hyperextended) leg--and making some suggestions about how to correct it.

At any rate, if this strikes a chord with your rower, then it might be a matter of adjusting technique to avoid a moment of complete relaxation at the end of the leg drive when she lets her knee hyperextend, rather than maintaining the knee in a better position.

As I think about it, if this is what your rower is doing (and I'll check tonight to see if this is what I'm doing), this "flaw" would be comparable to a rower who went past vertical at the catch, putting themselves in a weaker position to begin the drive (since you have to come back to vertical before you can "begin"). From a hyperextended knee position, you've increased your need for flexibility to rock-over from the hip (since you've made the back of your leg "longer" and would likely have to recover the knee to a supported position before you could even begin the recovery.

I don't know if a pilates studio would be helpful to your rower, but if you look for one, try for one either run by physical therapists or that has an emphasis on dealing with serious dancers.

I'd be interested to know if any of this helps your rower...

Alissa

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Re: Hyper extension of legs at the finish

Post by FrankJ » August 31st, 2006, 8:26 pm

carie graves wrote:Hello I was looking around the topic pages and didn't find one that I thought would be appropriate for this question. So I made a new topic page.

I'm a collegiate rowing coach and have 20 year old female athlete who hyperextends her knees at the finish of each stroke. Her knees bother her terribly when she ergs. They don't bother her when she rows on the water because the seat platform stops her legs from hyperextending.

I've been trying to figure out a way of keeping her legs (seat) from going down to far on the erg. She tried putting tape around the rail so the seat wouldn't go back to far but that didn't work well.

Has anyone had this problem before and figured it out?

Thanks

Carie Graves
Carie,

When I was in my teens and not much of an athlete I was very flexible. I could put my toes up on the curb at the edge of a the track and not just touch my toes but put my hands flat on the ground. The problem was I was so loose my knees would pop out of joint if I wasn't careful. In my late 20s I took up running again but on the roads and did much less stretching. My hamstrings were a bit tighter but knees no longer caused a problem by being so loose. Perhaps your runner has a similar problem and strengthening the hamstrings could keep her knees from hyperextending.

Frank
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Post by SlugButt » September 1st, 2006, 2:11 am

Hi Carrie,

I had a similar problem when I was younger. A solution that worked well was to make and "artificial seat deck" to keep my knees from hyperextending. I used a rectangular piece of wood with a square the size of the erg rail cut out of the center of one of the long sides. I used "L" brackets from a hardware store to hold the piece of wood to the slide, and used clamps to keep the "L" brackets from slipping off. I attached the piece of wood to the rail at the place where my calves would normally hit the seat deck (handy slide bite scars showed me exactly where the right spot would be!).

I think I may still have one of these home-made contraptions in the basement and would be happy to try to email you a photo of it if it would be helpful. Over recent years I've been using lighter damper settings (usually 4, no heavier than 7) so I no longer use it as much as when I was erging on very heavy settings.

Take care,
David

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Post by carie graves » September 1st, 2006, 10:26 am

Hey -thanks everybody -lots of good ideas and feedback. I went to the right place!

I'll let the rower know all of these things. I think SlugButt's(!) contraption might work. I can visualize it and wil have rigger make one.

The other ideas about foot level etc. are helpful as well -thanks so much all .

Carie

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Post by c2jonw » September 12th, 2006, 7:49 am

Hi Carrie- I would have thought you would remember the ergs at Harvard back in the early 80s and Harry Parkers modification that seemed designed to prevent both over compression at the catch and hyperextension at the finish. It was a piece of wood perhaps 1"x2"x18" or so clamped perpendicular to the monorail such that it acted as a front stop for the seat at the catch and a behind-the-knees stop to prevent the legs from going down too far. Similar idea to slugbutt, I think. C2JonW
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Post by johnlvs2run » September 12th, 2006, 3:37 pm

Slugbutt and C2jonw,

If you come up with pictures of the contraption let me know as it would be nice to see the design.

I'd have her go out and run up some hills quite a bit. For example, find a shortish steep hill and have her run up and down the hill for an hour or so, with emphasis running up and taking it easy coming down. Even doing this just once a week will help quite a bit to build up and balance her legs.
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carie graves
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Post by carie graves » October 8th, 2006, 8:58 pm

Hey -I'm finally getting back to you all - Slugbutt's suggestion and description worked. I printed it out and gave to our part time rigger boatman. He made a platform and clamped it on.

The rower is very happy and even though she had not erged for about 8 months did well on her test piece because she mountain biked hard all summer.

Thanks to everyone for your suggestions. This was the right place to go.

Carie

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Post by SlugButt » October 11th, 2006, 7:56 pm

Hi Carie!

I'm glad everything worked for your rower and she had a good erg test. Thanks for the update!

Take care,
David

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