Why Bother Stretching? For Rowers.
The majority of Rowing problems and pain I treat are shoulder and neck issues, wrist pain, lower back pain (inc sciatica) and knee problems.
To be a great rower your body will need to be: flexible in the upper torso, have great endurance/ stamina and upper body strength. The muscles of the back, shoulders, arms, and core are very important too. They must be conditioned enough to handle repetitive rowing motions and the force of the water as well as being flexible enough to move through a full range of motion. Maintaining flexibility in the lower body and core are equally essential particularly when it comes to injury prevention.
Common Rowing and Kayaking Injuries & Treatment
Rowers tend to suffer from overuse injuries from repeated the rowing motions.
Chronic injuries are often caused by incorrect form.
- Knee Bursitis: is caused when the fluid filled sac that cushions the tendons and ligaments, becomes irritated and inflamed. It is commonly accompanied with redness, pain and swelling in the area. In a few cases the bursa can rupture and the fluid will leak out subsequently impairing the ‘cushioning’ ability of the bursa. Repetitive flexing and extending of the knee during the full rowing cycle can, irritate the bursa on the outside or top of the knee.
Rest, ice and NSAIDs are usually enough to heal the condition. On-going strength and flexibility training during rehabilitation may prevent reoccurrence.
- Lower Back Pain: The bending and straightening during the rowing motion can cause pain in the lower back due to poor posture or fatigue. The lower back muscles can quickly become fatigued during rowing. Muscle strains are possible, as are disc problems.
Lower back pain can be treated with rest, stretching, and massage. More severe injuries and pain may require professional medical help.
- Patellar Tendonitis: is commonly due to overuse, or incorrect rowing form. The repetitive bending of the knee during rowing causes the tendon to rub over the bone and cause inflammation that, in turn, aggravates the condition, setting up a cycle of inflammation and pain.
Tendonitis treatment includes rest, NSAIDs, and ice. Increasing flexibility in the quadriceps will relieve some of the tension on the tendon and helps heal and prevent future problems.
- Wrist and Shoulder Repetitive Strains (RSI & Tendonitis). Often caused by the gripping the oars or rotating the shoulders during the rowing motion or incorrect form. This type of RSI is often caused by a range of movement outside of normal use or with excessive force.
RSI’s/ Tendonitis are commonly treated by discontinuing the activity that caused the problem, NSAIDs, and ice.
Tips To Prevent Rowing Injuries
Conditioning and training in proper form can help prevent injury. The following four areas should be addressed:
- Flexibility training
- Instruction in the correct form & style when rowing
- Proper training on water safety and swimming:
- Strengthening and muscular endurance training.
Top 3 Rowing and Kayaking Stretches
Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that something as simple as stretching won’t be effective. Below are 3 very beneficial stretches for rowing and kayaking; obviously there are a lot more, but these are a great
place to start.
Arm-up Rotator Stretch: Stand with your arm out and your forearm pointing upwards at 90 degrees. Place a broom stick in your hand and behind your elbow. With your other hand pull the bottom of the broom stick forward
Reaching-up Shoulder Stretch: Place one hand behind your back and then reach up between your shoulder blades
Standing High-leg Bent Knee Hamstring Stretch: Stand with one foot raised onto a table. Keep your leg bent and lean your chest into your bent knee.
Did You Know?
As part of your Maga Therapy treatment you will receive stretch advice tailored to your requirements to either prevent or indeed treat any injuries for this or any other sport you partake.