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If you are like so many people these days, you are always trying to find time to get in a good workout.
Am I right?
Rowing is a great way to get in shape, get lean and improve your cardiovascular endurance but …
Did you also know that it is an exercise that can cause injury?
One of the most common complaints is elbow pain when using a rowing machine or simply rowing on the pond, lake or ocean.
Obviously if you can’t get to the water and enjoy a calm day of paddling, then using a stand alone machine at your local gym or at home is the next best thing.
Wouldn’t you agree?
This type of exercise targets all various muscles in your body.
From your legs and arms to your back and core.
It’s truly almost the perfect exercise because …
It combines strength training with cardio endurance training.
But the problem lies in the fact that many individuals who row, end up with overuse types of injuries that affect their back and elbows.
As with many types of injuries, most people don’t pay much attention to their form or technique until…
Pain and discomfort sets in – preventing them from training.
Is this the situation you are currently facing?
Are you unable to row without experiencing dreadful pain in your elbow region?
If so, don’t worry because …
I’m going to tell you about the top 4 risk factors and ways this happens and causes injury to your elbow.
Don’t forget to check out my article over here on 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Tennis Elbow and How It Affects You.
The first risk factor is your technique or should I say lack of it.
1.All it takes is C.D.F.R.
Now I am sure you are wondering what these letters mean?
Am I right?
Let’s address each one of them.
C stands for Catch.
This is all about positioning.
Once your feet have been set into the stirrups, make sure your shines are at a 90 degree angle to the floor.
Maintain a flat back and engaged core as you lean forward to grab the handle with your arms extended as your shoulders come in line with your hips.
This is the perfect starting position as you mount your rowing machine.
D stands for Drive.
Once you are in position, you need to drive.
Drive your legs back until they are almost locked out.
All while keeping your back straight, arms fully extended and your core engaged.
As your legs just about reach full extension, you need to drive your hips and lean your torso backwards.
Once your torso is at a 90 degree angle with the floor, bend your elbows and pull back on the handle.
F stands for Finish.
For the perfect finish, your legs should be straight(knees not fully locked out), and with your elbows bent in order to bring the handle of the machine to the lower part of your chest.
Your arms should be relaxed next to and close to your ribs.
Avoid flaring your elbows away from your body.
It is vital to maintain a strong core and flat/straight/upright back posture.
And last but not least …
R stands for Recovery.
Think back to the Drive.
You are basically repeating this exact movement.
Your arms start to straighten out.
Just before they straighten, your torso moves forward from your hips.
As you keep your back straight and your core engaged, the handle of the rowing machine passes over your bent knees.
If you don’t have proper form or technique, your elbow pain will never really go away plus …
You are only cheating yourself out of a proper, efficient workout.
Just imagine how far your could row if your technique and form were perfect!
Check out this article on Rowing Injuries and How to Avoid Them.
There is some great tips and nuggets of info there.
The second most common way in which people like yourself suffer from pain in your elbow while rowing is due to a …
2.Lack of overall fitness.
If you just joined a gym or it’s your first time using a rowing machine, chances are the muscles in your forearms, upper arms, back and shoulders are not in that great of shape.
Just like with anything new, you need to pace yourself and not try to set any personal records for the first few weeks.
Ease yourself into it.
Don’t just hop on the machine and row for 15 minutes, especially at a high resistance level.
Start out doing 5 minutes at the lowest resistance level.
Then increase your time and then only after you’ve been able to row for your desired time – without experiencing any pain …
Should you consider increasing the resistance level,
This goes without saying but …
You should work on improving your overall strength is you want to really go hard on these machines.
Work your biceps, forearms, shoulders, back, legs and so on.
This will only help improve your rowing capabilities and potential!
That being said…it leads me to the third risk factor and cause of pain in your elbow.
Yes there is such a thing.
You don’t want to be rowing 5 or 6 times a week unless of course you are a Professional or have been doing this exercise for many, many years.
Regardless of whether you are using a machine or you are on the water, 6 times a week puts extreme strain and pressure on your forearms flexors and extensors.
Just the simple action of gripping, squeezing and holding tightly on the handle for extended periods of time is guaranteed to fatigue these muscle tissues and tendons.
And their attachment points on the outer part of your elbow is most likely where you are feeling the pain.
Am I right?
Rowing is simply a repetitive action.
A whopping 73% of rowers will experience some sort of overuse injury during their lifetime.
So don’t feel like you are the only one.
4. Musculoskeletal limitations.
This is one is the rarest of the four.
There could be a more serious reason as to why you are experiencing pain when rowing.
Is it possible that you’ve had in the past an injury to your knees, hips, elbow, back or shoulders?
If so, this could be the real reason as to why you are hurting.
Past injuries can prevent your body from moving the way it used too.
Meaning there are limitations as to what you can and cannot do physically.
So it could very well be that rowing without pain is simply not possible for you.
What if you really, really want to continue with this exercise but …
Well first let me tell you that if your pain is on the outside of your elbow,
You most likely have developed a condition called tennis elbow.
It is the most common overuse injury that affects your elbow.
And yes your rowing has most likely caused it.
Luckily, there are just 5 simple steps that work like gangbusters to eliminate this sort of pain and help you recover quickly.
And the best part …
You can start doing them this very minute from the chair or couch you are sitting on.
Click on the green button below to get these 5 simple steps and see them in action!
is the author of Tennis Elbow Secrets Revealed which has been teaching individuals how to overcome their tennis elbow injury at home since 2005 with over 1,767,986 copies sold.
He is a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer and Exercise Rehab Specialist based in Vancouver, BC, Canada