Strength Coach Roundtable #12: Preventing Low Back Pain in Rowing
We’re back! Blake and Joe and I had a great and wide-ranging discussion on low back pain in rowing, combining what we’ve learned from rowing research with our own experiences as rowers, rowing coaches, and strength coaches. In this episode, we cover why low back pain in rowing occurs, how rowers and coaches can reduce risk of low back pain, and what strength coaches can do to build athletes up to prevent injury. Prevention is key with this injury, as history of injury is a risk factor for future injury. Once you have one, you’re more likely to get another, so whether you’ve been injured or not, give this a listen and start incorporating principles to prevent and reduce your risk of low back pain in rowing.
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- Brief personal updates and background info on LBP in rowing
- Will’s article: “Preventing Low Back Pain and Rib Stress Injuries in Rowing”
- Hear Blake’s personal story in Episode 3 on Injury Prevention
7:10: Key Point #1–Technique and Lumbopelvic Coordination
- Important to achieve stroke length and power via lumbopelvic rotation, not lumbothoracic flexion and shoulder protraction.
- Joe: “How to Improve ‘Body Over’ Position in the Rowing Stroke”
- Will: “Mastering the Hip Hinge for Rowing”
- FMS “Tall Kneeling Position” at right
18:50: Key Point #2–Training Volume and Load
- Total training volume (reps, ergs, water) and training load (heavy lifting, static ergs, hatchet blades, low rates, rowing eights by pairs, added rowing resistance) are both risks of LBP. It isn’t necessary to reduce ALL training volume or training load, because then we’d never do anything, but to be mindful of volume and load and think critically about how much volume and load you are using and when you are using it. Too much, too quickly, and in combination with the wrong things, increases risk of injury.
- Problems that result from prolonged erging, and what we can do instead.
- World Rowing: Back Care, 10 Minutes at a Time
- Will’s infographic at right
39:46: Key point #3–Physical Qualities
- Injury history is a predictor of future LBP, so preventing the first incident is key in reducing the injury overall. This has to start with good movement patterns on land, on the erg, and on the water, continue with good training practices by rowing coaches and strength coaches, and remain an emphasis in the program as the athlete develops.
- Joe: Hanging Leg Raise
- Blake: Rotary Suitcase
- Will: Training the Hip Hinge
- Will: How to Train Core for Rowing