Indoor Rowing Challenge

Indoor Rowing Challenge

How far can you row in 60 seconds?

One of the things I love about my job, is learning about the diversity of sporting interests amongst my patients. Australia is well known for it’s success in sports like cricket, swimming, footy codes and surfing, but working with a range of sports people has also introduced me to others like dragon boat racing, Brazilian jujitsu and rally driving.

Recently, I was talking with one of my regular patients about rowing machines, specifically the Concept II indoor rowing machine, and how we would both use them in our individual fitness training programs. As it turned out, this particular patient, used to be on the Australian Junior Kayaking Team.

He put forward a challenge, “Tom, next time you”re in the gym, set the rower to a one minute count down, and see how many meters you can pull out.” As I understand, he holds the current record in his gym, 367m in one minute! So I gave it a shot the other day and I was pretty happy with my first try of 323m.

Naturally, our discussion led to chatting about rowing technique. With his experience in kayaking and my experience in spinal care, we had both independently observed many abusive rowing sessions in our respective gyms. Anybody with rowing experience or knowledge in biomechanics would know that the majority of gym goers, clearly have no idea how to use indoor rowing machines correctly.

There is plenty of information available throughout the internet about correct rowing technique. From what I understand, poor rowing technique can be summarised, very simply, into two main flaw areas. Rowing too much with the back and/or arms, and not rowing enough with the legs.

Before you attempt this challenge, ensure you are confident in knowing how to row without causing injury to yourself. This challenge requires a somewhat complex movement pattern of pushing with the legs closely followed by pulling with the arms and torso. As you’ll only have one minute, you need to perform this repetitive motion very powerfully from the start.

Prior to my attempt, I did a very basic whole body stretch routine, followed by three minutes of gentle rowing. Towards the end of the three minutes, I started to row a little harder to prepare myself for the intense rowing that would follow. I then had a short break to psyche myself up a little, about 30-60 seconds.

You can watch the video below for an idea as to how you should look when you row as hard as you can for one minute. Good rowing technique

I recall some of my experiences treating at the regatta events of the 2009 World Masters Games. Many of the patients I saw, through years of rowing, had developed muscle asymmetries throughout their bodies. In addition to this, you could see beneath this musculature, how their spines had developed scolioses in response to the repetitive forces placed on the body whilst rowing.

The combination of muscle imbalances and the joint restrictions that come about as a result of scoliosis, makes chiropractic treatment highly suited to helping this sporting group. Furthermore, rowers can benefit from adhering to an exercise program that strengthens both sides of the body – not just the side you might use for rowing.

I’d like to extend this rowing challenge to all who read this blog post, please feel free to contact me with your results so that I can create a results chart. Best of luck!

*DISCLAIMER: This discussion does not provide medical advice. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained in this discussion are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this discussion is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this blog.