Everyone wants to look and feel good, it is natural for us humans. However, it is important to do it right no matter what kind of transformation you want to go through. Since most physical activity can potentially lead to an injury, it is of the utmost importance to know what you are doing before starting an exercise. Also, one has to warm up before doing more challenging and difficult work.
Proper form is another essential aspect when it comes to exercise because it directly prevents injuries and maximizes the effectiveness of the workout. All of these things are very important with every single exercise, let alone something that engages several muscle groups at once. In this article, we talk about rowing machines and how to properly utilize them and not end up with back pain.
The Importance of Proper Form
Proper form is critical for both safety and effectiveness regardless of the intensity and exercise in question. Without it, you are risking serious injury and putting yourself at risk of engaging the wrong muscles while working out. Not reaping the full benefits of your workout is the least of your worries.
Doing any exercise properly comes with learning about the correct form. This ensures that you are using the correct muscles and not placing unnecessary stress on other parts of the body. It is the wrong tendons, muscles, and worst of all joints that usually suffer. For example, squatting with your knees over your toes puts excessive pressure on the knees, leading to injury over time.
The right form ensures that you are targeting the correct muscles and getting the most out of every single set during a workout. A bicep curl with your back arched shifts the focus away from the biceps and the arms and onto your back, meaning it is no longer a bicep exercise but something that strains the back.
Balance and stability are greatly improved with proper form. Exercises require balance and stability and properly positioning yourself is essential for maintaining both. For example, single-leg squats with improper form lead to a loss of balance and falling down, potentially leading to serious injury.
How to Avoid Injuries and Pain
There is one last thing before talking about rowing machine back pain: how to avoid improper form and do every exercise correctly.
Start with lighter weights
When learning a new exercise, it is always important to begin doing it with light weights to ensure that you can maintain the proper form. Once when you become comfortable, gradually increase the weight and frequency.
Use a mirror
Do not underestimate a good mirror next to where you are working out. Using a mirror helps you ensure that you are maintaining proper form. There is a reason why all gyms and fitness centers have mirrors covering most of their walls!
Focus on breathing
Proper breathing helps maintain the right position because it keeps your core engaged. It also prevents you from holding your breath for too long. Inhale during the eccentric phase of the exercise, when lowering the weight, and exhale during the concentric phase when you are lifting.
Engage the core
The core is crucial when maintaining proper form. Engage your core and you will protect your lower back. If you have trouble doing this, focus on pulling your navel in towards your spine to maintain a neutral spine position. A quick core workout will get your body toned and build your core strength.
Common Rowing Machine Injuries
The rowing machine is an amazing piece of gym equipment that allows one of the best and most diverse cardiovascular and full-body workouts. Apart from the back, it engages the arms, legs, core, and abs. It is one of those exercises where injuries tend to occur if not used properly. Before starting to use it regularly, it is important to know the correct form and what not to do.
Also known as an ergometer, this machine simulates the motion of rowing a boat for a full-body workout. Apart from cardio, endurance, and stamina, it also builds strength and increases power.
When using the rowing machine, maintaining proper form to prevent injury is crucial. Getting the most out of your workout comes later. Before then, you have to have an idea of what you should look like while doing it.
The back is particularly problematic to work out with most exercises because people have trouble keeping it straight. There is nothing worse than hunching over and bending the wrong way when trying to exercise any of the back muscles.
The Lower Back Pain
This area is troublesome for so many people even without exercise. Therefore, it needs to be protected while rowing. Lower back pain and injuries are common on this machine, especially among beginners. Rowing puts a lot of stress on the lower back, but only if the form is wrong.
To prevent this, you must know what not to do. The usual culprits include rounding your back, overextending your back, or rowing with your arms instead of your legs. Pulling the handlebar only with the arms is a recipe for disaster and a great way to pull your back and cause days of pain.
Shoulder and shoulder blade pain also relates to not doing the exercise properly. The overuse of the shoulder joint can cause shoulder pain in rowers that often stretches just beneath the shoulder blade. This can result in chronic pain whenever you are sitting. If you are wondering what causes it, it is pulling too hard or too high with the arms during the stroke. Again, hunching over and not keeping your back straight contributes to these different types of pain.
Know the Form
The best way to prevent rowing machine back pain is to immediately start with the correct information on your side. You should start in the catch position by sitting on the rowing machine with your knees bent. Your feet should be securely fastened in the foot straps and you should lean forward from the hips and reach to grab the handle.
Tip: To make sure your feet are well fastened, check out these rowing shoes that will keep your feet safe and secure from slipping.
Keep the arms straight and your back flat. Next, you want to drive with your legs. Initiate the rowing stroke by driving through your legs.
As you are pushing off with your legs, slightly lean back and pull the handle towards your chest with your arms. This is the main motion. To finish the stroke, when you have your legs extended, pull the handle towards your chest and lean back slightly. Keep the hands at chest height and elbows close to your sides. Finally, return to the catch position by reversing the motion. Extend your arms, lean forward from the hips, and bend your knees to return to the catch position.
Here is the video so you can take a look: