Men rowing in river

Is Rowing Machine Good for Lower Back Pain?

The lower back is affected by our daily habits, including the poor postures and movements that we make every day. According to various studies, back pain is the one of most common chronic health problems people endure across the world. At some point in our lives, four out of five adults will experience at least once in their life.

As common in both men and women, back pain affects the quality of life of a large proportion of the population and can limit certain daily activities at home, at work or during leisure time. It is important to strengthen your lower back muscles and other related muscle groups in order to avoid these problems.

What is Rowing Machine?

Rowing is an excellent and very effective piece of fitness equipment that is highly recommended for gyms and clubs, as its practice contributes to an increase in aerobic conditioning without having to go anywhere near water.

Inspired by the movements of rowing, the rowing machine was designed to allow professional rowers to train in winter or in bad weather. It has since become one of the most popular pieces of fitness equipment due to the many benefits it brings to the body. Everyone wanted to enjoy the benefits of rowing!

On the rowing machine, you will build up the muscles of your entire body! The upper body with the back, arms and abdominal muscles. The lower body is strengthened with the thighs, calves and buttocks. As the rower generates a great activation of muscle mass, which provides great energy expenditure and, consequently, effective weight loss and muscle definition, depending on the strategy of use.

Read also: Best Rowing Machines in UK

Is Rowing Machine Good For Back Pain ?

Are rowers good for the back pain? It would be quite difficult to say yes or no to this question. The rowing machine is a great fitness device that has many benefits for all muscle groups in men, including those of the back. However, it can turn out to be risky, especially when the user misuses it. So yes, the rowing machine is excellent device for the back and for treating lower back pain, but on condition that it is used properly.

In order to enjoy the benefits of rowing machine for your lower back, there are a some guidelines that should be strictly followed. During your workouts, keep the pace the same for the first 20 minutes and increase the duration of the workout with each session.

In order to improve your endurance, you should alternate between medium and intense pace and increase the pace before finishing the session.

Here are some tips on how to work without fear of hurting your back:

  • Keep your back straight and do not bend it while working. The pain will increase and the back may tear.
  • Always do a warm-up session before starting the session
  • Always start rowing gently
  • Gradually increase the rowing pace

No matter how long your sessions last, you should train gradually to adapt your body to the new intense exercise.

How does the rowing machine work?

The rowing machine works with proper leg and upper body movements. This can be measured in three steps or stages for best results.

Step 1 – The Catch

This is the starting point sitting tall, arms straight, back raised, knees and ankles flexed. Once you are in this position, use your dorsal to pull your shoulders down slightly and engage your core.

Step 2 – The Drive

This is done by pushing back with your legs while still fully engaging your core. Once you have straightened your legs with your hips slightly tilted back at a 45 degree angle. The final movement comes from the arms by pulling the handles towards the torso about a few inches above the belly button.

Step 3 – The Finish

This is doing the whole movement in reverse order. Extend your arms, bend your hips, bring your torso over your legs and finish back in the Catch position again.

How to use Rowing Machine If You Have Back Pain

To use rowing machine, there is a proper position to adopt and it is quite simple to reproduce. The movements are also very natural, and the user should have no trouble getting used to them. The rowing machine is very demanding in terms of posture and effort. This is great for building muscle. It is also suitable for slimming down, getting a flat stomach, or simply for burning calories. However, it exerts a rather strong pressure on the spine, which can be negative in certain situations.

In order to do rowing properly, it is advisable to have someone who knows how to do it watch you and explain what you need to do to perform the movements correctly. The number one tip to prevent lower back pain on the rowing machine is to use it properly by preparing your body for the load of the rope. So watch the below video to know how to prepare your body to take on the load of rowing and how to do it well.

Read also: Simple Tips To Avoid Back Pain

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to reduce risk of back injury when using rowing machine?

The main reason for having back injuries when using rowing machine is powerful force that is transmitted through the spine. In order to reduce the risk of back injury, you either have to decrease the force or you need to strengthen your back with the adequate exercises.

Straight and strong spines are more able to withstand the forces of rowing. To improve your rowing posture, you can use a specific training program that will increase the strength and endurance of the spine’s muscles. Dynamic stretching of the trunk and lower extremities before rowing can loosen tight muscles and prepare them for the required range.

Can I use rowing machine with a herniated disc?

It is always best to consult your doctor before performing any rigorous exercise, such as rowing machine. You should consult a good physio who might help you. It usually takes long time to recover from herniated disc and its better to avoid using rowing machine during this time.

Can I use rowing machine with Achilles Tendonitis?

In most cases you can use rowing machine with simple adaptation in drive phase. During drive phase, apply the force using your heel and not with the ball of the foot.  To prevent further aggravation, it is best to reduce the force applied to the tendon. But in any case you should first consult your physician.