To prevent injury in rowing it is important to stretch and keep certain muscle groups flexible. Rowing injuries can result from sudden changes in training volume, poor technique, or previous injuries reoccurring.
Rowers require adequate flexibility in their shoulders, back, hips, and legs in order to safely perform a stroke. For example, the first diagram below shows the flexibility required in the gluteals, or butt muscles, to bend forward at the catch (Arrow #1). The second diagram shows the flexibility required in the hamstring muscles during the drive and slide (Arrow #2). Additionally, a rower requires adequate rotation through their torso if sweeping instead of sculling, and flexibility through their shoulders and shoulder blades.
Lack of flexibility in these areas of the body can place extra strain on the muscles and joints of the spine and shoulders.
Stretching (adapted from Rowing Australia guidelines)
Stretching is best performed when warm and the limbs should move slowly in and out of position. There should be no jerking or bouncing.
(i) pull knee across body, and
(ii) cross legs and pull to chest, perform 30sec per side
pull knee towards chest and then straighten knee until stretch is felt in back of thigh (NOT behind knee), 30sec per side
Lying on side, bring arm towards ceiling and down towards opposite side of body, repeat 10x per side.
Arms on doorway, step through with one foot (can do at varying heights as per diagram, 30sec per position
arms overhead and lean to side. Continue breathing. 30sec per side
lying face down, perform a ‘sloppy push-up’ by propping self up on arms and keeping hips on floor. Repeat 10x
Hip Flexor Stretch: In lunge position, push hips forward and keep back leg on ground, hold 30sec per side