Sunday, December 17, 2006

Everything You Wanted to Know About Rowing Injuries

Christmas break is always a good time to try to let your injuries heal, so to help you understand what's going on a little bit better, here is a paper on rowing injuries. It covers everything from back pain to track bites (including "rower's rump!"). A couple of findings from other studies noted in this paper:

The researchers noted that throughout a maximal rowing trial on an ergometer, lumbar flexion of the subjects increased from 75% to 90% of their maximum range of motion, most likely due to muscle fatigue.

The observed risk factors [for back pain] include: increased training volume using multiple training methods; the use of a rowing ergometer for minutes at one time; greater height and weight; and beginning the sport prior to the age of 16 years.

Howell found a high positive correlation between hyperflexion of the lumbar spine and incidence of low back pain in elite lightweight oarswomen.

This study also reported a high negative correlation between adherence to a stretching programme and occurrence of low back pain.

There's a whole lot more to read in the paper.

The Teitz report that found the risk factors for low back pain actually listed more factors than those included in the quote above, including the "use of a hatchet oar blade." That finding is interesting because I've lately heard some speculation on the effect of various types of blades on the backs of lightweight women. The Teitz study found hatchets associated with back pain among all rowers so it seems logical (although not supported by any research I've seen) that bigger or more technologically advanced blades that give rowers a bigger bite of water would be more stressful on the backs of lightweight women. That's just speculation, though, and it would be nice to see some research on the subject.

The association of a lot of erg work with back pain also makes me think of the discussion we had earlier about the difference between rowing on an erg and in a boat. We talked a lot about when and how force was applied and how the necessity of moving the rower's body on a static erg creates different forces than those in a boat. Aaron Benson explained how dynamic ergs such as the Rowperfect or Concept II on slides makes the erg more like a boat. Again, it seems logical to believe that a static Concept II erg is harder on the back than a dynamic erg. I've seen no research on this question either, but I may try to get some comments on this from Concept II and Rowperfect.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Im writing a paper on rowing injuries and I'd would very much like to read the paper you have posted on your site.
However it fails to come up as the link betweeen the paper and the site is down.
Please fix thias error as I'm looking forward to reading it.

Thanking You.