Back Problems In Rowing

Close up of a rowers back in a single scull rowing boat on the water

We love a good rowing read in between boat builds here at SLRacing, and earlier this week World Rowing published a fantastic article about a recent study into back issues in rowing. Whether you are a rower, coach, or administrator it is a must read – providing some insight into what is causing huge percentages of the rowing population to have a back injury.

We haven’t had a chance to delve into the full article (you can find that by googling Dr Fiona Wilson and back injury in rowing, in the British Journal of Sports Medicine), but we did flick through the World Rowing report and Dr Wilson’s full slide deck. The major takeaways for us were:

  • Erging for more than 30 minutes increases the occurence of back injuries.
  • Core exercises actually may be a contributing factor for back pain (the plank is specifically identified as a no go)
  • Warming up for weights on the erg is a bad idea for the back.
  • Rigging can play a major factor in back pain.
  • Some of the things in the report may be self explanatory, but for anyone that has had a back injury and knows how debilitating they can be, it’s an excellent reminder that a little adjustment in training can make a big difference to an athlete. From our perspective, getting the rigging right is definitely a factor that is often overlooked and in future emails we will talk about what changes can be made to your SLRacing setup for both speed and athlete preservation.