Rowing to Help Back Pain

Are you one of the nearly twelve million people in the United States who use rowing machines and experience their benefits? Rowing machines have become quite popular in gyms and homes across the country and with good reason. 

These machines provide a full-body, low-risk workout in addition to offering a wide array of other health benefits, including:

  • Improving upper and lower body strength
  • Building endurance
  • Burning calories
  • Improving heart and lung health
  • Improving posture
  • Providing workout versatility
  • Decreasing back pain

Rowing machines are appreciated by individuals around the world because of their many benefits and ease of use. Many people with back problems focus their workouts around the use of rowing machines simply because they can improve posture and help with preventing back pain.

In addition to the rowing machine, there’s another conservative method of dealing with back pain. Continue reading to find out how to strengthen your back and decrease your chances of experiencing back pain in your day-to-day life.

Does a Rowing Machine Strengthen Your Back?

Rowing machines are known for being cardio-based and offering a full-body workout. In addition, they provide resistance training. The motions involved in rowing are quite varied, while still being easy to perform and natural.

When rowing, you complete four different movements:

  • The Catch: The starting position where your lower back, hamstrings, and calves are engaged.
  • The Start of the Drive: The beginning motion of pushing off, where you utilize your upper and lower back, quads, hamstrings, and calves.
  • The Drive: You fully extend your legs and your arms are tight, working your upper and lower back, shoulders, triceps, forearms, hamstrings, quads, and calves.
  • The Finish: This move includes pulling with your arms and bringing the rowing machine handles to your chest, strengthening your upper arms, back, core, and upper legs. 

The rowing machine clearly works the entire body, strengthening muscles throughout your body, including your back. 

Does the Rowing Machine Improve Posture?

As long as you use proper form and posture when using your rowing machine, you will improve your day-to-day posture as well.

Rowing utilizes – and strengthens – your lower and upper back, trapezius muscles, and core. Whether you’re sitting in the office or standing in line at the grocery store, you’re using these muscles to stand straight and upright. 

Also, the repetitive pulling of the rowing machine handles toward your chest works to strengthen your back muscles. This action pulls your shoulders back, rather than allowing them to remain hunched over or slouched forward. 

How Does a Rowing Machine Prevent Back Pain?

Back pain is the result of a number of things, including:

  • Poor posture
  • Uncomfortable bed or chairs
  • Long hours of driving or sitting at a desk
  • Exercising using improper techniques
  • Overexerting yourself, such as lifting heavy objects
  • Lack of or not enough exercise

A rowing machine can help relieve tension and ease back pain. When it strengthens back muscles, you are less likely to experience injuries and subsequent back pain. Since it also improves posture, you will stand and sit properly, eliminating back pain caused by poor posture.

Of course, when starting out with the rowing machine, you may experience a sore back as a result of using back muscles that you may not have been exercising before. This is common when you’re new to an exercise or a workout machine. Be sure to use proper technique to minimize pain from your workout and don’t push yourself too hard when you’re first starting out.

Can You Row With a Bad Back?

If you have a bad back, you’ll want to first seek medical attention and ensure that it’s okay to proceed with exercise. If given the go-ahead, then you can slowly include strengthening exercises into your daily routine. 

It’s a good idea to include lower back and core exercises as well as a rowing machine. Always stretch before — and after — you exercise. If your back begins to hurt suddenly during your workout, you should stop immediately and see your doctor. Also, be sure to adequately rest your muscles in between workouts or after experiencing pain and then slowly reintroduce gentle exercise.

How Chiropractic Care Helps With Back Pain

If you are experiencing back pain, chiropractic care is a great next step. Chiropractors often use spinal manipulation, provide exercise advice, and offer self-care recommendations. 

They can help patients learn the appropriate form for using a rowing machine, how often one should use it with back pain, and even help individuals experiencing shoulder pain so that they can access the benefits of a rowing machine workout routine. 

Research shows that spinal manipulation can relieve pain and improve function for those experiencing back pain. Chiropractors offer a conservative approach to pain and are able to treat a myriad of problems emanating from the spine, including neck, shoulder, and leg pain.

Dr. Tim Swift proudly serves San Clemente, San Juan, Dana Point, and the surrounding areas of Orange County, California.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.

Dr. Tim Swift

Dr. Tim Swift

Dr. Tim Swift combines his chiropractic expertise with regenerative medicine to bring a passion for restoring health, mobility, and vitality to help his community feel and function better.

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