We love getting messages and questions from you guys as you really dig in and ask questions that so many people have probably thought about, but never linked the importance of to the rowing movement. Last week we received this as a question and it provided such a good talking point I figured why not write it as a blog for everyone to benefit from!
So the question was this “I spend a lot of time at a desk for work, so figured rowing would be a great way of helping correct the obvious postural issues that come with this. Now when I row however I notice I automatically sit in the same position that I would in at my desk and am worried the rowing isn’t helping at all. Can you help me understand the posture with rowing and what positions I should look to achieve?”
Of course we can!! So let’s dig in.
Posture can be defined as the attitude or position of the body (Thomas, 1997) and according to Martin (2002), should fulfill three functions:
From the above, it can be seen that posture is an active as well as a purely static state. It is vital for balance and control of the body when motionless as well as during a wide variety of different types of human motion. To ensure long term health of the spine and joints of the body optimal postural position should be sought for at all times when holding static positions (sitting, standing) but also during movement and activity. This is much easier said than done as our postural position is predominantly under our subconscious control. The conscious mind is normally focused on a goal oriented movement and not on the exact positioning of the joints required to ensure each specific sub-movement is effective. However, the body has numerous sensory receptors found within the muscles and joints to help provide neural feedback regarding limb and spinal position, speed of movement and the forces passing through the joints in order to subconsciously control the response required for each one of these factors.
“Good posture is the state of muscular and skeletal balance that protects the supporting structures of the body against injury or progressive deformity irrespective of the attitude, in which these structures are working or resting” (Posture Committee of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons,1947).
What should I look for when I row?
Firstly, you have to make posture a conscious element of the stroke. That means every single stroke you have to be thinking about attaining positions and if you feel those positions slipping then make adjustments to correct this. As a beginner that can be hard as you are still learning the mechanics of the stroke as well as trying to figure out where your body is in any given space of time. My best advice here is use your phone’s camera to record your movements, and frequently watch it back to see where things are going wrong. Knowing this you will be more aware and better informed to your posture every time you get on the erg.
Secondly, try and remember key points that are going to give you the biggest bang for your buck. Those for me are these:
And there you have it!!
Simple ways in which you can really help achieve balance and good posture when rowing. It shouldn’t take long to correct so make it a conscious effort to improve and you will see the results in no time.
Yours in fitness, education and good posture