Preparing for the rowing season

Elyse Bradbury, Physiotherapist

23 July 2018

Preparing for the rowing season

Its that time of year again when schools start preparing for the next season of rowing and many new and excited athletes embark on their first season. 

Whist most school rowing programs start their new rowers in an introductory program, there are a few simple ways to prepare yourself, getting a healthy head start to the season. Those rowers returning to senior teams can also implement a few simple strategies to ensure an injury free season.

After playing winter sports like football and netball which have very different biomechanical demands to rowing, it is important to condition yourself for the season ahead.

Part of this conditioning is flexibility. Rowing Australia has published a set of flexibility bench marks athletes should be reaching in order to perform the action of rowing. Not meeting these flexibility benchmarks can increase your risk of injury and reduce efficiency in the boat.

Some of these flexibility bench marks are listed below in a traffic light format. If you measure in green that means you have a good level of flexibility and a reduced likelihood of injury. If you measure in amber or red, these are movements you need to improve before starting the rowing season.

Sit and Reach Hip Extension Knee extension with hip at 90° Hip flexion (with knee bent and thigh to chest) Thoracic rotation
> 10cm > 5° > -10° > 130° > 60°
0-10cm -5 to 5° -30 to -10° 110 to 130° 45 to 60°
< 0cm < 5° < 30° < 110° < 45°

Rowing Australia has some great resources on stretching and strengthening exercises appropriate for the demands of rowing. Following these stretching resources for 3 to 4 weeks before the rowing season starts may help reduce your risk of injury during the season.

Including these stretches and a dynamic warm up before on water sessions during the season can also reduce your risk of injury. Please see the links below.

Here at Spring Physio Gym we run a ready to row program to teach athletes how to self screen and monitor themselves though the season. Rowing programs will also involve a component of cross training so we teach athletes how to lift with correct technique, how to activate core muscles though the rowing stroke and assess athlete’s technique on the ergo.

Please call reception to discuss this program or to book an appointment with Fiona Milne or Elyse Bradbury for a rowing screen.

Good luck with the season ahead!

Rowing Australia Resources

Stretch Essentials for Rowing (pdf)

5 Rowing Specific Exercises Aiming to Prevent Injuries (pdf)

Warm Up Essentials for Rowing (pdf)

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