Hi, OK so I have a strange question. So after many months of my mom always saying how much she wanted to row, she has decided to take a LTR class. She is extremely worried about her lower back hurting while getting in and out of the boat. Do you have any tips to help her maybe try to save her back?
This is actually a pretty common question among adults. They’re not nearly as nimble and spry as we are so squatting down to get in the boat can be a little tricky on the joints. For most adults the issue is their knees or hips, primarily because of arthritis or just the general effects of getting older. Low back concerns surprisingly, at least from what I’ve seen, aren’t as prevalent.
After watching a lot of the adults get in and out when I’ve coached some of the adult learn-to-rows I’ve noticed two ways of doing it. The first is the normal way, just a little bit slower. The second is to sit on the dock parallel to the boat and then just lift your butt onto the seat before swinging your legs in one by one. The adults that are more worried about the boat moving under them, tweaking a muscle, etc. tend to do the second one. The more active-looking adults are keen to do it the normal way simply because it’s part of rowing – that’s how it’s done and if you don’t have any limitations preventing you from doing it that way, that’s how you should do it.
Just like with younger rowers, low backs don’t tend to hurt unless you’re opening up too early, have weak core muscles, and/or you’re disengaging the legs and trying to move the boat with just your upper body strength. Make sure you tell her to really focus on getting the sequencing down properly to avoid any of those issues. As long as she focuses on rowing well right now instead of rowing hard she’ll be fine.