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Old 05-22-11, 05:05 AM  
Saffie J
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Australia
Rowing machine / Rower (for posture and strengthening back muscles)

Hi, I'm hoping to get your opinions on rowing machines if you have one at home or use this at the gym. It's not something I have considered before, however after a month of seeing a physiotherapist and massage therapists for a minor shoulder injury (what I thought was minor), I have been advised that no amount of physio or massage will probably help unless I strengthen my back muscles and that rowing would help these muscles in a few months.

I saw a very good massage therapist today who advised that even when lying down my shoulders protract forward, my muscles are very tight and I have limited movement on the left hand side (the side of my shoulder problem). He also asked if there was history of arthritis in my family. I've known for a while my posture is very bad but never done anything about it. Today was a bit of a wake up call, especially the mention of arthritis after seeing the pain my grandmother has had from it.

I'm keen to buy a rower now and have seen a cheapish one on ebay that I am considering buying (I can't afford a "normal" priced one at the moment so think it's better to get something that I can afford, at least for the time being and to see if I use it). Since my shoulder problems I have had to stop all upper body work (especially push-ups), so I'm missing any upper body work at the moment and just sticking to treadmill, rebounding and callanetics.

Sorry for my long rambling post! To finally get to the point, I would be interested to hear your experienes with rowing: do you find it's a good workout, has it helped your posture, does anyone have a similar experience to me that can offer some other suggestions.... Many thanks
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Old 05-22-11, 09:42 AM  
Kathryn
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Illinois
I haven't tried rowing, but a Concept 2 has been on my 'wish list' for a while. Done correctly, it definitely would help with posture. But there's a lot you can do without having a rowing machine.

Are you now able to start up upper-body workouts again? (If not, then I wouldn't think you could do rowing either, though most of the work is supposed to come from the legs). If so, I suggest the following:

Make sure to do more back work (like 1-arm rows, pulldowns, rear flys, superman exercises) than chest (perhaps 2 back exercises for every chest exercise for now). You could even do a rowing motion using a resistance band or cord wrapped under your feet, focusing on opening the chest and squeezing the back (getting the same upper-body benefit as an expensive rowing machine, but for a fraction of the cost).

Omit any isolated anterior shoulder work (this just makes the front tighter, and is superfluous anyway, as chest work hits that area well enough). My posture improved noticeably (though it wasn't horrible to start with) when I decided to skip isolated anterior delt exercises (I still sometimes do combo moves like front-to-side raise moves).

Be sure to do rear shoulder flyes (if there are none in a workout, then do them instead of the anterior raises).

Stretch the chest and anterior shoulder area after every workout and throughout the day. A cobra stretch (yoga pose) is a nice one.

HTH!
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Old 05-22-11, 11:14 AM  
fluffydogfan
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Dallas, TX
Yeah, I'm with Kathryn on this one. If all you need to do is strengthen your back muscles, a rowing machine is a pricey way of doing that. There are many cheaper options.
A light resistance band can mimic that rowing motion. Wrap it around a post or something stable in your house, take an end in each hand and pull back with your hands at chest level. Think about squeezing your shoulder blades together. Control the motion while you are pulling back and releasing forward. Do high reps, 20 to 30, for a couple of sets.
You can also do band pull-aparts. Hold the band with your arms stretched out in front of you at chest level. Pull your elbows back, again squeezing together your shoulder blades. High reps for a couple of sets.
I have a C2 rower and I love it. It's a great low-impact cardio, and it's wonderful for your back and legs and core, but it just seems an odd choice if back strengthening is your only goal.

Katie
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Old 05-22-11, 11:41 AM  
FitBoop
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I have a Tunturi rowing machine. I used to use a fancy one in the gym and wanted something that worked in a similar way without the cost, so I bought the Tunturi. Rowing is a great overall body exercise. It works the legs, core, and upper body, and the rowing movement feels great once you get used to it. It is, however, a tough cardio workout, so I don't do it for as long as other types of cardio such as the treadmill and stationary bike. So, as much as I would love to have a Concept 2, I don't buy one because the amount of time I would spend on it would not justify the cost. The Tunturi cost me somewhere in the $300 range.
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Old 05-22-11, 12:35 PM  
bee1forfitness
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
I brought a rowing machine years ago and it was one of my best fitness purchases, talk about a total body workout, I use that machine till it literally failed apart. I think it was a Nordic Track, I do remember it relatively inexpensive, $300-$350, so I think you could get a good workout without a expense model, however, with a little more money a better model might be more effective and easier to use. I lost weight and really toned up my total body arm, legs, and it was an awesome cardio workout to. Sear has this one similar in looks but a lot cheaper than the Concept 2, it's got 1 review 4 out of 5 stars HTH
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Old 05-23-11, 06:24 AM  
Saffie J
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Australia
Thank you so much for your helpful replies, it is greatly appreciated. I'm just on for a minute so will report back tomorrow when I've gone through this properly. Again, many thanks.
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Old 05-23-11, 07:23 AM  
BarbK
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Join Date: Aug 2002
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I also have a Concept 2 and agree with FluffyDog/Katie's comments.

I like her idea about using a resistance band and simulate the rowing motion. In addition, I would use the band and loop around my feet while sitting on the floor and pull back (like rowing).

Also, extensions from a balance ball work the back well.
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Old 05-23-11, 09:09 AM  
Fitmama
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Florida
I used to row - years and years ago so I have no idea about current models. But rowing is a fantastic workout. Also wanted to say that Karen Voight in Sleek Essentials Strength teaches upper body moves in a way that may be useful to you. She contracts the back muscles and retracts the shoulder blades first, then moves the weights. Its hard for me to remember the exact moves but I remember that workout really feeling my back muscles being engaged the whole time. She does a nice upper body workout in this one. Hope you feel better soon.
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Old 05-23-11, 09:29 AM  
Lucky Star
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You can simply mimic a rower using tubing or heavy bands by sitting on the ground with feet ahead of you slightly bent (feet up). I copied these directions from a site I found:
Quote:
With shoes on, sit on the floor with your legs slightly bent and your feet shoulder-width apart; loop the tubing around your feet.
Crisscross the handles. Then, keeping a firm grip on the tubing, pull your elbows backward and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
Keep the motion smooth as you return to the starting position.
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Old 05-23-11, 09:31 AM  
Kathryn
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Location: Illinois
Do people not read previous posts? LOL!
(I admit, I often don't either).
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