Advice for Rowers


Rowing advice to manage your pain and improve your performance!


It’s important to have a well set out plan when it comes to rowing and managing your pain with physio. In a world of temporary fixes the “plan” often consists of massage, mobilisation or needling to manage pain and not much more. Whilst this can be helpful in the short-term, is this really helping you to row better or find opportunity to address the underlying causes of your pain?

The way we row can often be a contributor to the pain we experience. Rowing is a very technical sport and requires rhythm, strong sequencing and a resilient body to tolerate the loading pattern. If one of these is not up to scratch then it may need to be addressed if you are experiencing lower back pain or chest wall pain. In my personal experience as a rower, these aspects are often neglected in favour of pain-relieving techniques that have short-term outcomes (although these are nice and useful at times) and maybe a token exercise. 

My aim as an rower turned physiotherapist is to provide rowers with a plan to tackle their pain long-term. Alongside pain-relief techniques such as dry needling and mobilisations, my plan looks at the underlying deficits in range of motion, strength, tolerance to loading, movement planning and rowing technique to help create long-term change to movement which will ultimately help you learn to control your pain and improve your rowing. 

This doesn’t happen in a week or even two weeks. Good plans and support come long-term and I give 6 weeks to help coach rowers through a change in their movement.

If you want to move a boat faster, or move a boat with less pain then it might be time to look at how you’re moving and find an opportunity to learn to move better. This is the true leading edge you can get on your competition. 

Matt is an ex-SASI rower and qualified physiotherapist practicing at our Mile End clinic. He is also a qualified strength and conditioning coach and rowing coach. Alongside these, he draws on his personal experiences in rowing to help provide rowers with a strong plan of action over 6-weeks to help them achieve their goals.


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