I’ve had a lot of back problems lately. I’ve been seeing a couple physiotherapists and back specialists to try and solve the problem. They all say it’s the same thing.
Wear and tear.
I never knew there was such an ordinary language medical term. Whatever it’s name, the worst thing is that it could have been prevented.
#1 Core Stability
Sitting writing this article I’m aware of 2 things – what I’m writing to you and how I am sitting. 6 months ago I would have been only aware of the way I was writing.
Core stability has become an obsessive part of my life. I am trying to protect my lower back.
When I took a break from rowing a few years ago I tried other sports. It was great for a while but never had the same appeal as rowing or erging. So I went back rowing and erg rowing.
But the time bomb had been set.
I had gotten away with it for years. (Bad rowing back posture)
And now all the muscles had begun to weaken (during my time away)
Alas one morning back in August I knew something big was going on.
So now I spend a lot of time doing Pilates and core work. All the other times I spend erging and altering my erg technique posture so that my spine is in a neutral position. This is not easy after almost 20 years doing more or less the same rowing movement day in day out.
I will take time and patience to change. And a lot of core work.
Do a YouTube search and watch how, for example the British rowing team now row. It looks very upright compared to say rowing at the 1984 Olympics (which is also on YouTube). It’s not just style that has changed. It is sports medicine and biomechanics that have changed. They way they row is functional, effective and above all, safe (in the long run).
But they haven’t been the pioneers. Have a look at how Rob Waddell rowed in the single scull 11 years ago in Sydney. His rowing is an excellent example of a controlled neutral spine supported by a rock solid core. If you get the chance look at how connected and loose his upper body is. His legs are doing most of the work. And above all his core is the rock solid lynchpin.
Oh if I was 14 years old again.
I’d learn where my neutral spine position was and I would row in that position for the next 60 years plus. And more than likely I would not be writing this article.
But if it’s one thing that rowing has thought me…
It’s never too late.
And as for the non-rowing things I would do? Well, that’s for another day…