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June 28, 2022 5 min read

In today's market, you will find various types of fitness equipment emerge in endlessly. They may dazzle you, but I think the rowing machine deserves your attention. It is not only low-impact, but also can exercise your abdominal muscles, shoulders, back, arms and legs well, thus providing you with excellent whole-body exercise. Although it is really a piece of good fitness equipment, just like any exercise, using it for rowing exercise may also be the root cause of your body pain. Due to the specific movements utilized when rowing, the shoulder becomes one of the most critical joints. Therefore, the shoulder joint is at great risk of injury and pain. If you are experiencing shoulder pain when rowing, please don't worry. In the following article, I will take you to know some common causes of shoulder pain when rowing and learn some simple ways to avoid or reduce shoulder pain when rowing, so as to help you enjoy painless rowing.

Rowing Machine Deserves Your Attention

What are the common causes of shoulder pain?
Before knowing the causes of shoulder pain when rowing, it is necessary for you to know some of the most common causes of shoulder pain. Shoulder pain may be caused by the following reasons.

1. Fracture: Collisions, falls, and direct impacts can damage bones in the shoulder joint to such an extent that they crack.

2. Separation: If you fall or receive a hard blow to the AC joint (the point where your scapula and clavicle unite), the ligament holding the joints together may tear.

3. Dislocation: Rotating or pulling the shoulder too far back may cause the arm bone or humeral head to slip out of the shoulder socket.

4. Frozen shoulder: This commonly occurs as a result of excessive tissue adhesion building up in the shoulder joint. These adhesions could restrict easy movement and the shoulder feels like it is unable to move or frozen.

5. Bursitis:The bursae can be damaged or irritated by repeated motions of the shoulder joint. This can cause swelling that reduces mobility and causes pain.

6. Cartilage tear: Things that place excessive stress on the shoulders such as lifting heavy weights can easily damage the cartilage that is mainly responsible for protecting the shoulder joint.

7. Rotator cuff tear: Repetitive use or a fall can damage the rotator cuff muscles that hold the arm in place. This gradually wears out the muscles as you age.

8. Shoulder impingement: The bones of the shoulders can shift in a way that they squeeze the tendons of the rotator cuff leading to inflammation and sometimes this can cause acute pain in the shoulder.

9. Tendonitis: This can be caused by repetitive motion, a fall, or a direct impact to the shoulder wearing down your tendons. This triggers inflammation and acute pain as the tendons swell in a bid to protect the shoulder from further injury.

What are the direct causes of shoulder pain when rowing?
After you know the nine common causes of shoulder pain, let's take a look at the direct causes of shoulder pain when rowing.

1. Repetitive motions
After reading the above common causes of shoulder pain, you will find that the causes related to repetitive motions include tendonitis, rotator cuff tears, bursitis and shoulder impingement. Therefore, these four may be caused by the repetitive motions of rowing with the fitness rowing machine. If you are an avid rower, your shoulder joints will suffer a lot of wear and tear, especially if you row for more than 45 minutes every day. Every time you do a row action, your shoulder bones will squeeze the bursa/cartilage, and the tendons/ligaments will stretch and contract to keep your limbs moving. Therefore, if you row too many times, your shoulder will suffer from pain or injury due to repetitive motions.

2. Muscular imbalances
When you use your rowing machine to row, you will use a very special muscle combination. In terms of your upper body, most of the work is done by the posterior deltoid, rhomboid and latissimus dorsi muscles, and your biceps and forearms are also involved. However, the anterior and lateral bundles of deltoid muscle are usually ignored. Because rowing focuses most of its attention on the back of the shoulder, there may be imbalanced muscle development. Over time, this may lead to problems such as poor posture, which will also affect your shoulder joints and spine. Shoulder pain caused by muscle imbalance during rowing is usually accompanied by decreased arm mobility, neck pain and stiffness of upper thoracic vertebra.

How to avoid, treat and prevent shoulder pain when rowing?
After you know the two main direct causes of shoulder pain when rowing, below, I would like to introduce some basic solutions to avoid, treat and prevent any shoulder pain you may encounter when rowing.

1. Use the PRICE method
The PRICE method is very important and effective for protecting your shoulder from more severe pain. So what is the PRICE method? P stands for protection. Protection usually involves wrapping a support or strap around the injured or sore shoulder. There are many types of shoulder rests that can help support or stabilize your shoulder joint. R stands for rest. This is the most important treatment for shoulder pain. Your shoulder is involved in almost every movement of your arm. Most activities, including cleaning, cooking, pull-ups, bench pushing, and even using computers at work, involve shoulder joints. Therefore, if you feel shoulder pain, it is strongly recommended that you take as much rest as possible and avoid using rowing exercise machine for a few days until the pain subsides. I stands for ice. Ice is especially effective in relieving shoulder pain and swelling after boating. Apply ice to the sore part of your shoulder to help prevent inflammation and numbness. C stands for compression. You can use a compression support or strap to reduce shoulder pain or swelling and prevent excessive shoulder pain or stiffness. E stands for elevation. Elevating can help reduce fluid accumulation in your shoulder joint, control swelling and help relieve pain.

2. Master the correct rowing posture
The correct rowing posture will make your shoulder move within the correct range of motion, prevent the connective tissue from being strained and reduce the wear and tear of joints. First of all, you need to sit with your legs bent and your feet naturally on the pedals. Then hold the front handle with your arms straight and keep your body leaning forward. Secondly, push your legs back while keeping your back straight. At this time, your arm should also be pulled back at the same time. Thirdly, bend your elbow, pull your hand to your lower chest and keep your legs completely straight. Finally, return to the posture similar to the first step. As long as you use the fitness rowing machine to row in the correct posture, your shoulder will not feel pain.

Master the Correct Rowing Posture Can Avoid Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain may be common when rowing, but it doesn't mean that you should stop rowing forever. I'm sure you will know how to avoid shoulder pain when a using rowing machine after reading this article.


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