T Nation

Rowing and Shoulders

I just came off of my competitive season and now I’m trying to patch up the little aches and pains that I developed over the course of my season. My biggest issue is something other rowers have, shoulder issues.

Specifically, my outside shoulder began clicking and grinding around like it needs to be popped. I’m thinking this may be from the large amount of stress I put on it, the stretching it gets at the front of the rowing stroke, and simply the amount of muscle on my back in comparison to my chest. I think the shoulder just has been stretched really far and there is a muscular imbalance that should be addressed.

Since rowing is a relatively unknown sport and the motion is a little weird, I’ll try to post a pic to illustrate.

I’m thinking some good chest exercises to correct the imbalance and shoulder rehab exercises would probably be in order. Not to mention simply resting my arm from the motion.

Any ideas?

First of all, get it diagnosed. In my opinion, if you think it’s an imbalance it just might be. Moves like the dumbbell swing could possible fix this imbalance, because it primarily places stress on the anterior deltoid. I would try and stay away from direct shoulder work. What I would are high or low intensity compound moves like the dumbbell swing, flat dumbbell bench press, and dip. They involve the shoulder, but it’s not the primary mover through the entire full ROM and when they are used the posterior deltoid is not activated as much as the anterior. Also, take full advantage of serratus, isolation exercises.

Check out these articles:
http://www.T-Nation.com/findArticle.do?article=06-075-training

http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1053531

Most of all, try and be aware of shoulder overuse.

[quote]Kaiserrow wrote:
I just came off of my competitive season[/quote]

what you’re not rowing at Nationals? LOL

[quote]
Specifically, my outside shoulder began clicking and grinding around like it needs to be popped. I’m thinking this may be from the large amount of stress I put on it, the stretching it gets at the front of the rowing stroke, and simply the amount of muscle on my back in comparison to my chest. [/quote]

Two things:

1.get your technique looked at - perhaps video analysis - a good idea is to send video footage to Xeno Muller www.gorow.com - he’ll sort you out big time. He will see things your coach doesn’t - trust me. The dude is the most technically perfect sculler I have ever seen. (His sweep technique is not too shabby either - he stroked one of the greatest college eights of all time - the '93 Brown varsity).

  1. Yeah, you probably have a muscular imbalance - rowing coaches are notorious for overemphasizing back and leg movements in the gym - as soon as I incorporated pressing movements to bring up my chest/delts - my shoulder issues pretty much disappeared.

Oarsman,

Say more about fixing the front/back upper body imbalance.

I was a rower for a while. I was also that wierd guy who enjoyed pulling more than pushing, and my upper-body pulling is way stronger than my pushing.

What were your imbalances, and how did you fix them?