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Allen Yeh
12-18-2006, 06:36 AM
I've thought about this before and the other day as I was rowing and my left hand/arm started to go numbish around 3500m's I started thinking about this again.

Does constant use of the rower/rowing lead to shoulder problems? We all know that an imbalance of push pulls internal/external rotation can lead to a variety of shoulder problems/pain, posture problems, strength imbalances (i.e. people that bench all the time improperly and without training balance or even pushups (I see people in the US Army all the time with the shoulders rounded forward look)). Wouldn't rowing for 1000's of meters a week lead to a problem in the long run?

Just musing about it and I don't know any rowers otherwise I'd jsut ask them! Thanks!

Greg Everett
12-18-2006, 11:23 AM
If you're getting numbness, that suggests nerve impingement/disruption, so not sure on the overuse idea, but i guess it's possible. might be getting some pronounced enough inflammation to compress a nerve, but that's a shot in the dark. are there any other movements or positions that cause the same feeling? any past injuries that resulted in numbness/tingling? how's your shoulder/arm flexibility/ROM? any pain or discomfort prior to the appearance of the numbness?

Robb Wolf
12-18-2006, 03:23 PM
Dito what Greg said. Where is the numbness? Pinky and ring finger? Thumb and forefinger? Damnit Allen, Tell us Man!

Allen Yeh
12-18-2006, 05:28 PM
If you're getting numbness, that suggests nerve impingement/disruption, so not sure on the overuse idea, but i guess it's possible. might be getting some pronounced enough inflammation to compress a nerve, but that's a shot in the dark.

1. are there any other movements or positions that cause the same feeling?
2. any past injuries that resulted in numbness/tingling?
3. how's your shoulder/arm flexibility/ROM?
4. any pain or discomfort prior to the appearance of the numbness?

I numbered the questions for ease of answering:
1. No numbness that I've noticed before, but I have notcied the last 2 weeks of strict overhead pressing on the last 2 sets or so my left arm/shoulder would feel a bit off, not pain but sort of a twinge, nothing from horizontal pressing/pulling.
2. None in my left arm, I did use to get numb feet a few years back when I would do elliptical for 40 minutes at a time at 6 in the morning on an empty stomach (Thanks muscle and fitness! ha!)
3. Seems to be decent, I have been paying pretty close attention to my shoulders since March and reading up on pretty much Eric Cressey writes up about it. I've done a few tests here and there that I've seen in some articles written up and it seems to be ok, do you have any tests you like?
4. None, actually I just noticed it kind of all of a sudden, it didn't seem to get any worse, it seemed to be along my forearm in my pinkie and ring finger. Next time I row, I'll pay attention to the specifics, I kind of shrugged it off at the time as to not being used to rowing 3500m+ at once.

This didn't really belong in the above questions but it does have to do with my shoulder health, In February my wife got me a KB for V-day and I noticed when I did KB snatches my shoulders would start to "click" (no problem from barbell snatch) after that I started to pay a lot of attention to them in order to address that problem with a regimen of shoulder dislocates, YTWL raises, windmills, cuban presses, scap pushups and other exercises/stretches I found through my research, now when I do KB/DB snatches I experience no clicking.

Thanks for the input so far.

Allen Yeh
12-20-2006, 02:15 PM
I rowed today again and found that I was wrong the first time it was my thumb index, middle and ring fingers that were going numbish around 2000m's but by the end the numbness was gone.

Robb Wolf
12-20-2006, 03:42 PM
Allen-
Sounds like Brachial Plexus/Radial nerve impingement. Do some dislocates with a broomstick really emphasizing the pec stretch. See if that helps. Also! Make sure you are sitting tall when rowing. Don't let the posture slump furward as this can exacerbate impingement.

Allen Yeh
12-21-2006, 02:39 AM
Allen-
Don't let the posture slump furward as this can exacerbate impingement.


um...oops!


Thanks Robb, back to the broomstick it is. Is there any reason the numbness would just come and go?

Robb Wolf
12-21-2006, 06:42 AM
You are only impinged during certain movements...currently! Get some headway against that condition however...it can really snowball and get worse.

Allen Yeh
01-03-2007, 10:08 AM
Sidenote to odd shoulder things:

I was looking over PM #3 (one of the few I have) and I realized that a lot of the stretches I just don't do, and the external rotator stretch was a bit painful? Holding my arm behind my back like that to begin with is a bit uncomfortable and as soon as I begin to exert pressure with my other hand I feel it in the rear of my shoulder, kind of "inside." I'm sure it is linked with the above rowing problems?

There goes the opinion that I had a few weeks ago that my shoulders were doing a lot better!

Elliot Royce
01-03-2007, 01:09 PM
Allen:

To respond to your original question, there is no reason for rowing to create an injury. I rowed 3-5 days per week in college without ever feeling pain (apart from the pain that comes from wanting to collapse and throw up). If you look at the Concept II site, you'll got hundreds of older people rowing gazillions of meters.

It's possible that your form needs to be improved. Perhaps you could stop by a local rowing club and ask them to watch you for 5 minutes to see how your form is. I found myself slumping forward when rowing (I haven't rowed much for 25 years) and had to correct myself. A slump can certainly screw with your neck muscles. Also remember that the finish is to contract your shoulder blades and pull the oar nearly into your chest. This will help prevent the shoulders from rounding.