Rowing Machine Recommendations

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Postby nickel » Mon Mar 24, 2008 12:39 pm

Brad, are you active in the Concept2 online community? For example, are you on a team?

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Postby brad » Mon Mar 24, 2008 1:03 pm

Yep, I'm on the Eh! Team. I highly recommend joining an online rowing team, it helps keep you motivated. Originally the Eh! Team's goal was to virtually row around the world, but we've done that a few times already now. Now we're just trying to keep our standing (around 7th place, although those rankings are kind of silly as if you have a large team you're going to rack up more meters just by virtue of the size of the team). I'm not normally a competitive person, but even within my virtual team I tend to compete: I see the person above me in the ranking and try to catch up to them. It definitely helps keep me motivated on days when I don't feel like rowing (which is more often than I'd like to admit...rowing is hard work and doesn't get much easier no matter how long you've been doing it)!

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Postby ian » Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:51 am

Sorry to dig this thread up from the past.

I've just been told I "may" have some ruptured disks in my back. I have a bad back for some time and I atribute it to sitting at a computer all day. I'm looking for a great back workout to try and save my back from the point of no return.

Rowing seems like the best idea.

Has anyone used this maching as therapy to correct a bad back?

I'm thinking I will probably try out one at a gym b/f making an investment.

Thanks, Ian

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Postby xtina » Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:54 am

ian wrote:Sorry to dig this thread up from the past.

I've just been told I "may" have some ruptured disks in my back. I have a bad back for some time and I atribute it to sitting at a computer all day. I'm looking for a great back workout to try and save my back from the point of no return.

Rowing seems like the best idea.

Has anyone used this maching as therapy to correct a bad back?

I'm thinking I will probably try out one at a gym b/f making an investment.

Thanks, Ian


What does your doctor say? I would guess that doing back strengthening exercises would be beneficial but I am not sure rowing is the right way to go.

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Postby ian » Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:12 am

xtina wrote:
ian wrote:Sorry to dig this thread up from the past.

I've just been told I "may" have some ruptured disks in my back. I have a bad back for some time and I atribute it to sitting at a computer all day. I'm looking for a great back workout to try and save my back from the point of no return.

Rowing seems like the best idea.

Has anyone used this maching as therapy to correct a bad back?

I'm thinking I will probably try out one at a gym b/f making an investment.

Thanks, Ian


What does your doctor say? I would guess that doing back strengthening exercises would be beneficial but I am not sure rowing is the right way to go.


My doctor says lose 15 lbs. He offered an MRI and a talk with a surgeon if I "wanted", but he knows I am opposed to surgury. He's sending me to physical therapy.

My masseuse says my thoracic muscles are weak.

I think the discs are compressed and physical activity will help more than anything.

There's a gym a block away from where I work (and I can go for free). I plan to try out their rowing department.

I'm 35 with two young daughters and am not ready to resign myself to a life of sitting down.

Cheers, Ian

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Postby brad » Fri Aug 07, 2009 11:12 am

ian wrote:My masseuse says my thoracic muscles are weak.

I think the discs are compressed and physical activity will help more than anything.

There's a gym a block away from where I work (and I can go for free). I plan to try out their rowing department.

I'm 35 with two young daughters and am not ready to resign myself to a life of sitting down.


Note that rowing still involves sitting down :wink:

In fact that's my main complaint about it: my chosen exercises are bicycling and rowing, which are both done sitting down, and my work involves sitting at a computer (like yours does), plus I also spend a lot of time playing music, also sitting down. I do like to walk; unfortunately weak knees run in my family so running isn't a good option for me.

Strengthening your thoracic muscles is probably a good idea, and losing weight will help your back (and everything else), but I am not sure rowing is the best way to do either of those things. I would definitely check with your doctor and/or a physical therapist just to make sure rowing won't make things worse. If you use good form there shouldn't be much strain on your back: you push off strongly with your legs and then use your arms more than your back to pull the last part of the stroke, but if you don't do that correctly you can definitely get back strain. You should also be sure to do some good hamstring stretches after your workouts, and at other times during the day as well -- most of us desk jockeys have very tight hamstrings from sitting all day, and that can lead to back problems.

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Postby xtina » Fri Aug 07, 2009 11:47 am

So you asked your doctor if you could take up rowing, and your doctor said yes? Other than just telling you to lose weight, did the doc give any guidance re. how to do that without hurting yourself?

If I were you, Ian, I would probably start with taking vigorous walks and swimming. I am not a rower but whenever I see people at the gym rowing, it looks hard on the back. It's very possible that they are not doing it correctly and just wailing away regardless.

I recommend talking to a personal trainer or physical therapist who can recommend strengthening exercises that will be low impact on your discs. Another benefit of consulting with a trainer or therapist is that they can make sure you are using the proper form and exertion level to minimize chance of injury.

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Postby ian » Fri Aug 07, 2009 1:19 pm

That's good advice. Thanks to both of you.

I was able to get my physical therapist appointment moved to Monday. I'll get the go-ahead then.

I'm not crippled or anything. I can lift and do yardwork, I just have pain and stiffness all the time.

I DO need to make sure I have good form on the machine. Hopefully, I can get some instruction. I'll ask the PT, check out the web, and ping a gym employee.

Thanks again, Ian

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Re: Rowing Machine Recommendations

Postby Mays Financial » Sat May 22, 2010 12:01 pm

If you're serious about rowing the Concept2 is the best you're going to get. I had the Model E for a few years (was new around $1200) and loved it. I just sold it recently since I primarily swim and run now, but rowing is still a solid exercise.

You can do your own research, but if you're familiar with gyms you'll notice that most use the Concept 2, even professional rowers use it in the off season. I've tried other rowers, from cheaper ones to the fancy wooden Swedish ones and prefer Concept 2 to all of them. The newer ones are even more compact the way they can fold up and be stored.

Additionally, depending on what model you get they come with a heart rate monitor and an Ethernet plug in that allows you to race others over the internet. A CAC card also came with mine that let me log my hours and upload them online for competitions and other stuff. There is a large community on the Concept 2 site. The above is in reference to the Model E, I'm not sure what the lower models come with. Hope this helps.
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