How to Keep Your Rowing Machine Pelvic Floor Friendly

Are you eager to row but not quite sure how safe it is for your pelvic floor?

Rowing machine is a highly effective strength and fitness exercise for women.

Using the correct technique can help you reduce the load on your pelvic floor with rowing machine exercise.

Video duration: 3.5 mins
Suitability: general

Please scroll down below this rowing machine exercise video for more information, guidelines and pelvic floor safe exercise modifications

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Benefits of Rowing Machine Exercise for Women

Rowing machine exercises can benefit women by:

  • Strengthening the back (postural), core and leg muscles
  • Improving muscular endurance of major muscle groups
  • Improving cardiovascular fitness
  • Energy burning for weight management exercise
  • Low impact exercise reduces lower limb joint loading

Is Rowing Machine Pelvic Floor Friendly?

Rowing machine exercise is low impact and therefore more suitable than high impact exercise for women with or at risk of pelvic floor dysfunction.

Some women who are at risk of pelvic floor problems can benefits from some simple technique modifications of rowing machine exercise to reduce potential loading on their pelvic floor.

1. Correct Your Rowing Machine Technique

a. Correct Posture

  • Lengthen your spine, lift your chest forwards and relax your shoulders
  • Maintain the inward curve in your lower back

Good posture allows your deep core abdominal and pelvic floor muscles to stay active throughout this exercise.

b. Drive Technique (slide back)

The drive is when you push through your legs to move the carriage or seat backwards.

  • Keep your chest raised during the drive action
  • Keep your resistance manageable during the drive when pushing back through your legs; avoid pushing back forcefully by driving hard through your legs

c. Return Action

  • Keep your chest raised rather than bending forwards form your hips during the return to minimise pressure on your pelvic floor
  • Draw the handles back towards your navel to engage your middle back muscles rather than using your neck and shoulders muscles increasing your risk of neck strain
  • Return to a position where your hips are at approximately right angles before repeating the next drive backwards; avoid starting the drive from a deep knee bent position

2. Managing Your Resistance

a. Fixed Resistance Rowing Machines e.g. magnetic

Set the resistance to a manageable level that avoids strain with the effort of the drive action.

b.Variable Resistance Rowing Machines e.g. water

Keep the speed of the drive slow to moderate since fast speed increases the resistance needed when driving back through your legs.

3. Breathe Out During Effort

Breathe out with the effort of the drive back to help you minimise the load on your pelvic floor.

Key Points for Rowing Machine Exercise

Rowing machine exercise can be used in some pelvic floor safe exercise programs; some women will benefit from modifying traditional rowing machine technique to reduce the potential load on their pelvic floor.

The main points for pelvic floor safe rowing machine exercises:

  1. Maintain the correct seated posture throughout
  2. Keep resistance manageable during the drive
  3. Breathe out during the effort of the drive
  4. Keep upright posture during the return
  5. Choose a variety of low impact fitness exercises to include in your pelvic floor safe exercise program.

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