Stretches are essential for rowers. These movements can help improve body strength and flexibility as well as prevent injuries. Rowers need to maintain proper body postures and rhythmic movements of joints and muscles when they are rowing. To be able to do this without much strain or injury, stretching exercises should be performed on a regular basis.
Importance of Stretches
Stretches are often considered trivial forms of exercises, but a little stretching can go a long way toward improving overall performance. Many muscles in the body, particularly in the legs and arms, are used while rowing. These include deltoid, triceps, biceps, abdominal, pectoral, par spinals, trapeziums and also lower oblique.
There are dozens of stretching exercises that can be performed to train the appropriate muscles. A balanced set of exercises has to be chosen, so that all of the muscles that are used during rowing will be trained proportionately. Here are four essential stretching exercises for rowers: two for the torso and two for the lower body.
1. Ankle and Quadriceps Stretch
The ankle and quadriceps stretch affects the muscles of the thigh and the ankle. To perform this stretch, lie down sideways with the upper leg folded backwards at the knee. The head should be rested on one hand, and the other hand should be used to pull the upper leg backwards and up from the ankle. The exercise should be repeated to stretch the other leg.
2. Standing High-Leg Bent Knee Hamstring Stretch
This exercise is useful for stretching the muscles of the leg and knees. To begin, raise one foot onto a table while standing with the knees bent. Then move the chest towards the bent knee. Do the same for the other foot.
3. Arm-up Rotator Stretch
The arm-up rotator stretch is aimed at improving flexibility of biceps and wrist muscles. To perform this, stand straight and stretch your right arm out until it is parallel to the ground. Bend the elbow at a right angle, so that the forearm is pointing upward. Then, place the end of a stick into the right hand. The stick should be behind the biceps and pointing to the ground. With the left hand, pull the the stick forward from below the right arm. Switch from the right hand to the left hand and repeat the exercise. This exercise is good for the muscles and ligaments in the arms and the wrist.
4. Reaching-Up Shoulder Stretch
The reaching–up shoulder stretch is another exercise that can help improve the muscles in your arms and wrist. You can do this by standing straight and placing one hand behind your back. Make sure that your finger tips are pointing upwards, with only the little and the ring finger touching the back. Then, try to reach your shoulder blades with the hand. Repeat the same process with the other hand.