There is a common misconception that rowing can lead to a bad back. While it is true that any sport or physical activity can cause discomfort, it is essential to understand the facts before making assumptions. This article will delve into whether rowing can genuinely give you a bad back and provide information on how to prevent and treat any discomfort.

What is rowing?

Rowing is a sport where you use oars to move a boat forward in the water. It requires an incredible amount of physical effort and engages the entire body. Rowing is an excellent form of exercise as it helps build strength, endurance, and improves cardiovascular health.

Does rowing cause back pain?

While rowing can be a very physical activity, it does not necessarily have to cause back pain. Proper technique and training can reduce the risk of developing back pain. However, if you don’t have the right technique, improper posture, or overuse your muscles, you may experience discomfort, especially in the lower back or lumbar region.

Preventing back pain when rowing

One of the most effective ways to prevent back pain when rowing is to maintain proper form. Proper form includes sitting up straight, engaging your core, and keeping your shoulders back. It is also essential to warm up before rowing and to stretch afterward. A strong core can also help alleviate back pain by providing support for your spine.

Rowing machine vs. Outdoor rowing

Many people prefer to use a rowing machine for indoor exercise. While the machine is a great way to keep in shape, it does not provide the same experience as outdoor rowing. Outdoor rowing provides a unique challenge as it involves navigating water currents, wind speeds, and weather conditions. The outdoor environment requires more from your body, leading to a higher risk of back pain if proper technique is not used.

Treating back pain from rowing

If you are experiencing back pain from rowing, it is essential to take a break and allow your body time to rest. Apply heat or cold to the affected area, take over-the-counter pain medication or see a doctor if your pain persists. Stretching, massage, and physical therapy can also help alleviate pain and prevent it from reoccurring.


In conclusion, rowing can cause back pain if proper technique and posture are not used. However, with the right training, form, and warm-up exercises, rowing can be an excellent form of exercise that does not lead to discomfort. Remember to listen to your body and seek medical attention if you experience persistent pain. Happy rowing!