“Push” weightlifting to balance the rowing “pull” on your arms

General discussions about getting and staying fit that don't relate directly to your indoor rower
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Ombrax
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“Push” weightlifting to balance the rowing “pull” on your arms

Post by Ombrax » June 20th, 2022, 1:54 am

For a long time I’ve included some chest press machine “pushes” to balance the rowing “pull” motion we all do so much of, but I’ve always wondered how to best manage the load vs reps on the CP machine. Obviously I’ll never do as many presses as I do pulls on the erg, but because one does so many rowing strokes, I’ve biased the number of presses toward the high side. So instead of doing my usual 8, 10, 12 or 14 reps that I use for most of my weightlifting, I’m currently at sets of 25 chest presses. That’s at a relatively low weight, and if I did, say, sets of 10, I could increase the weight on the machine.

Lately, as my reps increase, I’ve been wondering if this “high reps and low load” approach is the correct one to use to best “balance” the rowing pulls and at what point I should stop, because it’s just too many. Anyone care to share their thoughts on the matter?

TIA

MartinSH4321
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Re: “Push” weightlifting to balance the rowing “pull” on your arms

Post by MartinSH4321 » June 20th, 2022, 2:23 am

My opinion:
If you do the push work only to prevent muscular imbalances the rep numbers are not that important. As long as the sets are hard (relative close to failure) and you do a couple of them per week (how many depends on different factors, but 5+ is propably enough for most people) you have a training effect. You could also vary the rep ranges, like +-10 one time and then +-20 next time or so.
One thing: If the chest press is your only push exercise I think you should also vary exercises, like incline benchpress, shoulder press, barbell/dumbbell...
1983 Austria 1.86 106Kg
LP: 1:03.4 100m: 13.3 1': 392m 500m: 1:21.4
1k: 3:05 2k: 6:43 5k: 17:53 30': 8237m 30R20: 8088m 10k: 36:39
60': 16087m, HM: 1:19:42

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Re: “Push” weightlifting to balance the rowing “pull” on your arms

Post by Dangerscouse » June 20th, 2022, 4:29 am

I'm with Martin on this one. I'd also be mindful of your shoulders, as they are complex and need to be worked in quite a few planes of motion.
48 HWT; 6' 4"; 1k= 3:09; 2k= 6:36; 5k= 17:19; 6k= 20:47; 10k= 35:46 30mins= 8,488m 60mins= 16,618m HM= 1:16.47; FM= 2:40:41; 50k= 3:16:09; 100k= 7:52:44; 12hrs = 153km

"You reap what you row"

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Re: “Push” weightlifting to balance the rowing “pull” on your arms

Post by Sakly » June 20th, 2022, 5:29 am

Dangerscouse wrote:
June 20th, 2022, 4:29 am
I'm with Martin on this one. I'd also be mindful of your shoulders, as they are complex and need to be worked in quite a few planes of motion.
And this is the same for pulling.
Best case is to perform strength exercises in various push and pull movement planes and have a bit more focus on push.
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Ombrax
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Re: “Push” weightlifting to balance the rowing “pull” on your arms

Post by Ombrax » June 20th, 2022, 5:28 pm

Dangerscouse wrote:
June 20th, 2022, 4:29 am
I'd also be mindful of your shoulders, as they are complex and need to be worked in quite a few planes of motion.
Agreed - I do a few other shoulder-focused lifts with that very thing in mind.

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Re: “Push” weightlifting to balance the rowing “pull” on your arms

Post by mitchel674 » June 22nd, 2022, 10:16 am

I've found that body weight pushups are a great complement for rowing. I do 100 per day.
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Re: “Push” weightlifting to balance the rowing “pull” on your arms

Post by btlifter » June 22nd, 2022, 11:07 am

MartinSH4321 wrote:
June 20th, 2022, 2:23 am
My opinion:
If you do the push work only to prevent muscular imbalances the rep numbers are not that important. As long as the sets are hard (relative close to failure) and you do a couple of them per week (how many depends on different factors, but 5+ is propably enough for most people) you have a training effect. You could also vary the rep ranges, like +-10 one time and then +-20 next time or so.
One thing: If the chest press is your only push exercise I think you should also vary exercises, like incline benchpress, shoulder press, barbell/dumbbell...
You'll be hard pressed to find a bigger advocate of low rep/high intensity lifting than me, if one's aim is to boost performance on the erg.

Having said that, if one's aim is health/wellness/structural balance, Martin's advice above may as well be gospel!
33, 6'4, 116kg
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Re: “Push” weightlifting to balance the rowing “pull” on your arms

Post by sailortodd » June 22nd, 2022, 3:15 pm

What if rowing is the only significant rowing activity I do? What would the detrimental effect of that imbalance be, and at what point would I begin to notice if I was rowing say an average of 4500m/day (avg active days ~10k) for the last month and a half with a combination of long SS, hard and short SS and intervals?

I ask because I have somehow dug up the motivation to put in serious meters, but have yet to find the well of motivation to get me to do other fitness activity. I aspire to at least start a body weight calisthenics routine at some point, but have yet to do so. What will the damage be if I don't?

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Re: “Push” weightlifting to balance the rowing “pull” on your arms

Post by jamesg » June 22nd, 2022, 10:23 pm

I find Kayak complements rowing very well, with the twist in the back and the upper hand pushing at easier leverage. And I see where I'm going.
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MartinSH4321
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Re: “Push” weightlifting to balance the rowing “pull” on your arms

Post by MartinSH4321 » June 23rd, 2022, 12:43 am

sailortodd wrote:
June 22nd, 2022, 3:15 pm
What if rowing is the only significant rowing activity I do? What would the detrimental effect of that imbalance be, and at what point would I begin to notice if I was rowing say an average of 4500m/day (avg active days ~10k) for the last month and a half with a combination of long SS, hard and short SS and intervals?

I ask because I have somehow dug up the motivation to put in serious meters, but have yet to find the well of motivation to get me to do other fitness activity. I aspire to at least start a body weight calisthenics routine at some point, but have yet to do so. What will the damage be if I don't?
Typical problems are shoulder imbalances as you train back and back shoulder, but not chest and front shoulder, which in the long term causes shoulder pain (rotator cuff) and postural deformity. Also, having a much stronger lower back than abs can lead to lower back pain.
And, without training the antagonist muscles of the rowing movement you'll get shortened muscles (stretching propably helps).
Calisthenics with focus on pushing exercises is a good idea, hopefully you'll find your motivation :)
1983 Austria 1.86 106Kg
LP: 1:03.4 100m: 13.3 1': 392m 500m: 1:21.4
1k: 3:05 2k: 6:43 5k: 17:53 30': 8237m 30R20: 8088m 10k: 36:39
60': 16087m, HM: 1:19:42

Dangerscouse
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Re: “Push” weightlifting to balance the rowing “pull” on your arms

Post by Dangerscouse » June 23rd, 2022, 12:47 am

sailortodd wrote:
June 22nd, 2022, 3:15 pm
What if rowing is the only significant rowing activity I do? What would the detrimental effect of that imbalance be, and at what point would I begin to notice if I was rowing say an average of 4500m/day (avg active days ~10k) for the last month and a half with a combination of long SS, hard and short SS and intervals?

I ask because I have somehow dug up the motivation to put in serious meters, but have yet to find the well of motivation to get me to do other fitness activity. I aspire to at least start a body weight calisthenics routine at some point, but have yet to do so. What will the damage be if I don't?
I'd assume that's a tough one to answer, as it will be based on your subjective specifics eg age, ability to grow muscle, genetics etc

I'd also assume it won't be too bad, and will accumulate over s period of time. Even just incorporating planks and press ups will probably be enough to combat the majority of the problems.
48 HWT; 6' 4"; 1k= 3:09; 2k= 6:36; 5k= 17:19; 6k= 20:47; 10k= 35:46 30mins= 8,488m 60mins= 16,618m HM= 1:16.47; FM= 2:40:41; 50k= 3:16:09; 100k= 7:52:44; 12hrs = 153km

"You reap what you row"

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Re: “Push” weightlifting to balance the rowing “pull” on your arms

Post by kini62 » June 24th, 2022, 4:30 pm

sailortodd wrote:
June 22nd, 2022, 3:15 pm
What if rowing is the only significant rowing activity I do? What would the detrimental effect of that imbalance be, and at what point would I begin to notice if I was rowing say an average of 4500m/day (avg active days ~10k) for the last month and a half with a combination of long SS, hard and short SS and intervals?

I ask because I have somehow dug up the motivation to put in serious meters, but have yet to find the well of motivation to get me to do other fitness activity. I aspire to at least start a body weight calisthenics routine at some point, but have yet to do so. What will the damage be if I don't?
Don't know your age or overall fitness levels, but for me at almost 60 and after doing mainly cardio for the last 20 years (sporadic weights) I came to the sudden realization that I was weak. Indoor cycling, erg and ski erg are great. My muscular endurance and overall cardio have been maintained fairly well as I have gotten older as has my overall muscle mass. It's just that rowing is a cardio activity and won't build muscle or increase your strength unless you were really unfit to start with.

I've been consistently doing strength training for that last month and it has already made a large difference in my overall strength.

So IMO the older you get the more the focus should be on strength training. I still do cardio at least 5 days a week but for a less amount of time.
59m, 5'6" 160lbs, rowing and skiing (pseudo) on the Big Island of Hawaii.

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