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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

Gyrotonics: Taking the ‘Ow’ out of ‘Row’ : “Rowers tend to experience aches and pains in their back, shoulders, hips, knees—even the ankles,”

It’s regatta season—that time of year when the men and women of crew go off the ergs (ergometers) and onto the water. Despite this transition, the pain of this grueling sport remains.

 “Rowers tend to experience aches and pains in their back, shoulders, hips, knees—even the ankles,” notes Lisa Roche, owner of Nagare Studio in Haddonfield.

Roche, who earned her High Level Athlete Gyrotonic Certification, worked with a Master Trainer to “really break down the rower’s body and stroke, to be able to customize a workout just for rowers.”

“Most rowers I see, on and off the water, have a disconnect somewhere in the spine—a spot that doesn’t move freely to allow the body to curl through a stroke in its entirety,” she explains. “To compensate for that, the knees open to the sides, or the shoulders lift to make room for the elbows to come back—and that’s where the pain starts.

Roche teaches rowers how to strengthen their pelvis and inner thigh connection to provide stability for their back to move freely. They learn to rotate the shoulders in the joint, utilize their lats and upper back and engage the entire shoulder girdle for strength in each stroke.

“Rowers ask a lot of their bodies and the repetition of the stroke lends to injury,” she Roche adds. “Gyrotonic training brings fluidity and flexibility to each stroke.  It teaches the rower how to smooth out his/her stroke and let the body naturally glide through each movement. Once that happens, adding strength behind each stroke will maximize the power behind each pull.”  

For more information about Gyrotonics or to add sessions to a training regimen this season, call 609-929-4421 or email [email protected]. Also visit

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