In today’s episode of the PT on ICE Daily Show, Fitness Athlete division leader Alan Fredendall discusses how to adapt the @concept2inc rower for patients & athletes who cannot use both legs, both arms, or seated athletes.
Take a listen to the episode or read the episode transcription below.
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Alright, good morning everybody. Welcome to the PT on ICE Daily Show. Happy Friday morning. I hope your morning is off to a great start. My name is Alan. I’m happy to be your host today. Currently I have the pleasure of serving as our Chief Operating Officer here at Ice and a faculty member in our Fitness Athlete Division. It is Fitness Athlete Friday. We talk all things CrossFit, Powerlifting, Olympic Weightlifting, Endurance Sports, Triathlons, Marathon Runners, Cyclists, figure skating, all that wonderful stuff. If you are working with a person who is recreationally active in the gym, on the road, whatever, Fitness Athlete Friday is for you. Today, we’re going to build upon an episode from three weeks ago, introducing you all to the Concept2 Rowing Machine. We’re going to build and show you how to adapt this machine for a lot of different folks who might show up in the gym or in the clinic, post-op, adaptive athletes, all that sort of thing. Before we get started, just a heads up about courses coming your way from the fitness athlete division. Your next chance to catch us online for our level one course, online course, eight weeks, entry level course previously called Essential Foundations will be January 29th. So our Clinical Management Fitness Athlete Certification, Level 1 online, prerequisite for Level 2 online, that class begins February 5th. And then our live seminar is its own standalone event. Those are all over the country this coming year, so check out PTENICE.com and look for Fitness Athlete Live for courses coming near you. And then check out our two online courses beginning in January and February. Just a reminder, all of our courses currently priced at $6.50 will jump to $6.95 on January 1st. And really, we don’t want to pressure you, but most of our quarter one courses, live and online, are selling out. Our pelvic level one online course just sold out yesterday, about a month in advance. So we’re seeing about a three to six month sell out window currently. So if you had an eye on a course, we’d recommend grabbing it sooner rather than later, especially if you can take advantage of saving some money on that price increase. So that’s courses coming your way from the fitness athlete division.
So before we get started, I’m going to show a lot of stuff today. So if you are listening on the podcast, and you are a visual person, or you’re not very familiar with the rower, I would recommend you stop the podcast, you jump over to our YouTube channel, and continue watching this episode here on YouTube so you can actually see what I am doing. So I’m going to reference two previous episodes as we talk about today’s topic. So we’re going to get into some advanced mechanics of the rower, how to adapt the rower with different equipment. Go back three weeks, episode 1606, where we talked about the very basics of the Concept 2 rower, how rowing works mechanically, how to put yourself in the best mechanics to row, how the rower itself too works as far as what are the different pieces of equipment, how to clean them to make this machine last you, 10, 15, 20 years, and then also how to use very basic things on the rower like drag factor to understand where you should place your damper on the flywheel, again, to optimize the very basics of rowing. I want you to go back two weeks to Guillermo’s episode, episode 1611, to learn a little bit about how intervals, he specifically talked about research on assault bikes, but how intervals on earth machines in a very small time window, two to three times a week, for eight to 20 minutes of work can have a significant increase on VO2max. So never forget, when we’re working with patients, working with athletes, especially those folks already active, at the very least, we can help them maintain their current level of fitness, being intelligent with how we use machines, how we adapt the machines, and that’s the point of today’s episode, of how to adapt these machines. So folks coming in, they can only use one arm, they can only use one leg, they’re pregnant, they’re postpartum, whatever, how can they get on this machine and at least maintain their fitness as we work through their rehab.
So I want to talk about how to set up the rower to row with just one leg. I want to set up the rower and show you how to row with just one arm. And then I want to show you what many people don’t know is that the rower actually breaks down in half. Yes, to make it easy to store, but also to get rid of the rail so that seated athletes in a wheelchair can roll up to the rower and row on a Concept2 rower. So the first thing I want to show is very simple, one-legged rowing. So what you’re going to want is one of these little things. If you’ve ever changed your own oil on your car, you know what these are. These are little caddies that roll underneath your car. So they have wheels, six axis, they move in any direction, and they’re mainly designed to hold tools and stuff if you’re working underneath in your car. So you can get these at an auto parts store for 10 or 20 bucks. You just need one of them and they’ll last forever. Alternatively, you can also use a skateboard or something like that. But what we want is we want something that we can place someone’s foot inside of that moves, ideally moves what we call six axis, right? Forward, backwards, side to side, and then each diagonal, right? It can potentially move 360 degrees so that as a person rows, their foot can move alongside the rower. So let’s set that up. So for example, let’s say I can’t use my left leg, maybe my left leg is locked in a knee brace, I’m locked in full extension, maybe after ACL reconstruction or something, I can still get on the rower and row with one leg. So I’m going to get on my rower, I’m going to strap in, grab the handle, Until my wife was on the rower last, she cinched the straps all the way down. And now, instead of putting two feet in, because I can’t bend this knee, right, it’s locked in extension, I’m going to kick it out to the side of the rower, and I’m just going to let it rest in this whale caddy. Now, I can still more or less perform all of my normal rowing mechanics. I can still drive with my right leg, I can still lean back, and I can still pull with my upper body. So this is fantastic, folks maybe working with an amputation, folks locked in a brace, maybe folks that just can’t tolerate that loaded knee bend, knee extension with that leg for whatever reason, we can have them still row using something like an oil caddy or a skateboard. So that’s one leg rowing.
Now, one arm rowing is totally possible. You’re going to want a device like this. This essentially just looks like a hook. You can get this from Adaptive Training Academy. So if you don’t know Adaptive Training Academy, we highly recommend them. They have a wonderful course on basically adapting all things fitness for adaptive athletes. So it’s a course that has its origins with CrossFit, but now has expanded into the rehab community as well. How rehab providers and fitness professionals can work with adaptive athletes to get them moving, keep them moving. They have a wonderful store full of all sorts of really, really, really cool things to help you work with adaptive athletes. And this is one of the tools they sell. So these hooks are going to latch on to the handle of the rower, and they’re going to allow me to row with one hand. If you’ll notice on the rower handle, in the middle, it has places technically to row with one hand, but they’re not very comfortable. you need to essentially weave your fingers through and then you have the metal chain kind of bashing against your knuckles the whole time you’re rowing with one arm. It’s also very wide, so you’ll sometimes see people row with a neutral grip and that’s just not very mechanically advantageous. This is designed to improve that. To bring the handle in so that I can grab it with one hand, I can technically even hook grip this to really get the most out of my grip on my right arm or left arm and row to my chest and maintain my normal rowing mechanics. This is also fantastic for pregnant women who maybe don’t tolerate the flexion on the rower anymore because of their stomach or the extension because of the stress it places when they lean back. What’s great about these is you can build them on each other and you can essentially reduce the range of motion needed to reach towards that handle. So this can even be great for kids to get them on a rower at a younger age or maybe they literally don’t have arms long enough to reach the handle, we can bring the handle to them. So I’ll show you what that looks like with one arm rowing. So sitting in the rower, taking the hooks, latching it onto the handle, and now it’s reduced the range of motion by about six inches towards me. And now with one arm or the other, I can pull and I can maintain all of the same mechanics of rowing. with one arm. I’m still able to drive with my legs, lean back, and pull the handle to my chest. Again, if needed, I can put another one of these on here and continuously bring that handle closer to me. So this hook is available again from the Adaptive Training Academy store if you want to pick that up for your rowing.
DISASSEMBLING THE ROWER FOR SEATED ATHLETES/PATIENTS
The final piece is breaking the rower in half. Again, a lot of folks don’t know that the rower actually disassembles into two pieces. That’s to make it easy to store. It’s totally possible to break this rower in half, and if you have a larger car, an SUV, certainly a truck, you could take the rower with you, maybe if you’re a home health clinician, and bring it into people’s living rooms. it is made to break in half and all things considered once it’s broken into half it’s not very cumbersome and it’s not very heavy. So let’s talk about how to do that and then adapt that for the seated athlete. So right here at the base of the foot plates you’re going to see a black piece and you’re going to see a little handle to lift up. If I lift this handle up you’ll see that the rail of the rower is just sitting on metal rod that’s connected to the flywheel and the computer portion of the rower. So if I lift this up, I can now disassemble the rower into two pieces. So now the rails here, this weighs almost nothing. This weighs a couple of pounds. Again, this would be very easy to throw in the back of an SUV or a truck. The heavier part, of course, is going to have the damper and the flywheel, and all of the computer parts, but now I have the front part of the rower. Now I can have somebody in a wheelchair roll up to this. We can play with different variables. In the gym, we like to lift it up a little bit, and we like to put sandbags or plates to anchor it down, and we like to sit it on some sandbags or plates. So depending on the type of wheelchair that your patient or athlete has, you may need to bring the rower up a little bit so they can roll up, get into a good position and row. And then definitely, because it’s no longer as heavy as it once was, you’re going to want to make sure you weigh it down so that as they begin to pull the handle, this thing doesn’t move around. But with a little bit of ingenuity, this is something you could even bring into someone’s home, maybe wheelchair bound, where they’re able to row, maybe do some intervals on the rower. So make sure you understand that the rower breaks down. This also makes it really easy to store rogue fitness. So you can see one over here in the corner, my bench is hanging on it. They make hangers that can be mounted to a wall that can hang either benches or it’s designed to hang the front part of your rower off of. If you’re thinking you’re in the clinic and you don’t have room on the ground for a rower, that’s okay, you don’t need it. You can break the rower in half at the end of the day and you can hang it on the wall. So make sure you understand that the rower breaks in half. That’s made for storage, for travel, but also really important to make sure that we can get seated athletes using a rowing machine. So rowing, this is a very versatile piece of equipment. Make sure you understand how to use it. Make sure you understand that you know how to adapt it for different patients and athletes that present to you in the clinic in the gym and get more people rowing, get more people working on or maintaining their current level of fitness as you help them through the rehab process. I hope this was helpful. I hope you have a fantastic weekend. Our very last live course of the year is this weekend. It’s happening right now in Salt Lake City. It’s a dry needling course with Ellis and Melrose. So if you’re there, I hope you have a fantastic time. Other than that, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, a very happy new year. Have a great Friday. Have a great weekend. Bye everybody.
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