New Rowing Machine and Irritation

I just got a very nice acqua indoor rower three days ago and have used it a bit..

After working out a little after 2 days I noticed that I felt some irritation inside my chest close to the incision. Have had the pacemaker since July 5 of last year.  I have stopped using the machine because I thought that, perhaps, the resistance I had it set to was too heavy, at this stage. I have lowered the resistance but have not used that setting as yet.

I know others are using rowers successfully and I wondered if the irritation is due to the moving of the leads beneath the scar tissue.  I presume that my doctor has inserted leads with a little more lengh for those times when we stretch our arms out.

I am just looking for a little bit of "real world input" before I have my doctor address this.

Thanks in advance.



Probably from your pocket

by crustyg - 2020-03-24 04:39:03

I *suspect* that this is the first time you've been putting your chest pocket (where your PM sits) under any stretching load, so you may well feel some discomfort.

In yoga classes, the cactus pose commonly causes twinges from the pocket as we 'open up our chests'.

Using too high a load on a rower is a very common error.  Even Steve Redgrave says that he never uses higher than 8 on a Concept 2 rower (goes 1 to 10), and almost everyone I see using a rower at the gym (before it closed) bangs the resistance up to 10.  It's a mistake and risks hurting yourself.  Rowing is overwhelmingly a LEG exercise, and the arms and upper body and lower back should be braced for almost all of the pull, from first starting the stroke to nearly the end when the biceps pull the oar/bar towards your lower chest.  The speed comes from the acceleration as your legs straighten in the stroke.  If the beginning of the stroke feels quite easy *at first* then that's good, and you push your body away from the foot end of the machine, accelerating as you do.

For a fit adult man 2min/500m is a good target rate (aiming for 3-5k distance), with a stroke rate of at least 27/min.  You should probably be aiming for something more like 2'20"-2'30"/500m with a similar stroke rate, or building towards it.

Crustyg thanks for your insight

by charlene - 2020-03-25 15:51:15

Just heard back from my doctor's office.

The doctor said that when I return to rowing if the irritation continues I should probably want to try another exercise.  He said that there would be no harm to the pacemaker from the rowing and I presume he would include the leads (or is that an unwarranted presumption?).

I am tempted to try to work for a couple of minutes with the reduced resistance.  Just for openers, I set it to the first setting, just to start from the bottom.

I wonder if, with use, the irritation would disappear.

Has this happened to anyone else, or am I unique?


Thanks again.


Leads should be fine

by crustyg - 2020-03-27 08:20:54

When you think about it, the leads that they have used flex with every heartbeat (esp the ventricular lead), so a bit of arm flexing is fine.  When your rowing technique is good, you might be rowing at 10m per stroke, so even 5km is only 500 pulls.  60bpm is 3600 beats (and lead flexes) per hour!

Over time the number of twinges from the PM pocket should reduce.  I used to get a lot of niggles during yoga but they have mostly gone now.

Thank You, Crustyg for your insight

by charlene - 2020-03-27 11:24:08

I certainly appreciate and am grateful for your insight regarding the twinges from the PM pocket.

I really love rowing and this particular unit is a great deal better than my first rower years ago.

I have had my rowing technique reviewed by the fitness trainer at our municipal gym we regularly frequent and she said I looked "like a pro".  

Thank you, once again.

You're probably a better rower than I am then!

by crustyg - 2020-04-01 12:20:41

Best wishes.

You know you're wired when...

You make store alarms beep.

Member Quotes

I am an avid scuba diver.