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Concept 2 Rowing machine: Seat binds or appears to get snagged by something at start of the recovery motion

Question: Concept 2 Rowing machine: Seat binds or appears to get snagged by something at start of the recovery motion

I ruptured my right anterior tibialis tendon while working out on a rowing machine (Concept 2) at my sports club. It happened after a recovery stroke when I attempted to move my body forward in preparation for the next pull. The seat would not move as I made the motion to move forward. Since the seat did not move, I had all this energy pushing forward on my legs, down to the ankle/foot area, but no movement was possible, thus the traumatic event.

This was not the first time the seat would not move on the concept 2 rowing machine as I attempted the recovery phase. Over the past 18 months, I had experienced this on at least 3 separate occasions, with no indication of pain or injury, At first I thought that the loose shorts I usually wore on workouts was the culprit, or that my untucked T-shirt somehow got snagged at the end of the bar the seat rides on. I started using shorts that were not as loose and noticed that the seat did not bind when I wore a different brand of shorts. On the day of the injury I was not planning to work out on the machine so I wore my customary loose fitting ones/ t-shirt untucked. After watching many videos of people working out on this machine wearing loose shorts down to the knees like mine and wearing shirts not tucked in I am not fully convinced that those would cause the seat to bind on the recovery.

Has anyone out there had a similar experience with a binding seat on a concept 2 rowing machine? Even without an injury? I want to get to the bottom of this before I return to this machine. Neither the concept 2 folks or my athletic club have ever received reports of the seat binding. or getting snagged by clothing. Where else should I post this?


Loose clothing especially an untucked T shirt will definitely cause the seat to bind. I would be very confident that this is your culprit.


As a rowing coach (ARA Silver Award level) I have had considerable experience of coaching people on Concept 2 rowing ergometers. Some of them have worn loose clothing with no problems. First check that the seat on the machine you are using runs smoothly when you are pressing straight down on it.

I have observed that non-rowers using these machines tend to come forward seat first. This will tend to tip the seat backwards, which may cause a jam. We teach people to use the ergometers in an action that imitates actual rowing. The correct technique is as follows:
1. with straight legs (subject to slight flexing of the knees if you have tight hamstrings – if so, get stretching!) push the hands way smoothly;
2. swing body over following the hands until you feel your weight on the balls of your feet;
3. only then, come up the slide in one smooth movement – no rush;
4. holding the back firm (or you risk an injury) immediately push off with the legs;
5. open the back, which is slower due to its mechanics and preponderance of slow twitch muscles, throughout the stroke;
6. as the legs straighten and lose mechanical advantage, they will slow and at this stage draw elbows past the body to finish the stroke;
7. initially keeping straight legs, repeat.

It is as well to start the session practising this action from scratch. That is
1. start using shoulders and arms only, then;
2. bring in the body swing, keeping the legs straight;
3. when you have sensed that your weight is coming consistently onto the balls of the feet, start sliding progressively further forward with each stroke.

If there is no problem with your machine, this should help avoid the problem and perhaps make for a more productive workout, even if you never row! I hope this helps.

Robert Bright.