How We Deal with Pesty (ahem) Erg Butt

Originally published on

Hey there!

We had a totally different topic planned out for this week’s email, and then the photo above popped up on our Facebook page and people started talking about how their butts get sore when they row. Or worse they get sores ON their butts.

UCanRow2 to the rescue!

We thought it would be good to address this topic over here, particularly since the Concept2 Holiday Challenge starts next Thursday (It’s an individual challenge but we’ve got a group doing it in our RowStrong Facebook group if you’d like company.).

Chafing. Erg butt. Rower’s butt. Or just garden-variety sore-from-rowing butt. 

We’re all friends here, so let’s get real for a minute: It’s not always pretty to mix sweat and sitting. To put it mildly. If you’re a rower, you’ve had to deal with this at some point. If you’re a distance rower, you deal with it all the time. 

So in the interests of public service, and because we want to see everyone’s butt on an erg (or BikeErg) seat as often as possible, here are our best tips to keep on row-ling:

Our Top Tips to manage Rower’s Butt

1. Wear flat-seamed shorts. Or a least ones with as little seam as possible. Just the pressure of that little bit of raised fabric rubbing on your skin stroke after stroke can be pretty irritating. That’s why we’re big fans of JL Racing’s products. Their shorts come with an extra layer of fabric for your tush.
It helps!

2. #Literallypickyourbuttcheeksup is Master Instructor Cassi Niemann’s favorite hashtag and refrain to help people get in a more effective position to row. Getting balanced properly on your sitz bone also helps keep the pressure off the areas that are more apt to develop sores. Check out her YouTube video below to help you get in position.

3. Take Regular Breaks. If you’re rowing for a long time, getting off the machine periodically, stretching and just moving in a different pattern will help. Be sure you do some hamstring and glute stretches to keep the blood flowing.

4. Get out of your sweaty trow ASAP. It may be tempting to hang out and sip on a delicious protein smoothie (ahem – or maybe something with a bit more kick to it) after you row, but we highly recommend getting dry clothes on as soon as you can. Even if you have to wait to shower, just getting the wet fabric off your skin will help keep your booty boo-tiful.

5. On the subject of seat pads. There are so many different brands and styles to choose from. Some people swear by thinner ones, others love gel-filled thicker pads or the padded covers that fit over the actual seat. Still other people swear by foam filling or quarter-sized bubble wrap, or nothing. It’s TOTALLY personal preference. Our motto: if it works, that works for you!

6. If disaster strikes. All parents of babies know that the sooner you get some sort of cream on a diaper rash the faster it heals, especially if you can get it on early. The same thing is true here. We love to use Bag Balm or Chamois Butt’r, but even regular Vaseline or a good diaper cream can work. Anything to create a barrier between your skin and the moisture.

7. Don’t forget to stretch! if your glute and hamstring muscles are talking to you after you row that’s a good thing – it means you used them properly! But we do still want you to give them a good stretch to prevent soreness. Concept2 has a good starting point resource.

Do you have a favorite butt sore remedy or preventative? We’d love to know, leave a comment below.

Sore today. Strong tomorrow.
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