Level of Difficulty: When you are rowing correctly, yeah it’s really hard!

Areas Worked:  Legs (Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings) – Back, Shoulders, Forearms and Abdominals

How to Train: Rowing relies on full body strength as well as flexibility and coordination. I would recommend participating in a regular Hatha or Vinyasa yoga class which would help improve all of the above. Being more flexible while rowing will not only feel better, but will help to protect the back and legs from injuries.

Full body circuit training – Design 8-12 stations using medicine balls, dumbbells, cables, bands, etc. which will work the major muscles in the body. Designate a time per station, maybe 1-2 minutes each with a 15-30 second rest in between. Repeat 3 rounds total.

Go for a run! Increase your cardiovascular fitness which will be tested during a rowing session!


Maggie’s Review

First Impression: My initial thoughts were that 45 minutes of anything cardio related is rough, but a cardio activity that incorporates this much arms is going to be exhausting. I’ve tried the rowing machine once at the gym but I never knew if I was using it right. This class re-affirmed my intuition that I was NOT using it correctly. Rowing by yourself is one thing, but rowing in a rowing class with instruction is another.

What I liked the Most: It was a great alternative to a typical cardio workout.

What I liked the Least: It was hard to get used to being “strapped in” to the machine. My hands cramped a little.

That kicked my ass: I won’t feel it tomorrow, but probably the day after.

Will I ever do it again? Yes I will definitely use it as a supplemental workout.

Overall I think: Great high intensity/low impact exercise. Typically whenever I have thought of rowing, I have thought about it as being a workout that targeted the arms. In practice, this is not the case. It is a whole body workout that requires an extensive amount of leg work, or as our instructor called it “standing up in the boat”. You always push hard with your legs first while engaging your core muscles and then use your arms. If you use just your arms you will fatigue out too quickly. I have always wondered how rowing indoors compares to rowing on the water… these are basics that I am glad I learned on a machine and not in the middle of a lake. Rowing will tone you like no other. Of course, that many repetitions of anything on a regular basis is almost guaranteed to get you toned and in shape. Essentially, it’s the leg and butt workout that was never on your radar but totally should be. Instead of the step mill or the elliptical, jump on the rowing machine. Slow and steady wins the race!


Sara’s Review

First Impression: I’ve done a lot of rowing as part of Crossfit, but haven’t ever taken an actual class on it so was happy to get the opportunity.  Turns out, my technique needed some help and Sarah did a great job of fixing my form.

What I Most Liked: Rowing seems like it is a lot of arms and back – but it turns out rowing is more about your legs than your back or arms…it’s all in the legs!  I’ve been told outdoor rowing and rowing on a machine are totally different and I’d like to try outdoor rowing at some point – but, I like that you can monitor how you are doing on a rowing machine.  You can watch how many strokes per minute (insert inappropriate joke here), how long it would take you to go 500 meters, etc.

What I Least Liked: After an hour – give or take 10 minutes because we may have gotten lost on the way, gone to the wrong address, and walked in after class already started – your legs are exhausted!

It was… Tiring.  I suggest everyone try it at least once to see if they like it and it’s a nice substitute for running if you aren’t a runner like I’m not a runner.

That kicked my ass: I won’t feel it tomorrow, but probably the day after…

Will I ever do it again? Probably – unless something better comes along.

Overall I think:  I could take it or leave it


Kory’s Review

First Impression: I have rowed recreationally in a gym before and I thought I was doing it right all this time. Our Instructor, Sara, however, told me that I really wasn’t doing anything right at all. Being a rower at Ohio State, I thought I might listen to her and it made the experience a lot more difficult. It’s amazing the power and coordination that it takes to row, and compared to most other forms of cardiovascular training, the amount of muscle mass that you use to move through a large range of motion.

For years, I had always used my back and arms as my primary movers in rowing, while really just pulling has hard as I could. During this class, I learned that the legs are a huge, and totally underestimated contributor to most rowing workouts. It’s not about how fast you go. The motion is explosive, yet smooth with little rest. You have to figure out how to make your limbs move and work together with efficiency. Learning to row correctly, elevated my heart rate and my body began to fatigue. It was great to know that eventually I got the hang of it, but I was huffing and puffing in the end as we were instructed to meet certain goals for time. It’s a good workout, for sure.

Overall I think: I liked the class, but I can see myself getting bored. Maybe if I was outdoors, rowing on water, I would enjoy it more, but an hour inside is a little long for me. I will, however, incorporate rowing into my workouts because I do think it is a tremendous form of exercise and a good compliment to any strength and cardiovascular workout.