A Closer Look at Rowing…

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For as long as I can remember, the rowing machine has been my most favorite cardio equipment. I’ve never loved the treadmill, elliptical or stationary bike.  Since high-intensity interval training (H.I.I.T) became more popular and burpees (chest to floor explosive push-ups) were everywhere, I barely even use cardio equipment.  However, I decided to take advantage of the latest cardio boutique craze in NYC and check out CityRow. The idea of interval rowing combined with strength was right up my alley and in just 50 minutes I was able to burn close to 450 calories. (Note: the pic above also includes a picture of the water fountain – loving the new technology at these studios!)

Here’s why rowing / H.I.I.T is so great for you:

  1. Total body cardio – The instructor, Hollis Lotharius, from today’ class I took was really on top of my form. I’m so thankful for that because while I’ve been doing the rowing machine on my own, today’s class helped me perfect my form.  Using the balls of your feet, you push off in 1 count and then bring your extended arms back with a slight recline using your core — then you come up to sit, release your extended arms forward, and then bend your knees to move back to the starting position. As you get better, it becomes a flow and the key focus is that your oar is on one level. You’ll feel your calves, quads, glutes, core, rhomboids, and lats all working.
  2. Efficient calorie burn – It’s important to understand the numbers on a rowing machine. Taking a class is a great way to familiarize yourself with where you should be if you really want to challenge yourself.  Upon following these numbers, you’ll see that in just 1 minute you’ll burn an average of 5-10 calories and don’t forget EPOC (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) which is what you’ll burn over the course of 24-48h.
  3. Interval training – Rowing and classes at CityRow help our bodies interval train — we’re able to really work at a variety of intensities and levels so that our body builds endurance over time.  By using the muscles involved in a rowing workout, you’re also building the “off-the-rower” adaptability for day-to-day activities. Interval training is a great way to push yourself, recover and push yourself again — should you ever decide to do a 10k or longer run, an obstacle course race, or triathlon, workouts such as Rowing are a good way to get yourself in shape (according to your goals).
  4.  Challenge yourself – A class at CityRow or any rowing class is probably out of the norm for you – a deviation from your normal workout routine.  It not only will challenge your mind but also challenge your body.  Workouts that aren’t part of your usual routine will work muscle fibers in ways you previously haven’t so it’s a good way to work towards building lean muscle and shedding fat. In addition, over time you’ll increase your mobility and flexibility.

The SkiErg is another machine that’s similar to rowing as it mimics the motion of cross-country skiing.   You’ll use the lats, triceps, pecs, and abdominals to pull the handles down; and this movement is unlike any other type of cardio.  You’ll not only increase your heart rate quickly, but because it engages more muscles than other forms of cardio, you will burn more calories.   The SkiErg, with proper form, hits the lats, triceps, abdominals, pecs, biceps, quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and lower back. Many strength/high-intensity workouts now utilize the SkiErg for a cardio segment – check out Exceed, As One and Fhitting Room in New York City.

So don’t be afraid to change it up a bit and move out of your comfort zone of exercise threshold!

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