Row House is rapidly heading towards its tenth anniversary as a brand. The Row House gym, designed around indoor rowing for fitness, has grown from a couple of rowing studios into a franchise with studios across the United States.
Caley Crawford, Head of Training & Experience at Row House, as well as one of the newest Concept2 Master Rowing Instructors, says the concept behind Row House is to give the opportunity for people of all shapes, sizes and abilities to have an efficient, high-energy, full-body workout. Row House also pulls from some of the core values of the sport of rowing and aims to remain authentic to the sport.
“It’s an inclusive group environment and one that builds bodies up instead of breaking them down,” says Crawford. “And,” she continues, “it’s a full-body workout.”
Row House began as a way to provide a fitness solution that the performance-based athlete as well as those just starting out in fitness could take advantage of. The founders saw an untapped market of those who were not working out and, as a low impact sport, indoor rowing worked for those not suited to running or boot camp or more high impact alternatives.
Each Row House studio offers a variety of class types and, as well as using the RowErg, the class incorporates a variety of floor work. The standard classes run for 45 minutes and, depending on the type of class, there can also be dumbbell resistance work, dynamic stretching and core stability exercises.
The studio has 3–4 rows of RowErgs all facing a mirrored front wall. There’s space alongside each erg leaving room to do non-erg exercises. The coach is on a podium in the front row and has a microphone and spotlight.
Setting the workouts apart from other fitness classes, Row House uses a number of tools—music, lighting, technology, swing and the coach—in unique ways.
The beat of the music is incorporated into most of the drills, and the workout is set so you’re rowing to the beat. The RowErg pieces are stroke rate based with everyone rowing in unison and to the beat of the music.
The music is also used to dictate the intensity shifts. “We use the energy of the song to shift the mood and take our crew on a journey throughout the class,” says Crawford.
Then there’s the lighting with six different lighting features. Workouts are done in a dimly lit environment which allows the instructor to shift the energy of the workout and get everyone “in the zone”.
The Performance Monitor (PM5) allows for the collection of reliable data from all the participants, so that individual statistics can be tracked. There’s also a big screen showing the cumulative data of the group including the meters rowed and the average split of the group.
With every class the coach is an active participant. “Our coaches actually physically do about 60-70 percent of the class,” says Crawford. “They are rowing with the crew for a good amount of class. They also spend time walking around the room and coaching.”
Although the class has everyone working together and doing the same exercises, they are doing it at their own level. This means the class can have anyone from a top rower to a fitness beginner working together.
The majority of participants are people who are starting out on their fitness journey as well as some who haven't worked out for a really long time. But with classes designed for inclusivity, fitness levels are irrelevant.
“We've literally had classes where there's an Olympic rower sitting next to someone who's never rowed before,” says Crawford. “And they can still row together and work out in a space together and get the best workout for their body.
“It's pretty amazing, and it's very much thanks to the Concept2 machine.”
Visit Row House for more information.