Sweat It Out: Row House

From Row House’s website

It’s been a while since I’ve frequented a rowing class, though not for lack of wanting to! I last hit up CityRow in Union Square (which also has a studio opening on the UES!), but this week I decided to give Row House a shot. They have three locations — Columbus Circle, UES, and Chelsea — so pretty much wherever you are on the island of Manhattan, you can get to one fairly easily.

To be honest, I haven’t taken a non-spin class in five months. With all of my back issues, I was terrified to try anything else. What if I just made the problem worse? I still can’t run, and my pain isn’t gone. Exacerbating the problem is the LAST thing I want to do. But rowing is another low impact workout, and at this point I just need to start testing my limits. My PT told me that I could try adding in some of my old workouts, keeping in mind the modifications we’d talked about and being better about listening to my body if things started to hurt. I guess I’d just been waiting to feel comfortable enough to push myself a little harder, and I think we’re finally getting there.

I’m on the mailing list for so many of the fitness studios in New York, and the other day I was skimming the contents of the Row House email when I noticed they were hosting a bunch of free classes to help introduce their latest instructors.

Free class? Sign me up.

Like I said, I’ve rowed before, so I knew what to expect going in. A lot of these boutique rowing studios are structured the same in that you do a few minutes on the rower interspersed with mat work. The class I took at Row House was modified to 35 minutes versus their standard classes, and I’m glad I opted for this shorter one because I’m still easing back into things. Row House offers six varieties of classes that focus on various things, from a total body workout to one that focuses solely on your core. Pretty much whatever you’re looking for, you can find it here. They also have lockers for your things, as well as showers and towels. I brought my own water, but I believe they also have them for sale at the front desk.

Unlike CityRow, we spent more time on the rowers in between mat work, but working at different paces so you didn’t completely wear yourself out. There were a few sprints and longer distance work, and we did two quick sessions of body weight exercises as well (squats, lunges, that sort of thing). The rowers aren’t as nice as the ones at CityRow (who use water-based rowers that are just overall smoother), but they’re still really nice. I also liked the fact that some of your distance work was done in the dark, so you were able to completely focus on yourself and your own efforts. The music was great and the instructor was really encouraging and energetic. She went around before class to make sure everyone was set up properly and check for injuries, and she checked on me a few times during class to help modify my form and make sure I was okay, something I really appreciated.

Overall, I think I actually enjoyed the structure of the class better, despite the fact that CityRow has the better quality rowers. I’ll definitely be coming back for more Row House in the future!

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