We Tried It: Row House NYC
ROW ROW ROW YOUR ERG
Indoor rowing is one of the hottest fitness trends in the US right now and many would say that’s because of the rise of CrossFit. Like Olympic weightlifting, indoor rowing is regularly programmed into many CrossFit classes. If we look towards New York City, there are several boutique fitness studios that offer rowing as part of their workouts, and a couple are even based around using the rowing machine but they're not CrossFit. I’ve tried City Row in the past (love it!) but I had never heard of or tried Row House. I recently tried the “Row House HIIT” class at Row House at Columbus Square and I can definitely say there are huge benefits to mixing intense rowing with floor-based strength work.
Check out the Row House HIIT Workout I did below.
SAMPLE RH HIIT WORKOUT
DIRECTIONS: perform a 12-15 calorie row, then do as many Dumbbell Burpee Clusters, both within two minutes. Do four total rounds, resting one minute between rounds. Rest three minutes then start with the burpee clusters, doing 5-7 reps, then do a maximum effort row, both within two minutes. Rest for one minutes. Do four total rounds. Take an extra two minutes rest, then finish the workout by doing as many burpee clusters as possible for 2 minutes, followed by two minutes rest then a 2 min maximum effort row.
IN 2 MINUTES DO:
As many reps as possible of Burpee Clusters
Rest: 1 minute between rounds
3-minute rest break
In 2 MINUTES DO:
5-7 reps of Burpee Clusters
Maximum Calorie Row
Rest: 1 minute between rounds
2-minute rest break
In 2 MINUTES DO:
As man reps as possible of Burpee Clusters
Maximum calorie row
This workout contained 18 minutes of total work, outside of a warmup done previous to the work portion, and by the end I was pretty spent. Indoor rowing is very much about form and power, as you can easily get injured from rowing too fast with incorrect form. And, you can strengthen muscles without rowing fast by really engaging the lats and core and pulling with force. With that said, I’m a weightlifter so if wanted to improve power, I know how to do that without a rower: I’d power clean and box jump for starters. In this HIIT class, the goal was to row as HARD as possible, whether that meant using a fast stroke or a slow, more powerful one. Either way, I have decent form, so why not pull the heck out of this rower? This is what I liked because I’m not a professional rower, I’m just looking to burn maximum calories at a class like this, so moving quickly with correct form is essential.
“The idea is that you can work your lungs to their capacity and burn as many calories as you would during a half marathon in a short amount of time,” says Bretton Buehler, Row House instructor and CrossFit Level 1 Instructor. “If you’re spending more than an hour working out, you might be spending your time inefficiently. These HIIT workouts increase heart rate and allow you to burn as many calories as possible.”
I’d never heard of or done these “Dumbbell Burpee Clusters” before and as you see in the video link above, the chest hits the deck, you bring the weights into a squat clean, then press the weights up, bring the weights back down to your shoulders, then back down to the ground for a burpee. Just when you think a burpee couldn’t get any harder, there’s a CrossFitter doing these for time somewhere.
Row House is home to three studios in New York City, one in Chelsea, one near Columbus Circle and another in the Upper East Side. There’s a fourth studio to come in Dumbo. Buehler is one of nearly 30 Row House instructors, some of which have NCAA and World Championship boating experience, in fact, one instructor, Katie Wilcox, was captain of the Harvard Rowing team that went to the NCAA championships. Buehler played many sports growing up, including football, baseball, and basketball, but his main sport was wrestling, where he first excelled at interval training. You don’t have to have a rowing background to learn to use it properly in conjunction with strength training, as evidenced with Buehler who programs a constantly varied training schedule, and the several other Row House instructors that have CrossFit or fitness backgrounds not related to professional/collegiate rowing.
“In Row House HIIT, the work to rest ratio changes every classes, sometimes we do 2:1 while other times it’s 1:1 but you’re never on the rower for more than five minutes at a time,” says Buehler. “For the floor exercises, I’ll incorporate triceps extensions, biceps curls, rows, planks, plank rotations, mountain climbers, pushups, anything you can imagine doing with a dumbbell we’ll mix into a rowing workout.”
The thing with fitness classes are that each location is different and each instructor is different, so after taking only one class at Columbus Circle, there’s only so much I can share. As previously stated, I can share that in this Row House HIIT class, we were instructed to push hard, which is what HIIT is all about. The 50-minute class was a true high-intensity fat burning workout that also aided in muscular endurance and cardiovascular endurance. Row House also offers RH Full Body, RH Restore, RH Competition (I’ll definitely want to hit that up prior to my first OCR in 2017), and RH 101. Row House has a class and coach for people of seemingly all fitness levels and backgrounds.
For more information about Row House, visit rowhousenyc.com.