The Rowing Revolution: Will Indoor Rowing Take Off As A Group Fitness Concept?

indoor rowingDoes rowing make you think of burly Ivy League dudes in boats? This year, three new businesses will try to change that, by pairing the workout intensity and efficiency of the erg (the indoor rowing machine) with the fun, high-energy feel of group fitness.

Until now, rowing has largely been ignored (or unsuccessful) in group fitness, with just a few exceptions. Equinox introduced a rowing-based circuit training class, Shockwave, last year, and Indoorance has been using the machines for partner-based workouts that simulate rowing on water. The erg’s use in CrossFit, which has been skyrocketing in popularity, may have newly turned people on to the possibilities of the machine.

“I just think it’s such an effective workout, and the rowing machine is so underrated,” says Ryan Wilke, the co-founder of Throwback Fitness (and a CrossFit enthusiast). The machine’s power is no joke—it works your legs, arms, and back muscles and delivers a level of cardio that’s hard to sustain for more than a few minutes.

But will it finally take off as a group fitness concept? We introduce you to the three major players in the city’s new indoor rowing regatta. Read more at Well + Good NYC. >>

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    • Meg

      I did crew for 6 years and can say that ergs can make some wicked wicked work outs.

      However, the problem I have with the popularity of this machine is just that it is difficult to use correctly. Because it works so many muscles, it has so much potential to injure you! Nearly every time I have gone to the gym, I’ve seen someone misusing the erg and putting themselves at great risk of throwing out their back, hyper- extending their knees, and so on and so forth. It’s like doing free weight squats over and over again… devastating if you do too much or do so incorrectly.
      If they’re going to make erging popular, they should ensure these people have proper technique before jumping on it. I say this because even after perfecting my form and rowing/ erging for 6 years, I managed to severely injure my back on one.

    • UCanRow2

      Meg makes a great point about rowing technique and the importance of getting it right. It can be a little tricky at first, and unfortunately there’s a whole lot of bad rowing out there. One look around YouTube – or your nearest gym floor – and you’ll see it in abundance.

      The solution for exercisers who want to be sure they get great classes that are also effective and safe is to seek out the certified indoor rowing instructors in their area. Certified indoor rowing instructors have learned the specifics of teaching rowing for group exercise, and are taught specifically to spot errors in technique and correct them.

      There are several certified instructors in New York City, and we’re happy to see more and more people signing up for our indoor rowing instructor certifications across the country. Concept2 maintains an updated list of people certified on the C2 machine in the US and Canada here: Check it out and happy rowing!