Crash Course: CityRow‘s Core Focus class takes the studio’s signature rowing session and infuses it with an extra dose of ab-centric exercises. The one-hour sweat fest takes you through alternating cardio and sculpting intervals on and off of the water-based rowing machines. Bye bye boring crunches – this class is all about working your core in the most creative and effective way. For more information a full list of classes, check out the CityRow website.[line] [left]where: 80th 5th Avenue #1501 | Union Square
perks: small class size, towels, inventive workout
sweat score: 8 out of 10[/left][right]wear: recommend spandex bottoms
instructor: Annie Mulgrew
cost: $32 per class [/right][line] There are a lot of fun options out there for the cardio junkies among us. Club-like spin studios dot the New York City skyline. High-energy dance classes make sweating feel like Saturday night. And now there’s the newest cardio kid in town: rowing studios that deliver high-intensity-interval cardio, a fun environment, and the muscle-toning magic of one of the best full-body, low impact workouts out there.
CityRow opened in January 2014 and has taken the sweat obsessed citizens of New York City by storm. While there are certainly other options in the city (for example, my crash at Row House), there’s a special kind of pizazz and swank appeal when you walk into this studio. Maybe it’s the scenic Manhattan view from 15 floors above Union Square. Or the whirling woosh of the beautifully sleek water rowers. But there’s something very attractive about this space.
I arrived after work one evening for a 7:30 p.m. class with Evann, who had visited the studio before and encouraged me to come try it. I also follow along with Meaghan’s weekly sweat sessions at this place and have always wanted to give it a go based on her reviews. So here I am! I filled up my water bottle, grabbed a towel and two sets of weights, and found my way over to one of the machines.
Let’s talk about the water rower for a minute. I have a soft spot for the rowing machine as it is. In my humble opinion, it consistently delivers one of the most efficient full-body cardio workouts going. My fondness for it grew after taking a learn to row class in DC, and escalated into an all-out obsession after watching two seasons of House of Cards. So imagine my absolute delight sitting down to the exact same machine that Frank and Claire Underwood use. I was ecstatic. Work with me people, my heart is still in political-wonk-from-DC mode.
Our instructor Annie exuded boundless energy and a never-ending stream of motivational and explanatory commentary. She came around and made sure everyone was set up properly on their machines and then walked us through a warm up that broke down the basic rowing stroke technique.
Then the music turned up (an assortment of Beyonce and Rihanna hits – can’t go wrong) and we were off to the races. Enjoy warm up while it lasts friends, because after that you are steaming ahead at full speed.
Because this was the core centric class, all of the moves on and off of the machine in some way connected to core exercises. Some were obvious, like seated bicycles on the mat or planks. Others were not so obvious. For example, I had no idea just how much those side oblique rows were going to burn the next day.
The class moved seamlessly from machine to mat. Intervals on the rower. Exercises on the mat. Faster intervals on the rower. Standing exercises with weights on the mat. Back and forth until your entire body is sweating and shaking in all the right places.
Annie did a fantastic job orchestrating the entire class. She kept what was often a really tough workout upbeat, dynamic, engaging, and fun. Her moves were creative and challenging. The fact that the music was great definitely helped, too. There’s nothing worse than rowing in silence. Believe me. Try it once and you’ll listen to yodeling over nothing any day.
Personally, I felt that while the class was heavy on the core work, it definitely was an over-all body conditioning experience. You won’t leave disappointed that you didn’t get to focus on your legs or arms. When I walked out of CityRow, my abs were tired, but so was everything else. I was a happy camper.
CityRow is truly the total package when it comes to finding a low impact, full body, cardio + toning workout that is effective, efficient, and fun for just about anyone who walks through the door. I’m excited to go back again as soon as I can snag a spot with my ClassPass. The Row + Flow (rowing and yoga) class is calling my name. I just wish they had showers so I could go before work! I think this workout would be such fun way to start the day. Maybe in their next studio space, right CityRow?
What’s your favorite rowing class in the city?
CityRow provided this class free of charge in exchange for my honest review – all opinions in this post come directly from my very sweaty personal experience. Thanks for reading!