Rowing Classes are a One Stop Shop for Cardio, Core & Strength

Midway through January you might start cursing the tedious treadmill or bitter cold as you jog along on your path to resolutions. And after your jog, you still need to toss around some dumbbells to reach your strength goals. And as you sit down at your desk proud of your morning workout, you still stress about that posture your mom has reminded you about for years.

While fitness resolutions require dedication, a workout that acts as a one stop shop can help make the commitment more manageable.

Rowing incorporates 85% of your muscles. If you think of that percentage as a “workout quiz” your teacher is handing back, an 85% is something to celebrate as your classmates look at their results from leg-isolating biking or cycling. Rowing works your glutes, hamstrings, shoulders, arms, back  and core… so you can take a break from mindless and less than effective sit-ups.

“The moment you align your spine, your core has to activate,” says rowing instructor Shaun Jenkins. “So sitting from the starting position, extending your legs, pulling all the way back to the 45-degree angle... Your core is activated the entire time.”

Not only does rowing involve many different muscles, it involves  them in varied ways — allowing you to get both a cardio and strength training workout in one (and burn a lot more calories in less time and continue to burn calories after your workout, called EPOC - a topic for another blog).

And if your goals for 2019 focus more around wellness than fitness, rowing can help you there too. We’re all aware of the harms that slouching in front of a laptop can pose to your health (worse circulation, joint pain, trouble breathing deeply, bad posture), and although new gadgets (like the UpRight Go) promise to remind you about your slouching, rowing can improve your spine alignment  without vibrations or shocks. Rowing with great music, hearing the sound of the water in the tank and having fun interacting with your class “teammates” sure beats getting shocked!

“If  you sit at a desk all day, exercises like running or biking are sort of the same actions,” says Mulgrew. “Running involves hip and knee flexion and biking recreates that rounded spine. Each stroke on the row machine extends the legs and opens the chest. It counteracts those day-to-day actions.” Note, we would like to add that rowing helps strengthen the rhomboids, posterior deltoid and other posterior “posture” muscles that other cardio workouts don’t touch.

So, add rowing into your 2019 routine and get an all in one workout that will leave you with enough time to watch 3-hour “Bachelor” specials with (a little) less guilt.