It’s being dubbed the new Spinning. Here’s why indoor rowing classes are about to set your workout world alight!

Have you noticed howeveryone – fromcelebrity PTs togym pals – is ravingabout rowing thesedays? London has seen a surge inthe number of indoor rowing classes.Equipment pro Technogym ( has launcheda sport-specific rowing machineSkillRow. Even five-time Olympiccycling champion, Bradley Wiggins,has made the transition from biketo boat.British Rowing has revealed that therewill be a huge demand for rowing classesacross the UK in 2018, with consumerresearch showing that 15.8 million peoplewould consider using a rowing machine.There’s no doubt about it – we Brits areready to row, and why not? Rowing is, afterall, a great workout. Loved by CrossFittersfor its ability to condition the cardiovascularsystem while simultaneously burning fatand building strength, rowing is a fantasticfull-body sweat session.

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And while it mayhave spent years in the corner of your gymgathering dust, the old-faithful piece ofkit (which, FYI, has been around since theearly 1900s) is about to take centre stage– and this time it’s making a comebackas a group workout!About time, says personal trainer LauraHoggins, who coaches the popularEngine Row class inthe capital’s One Ldngym (‘It’s an exceptionalway to boost yourcardiovascular fitness.‘Rowing delivers ahuge calorie burnwith zero impact, andgroup classes provide the opportunityto do it in a supportive and motivatingatmosphere – all without having to bravegetting into a rower on the river!’ We cancertainly get on board with that. Andfortunately, no prior rowing experience isnecessary. ‘It genuinely is for everyone,from the regular gym-goer, to the first-timer,’ adds Hoggins. ‘If you love cardio butdon’t necessarilybelieve the treadmillis for you, this willdefinitely work youraerobic fitness likenothing else.’ You canexpect to row as agroup workout, butwith the added useof barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells, plusthere’ll be plenty of interval work. As alow-impact sport, indoor rowing can alsobe a great way to keep fit while rehabbing knee, back and other joint injuries It’s a win-win.


Fast-paced intervals, a big calorie burn,kind on joints it’s easy to see why theindoor rowing class is being touted asthe ‘new Spinning’, but does it have thepotential to prosper in the workout world‘The class concept of indoor rowingand Spinning bear some strongsimilarities,’ agrees Hoggins. ‘Theexperience of rowing at pace to powerfulmusic, with intervals and intensity, whilebeing coached alongside others, deliversthe same cardiovascular euphoria youget on a static bike.’Experts, however, claim that rowingcould go one better than indoor cycling,as it uses more muscles than any othercardiovascular machine – an impressive 85per cent of the body’s muscles, includingthe abs and arms, as well as the lower andmiddle back, hamstrings, glutes, calvesand quads. A powerful leg drive startsevery stroke – your quadriceps, hamstringsand glutes fire up to push you along,’explains Sarah Moseley, British Rowingsport scientist.‘Then comes the power from the backand upper body – your abdominals andobliques activate to provide stability,assisting your torso to drive backwards.Simultaneously your trapezius, latissimusdorsi and biceps work to pull the handletowards your body.’ How about that fora whole-body workout?


And if that doesn’t impress you enough,this will – rowing is one of the bestcalorie-burning cardio workouts around. Itis rumoured to boast an attractive calorieburn of around 377 calories per 30-minuteclass – something that’s difficult to achieveon other bits of kit. ‘Our indoor rowingclasses have been tested during ourconcept finalisation and thecalorie burn is absolutelyincredible,’ reports Hoggins.‘The shift in movementpatterns, intensity and pace,when mixed with functional HIITtraining, will shred body fat andbuild lean muscle,’ The net resultis a tight and toned look, not tomention improved posture anda feeling of fitness.Want to give it a go? Here arethree more reasons why Moseleyrecommends hopping on therowing machine.

1.Improves joint mobility

‘With increasinglysedentary lifestyles,muscles can become stiff afterlong periods of inactivity. Indoorrowing is a great way to combatthis, as the muscle and jointsexperience a wide range ofmovement during the exercise,helping to reduce stiffness andincrease flexibility.’

2.You control intensity

‘Committing to an exercise regimecan be hard, so engaging in anactivity where the exerciseintensity is easily controllablewill help to make it moreenjoyable and keep yourmotivation levels high.‘With adjustable intensitybuilt into a rowing machine,the pace is entirely up toyou and is determinedby the resistance of theadjustable flywheel and/orhow hard you push or pullduring each stroke.’

3.Strength andcardio combined

‘Indoor rowingpromotes improvementsto muscular strength andcardiovascular endurance,’says Hoggins. ‘Whenyour muscles are put underrepeated physical stress,physiological adaptationsoccur to make them stronger– your muscle fibres will growstronger and you will have animproved ability to use oxygen.A big advantage is that indoor rowing worksboth – simultaneously.


Don’t know what to do on the rowing machine? Alex Gregory, double Olympic champion, shares his top tips.


Before you start rowingindoors, check that thefoot plate strap is over thewidest part of your foot,the monitor is at eye-leveland the resistance is upto at least level four.


Aim to do your warm-upwith a stroke rate of around18spm (strokes per minute)on the monitor, then keep itat 18-24spm for an efficientstroke for the rest of yourworkout – no faster.


Don’t overly focus on pulling– your legs provide mostof the power, then youseamlessly tilt your back andstraighten your arms. Bringthe handle to your chest andrelax for the recovery phase.

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