Engine Room: Rowing fitness class review

Hey guys and gals,

I have to be honest and say from the offset that the rower has to be my least favourite bit of gym equipment. I’m quite fond of the treadmill, partial to some free weights and I can tolerate the cross trainer, but the rower is always such a killer that I tend to avoid it. But when I heard about ‘Engine Room‘ – a rowing-based fitness class I was actually kind of intrigued – and as I’m always up for a challenge, I thought I would give it a go.

Falling in love

I was invited along for a special Valentine’s Day workout so I roped Arthur in to coming with me too. Who said romance was dead? I think it was about two minutes into the entire class that I began to regret my ‘let’s try anything once’ kind of attitude. There is no escaping the fact that rowing is hard. It works your legs, arms, back and even core all in one motion.

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A rowing novice

The class started with a tutorial on how to actually row. It turns out a lot of people do it wrong – using too much arm and shoulder action – instead the power should come from your legs. Which is great news for me and my thunder thighs! It’s worth noting that Engine Room also dedicate a whole class to learning to row (called Row 101) which is worth checking out if you are a newbie.

Teamwork makes the dream work

This particular class was a one off for Val’s Day so we were paired up in our couples, ready to battle it out against each other. It turns out we were the only actual partners, and the only male and female pair, so we probably had an advantage against the other girls. The competition was tough but after rounds of rowing races and circuits we managed to come out on top – winning a goodie bag full of fitness treats and a two-week free pass.

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Feel the beat

Arthur bowed out of the free pass (and instead opted for the treats) but I took one for the team and decided to head back to the ‘Church of Pain’ (because the studio is in a converted church). I wanted to see what their ‘Beats’ class was all about, taught by owner Chris. It was one of those classes where you’ll hate it in the moment, but as soon as it’s over the endorphins are flying and you feel like you could do it all over again…

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No pain no gain

The 45-min class is split between time on the rower and time on the mat doing circuit-type exercises like squats, press-ups and burpees. Although it sounds like a lot of time to be rowing, it actually goes so quickly because each stint has a different focus – for two minutes you might be trying to burn as many calories as possible and then for the next two you might have to focus on power. And each class ends with a race – a bit of fun to get you working as a team – and it’s surprising how hard you’ll work when someone else is relying on you.

So if you’re looking for a sweat session with a difference, let Engine Room show you just how fun rowing can actually be.

R x

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