I’d like to preface this review by saying that prior to my Row House membership, I had no background in rowing at all. I’d never done a rowing workout a day in my life. Then, out of nowhere, I began rowing 2-3x a week, alternating with my Club Pilates classes. The pairing, I found out, had some interesting results.
So, if you’ve had questions about Row House, or about rowing classes and workouts in general, I hope that I can answer some of your questions here before you jump on a rowing machine.
My Fitness Background:
Before you mistake me for one of those moms that puts weights in the bottom of her double stroller and runs three 8-minute miles, let me assure you, that is not the case.
I’m in my 40s with two autoimmune diseases that struck in my 30s after having a couple kids. I have been really open on the blog about that journey and the natural remedies that I use to help hold my symptoms/conditions at bay. I also see a rheumatologist and follow their advice as well.
I share this because if you had asked me before kids if I’d try a rowing workout, I would’ve had no qualms at all about slipping my feet into those straps and giving it a go. I was athletic, liked hard workouts, and was no stranger to after workout soreness. Fast forward a couple years and I could barely carry a laundry basket upstairs–even with a few breaks.
I’ve come a long way since then, thanks to regular pilates classes and a careful anti-inflammatory diet, but I still never thought I’d have the stamina or muscle strength to power through one of the hardest cardio workouts.
Trying Row House really felt like giving my chronic pain the middle finger and getting some of my power back. To my surprise, the core strength and conditioning that I’d gained from years of pilates paid off. I was not only able to get through the entire 45 minute rowing classes, but also do the classes that cycle between weight lifting and rowing. I’m not going to say it was easy, but I got through them and didn’t need to be carried to my car.
So, with that in mind, let’s answer all your questions about Row House.
What is Row House?
Row House is a rowing workout where classes are similar to spin classes. They keep the room dark, turn the AC up, and crank the music. The instructors do the entire workout with you, while coaching you and giving you real time feedback on your progress. They have a dashboard that shows them everyone in the class and their stats and big screens on the walls show the class progress (without names) as well. They’ll even set whole class goals that everyone can work toward while seeing the numbers fly up on the big screens. I found the instructors to be incredibly positive, energetic, and encouraging.
It’s fast-paced, loud, fun, and easy to forget that you’re rowing for 45 minutes. I was surprised how fast the classes went, especially the ones that break up the rowing with short weight lifting segments. Some rowing classes are stamina based and you’re rowing almost the entire time, but they find ways to break it up by speeding up, slowing down, setting the pace, and giving you lots of goals and motivation to keep going.
I was nervous that rowing so much would flare up an old shoulder injury of mine, but was happy to notice that was not the case at first. After a few months of regular rowing, I did feel it coming back and needed to reduce my frequency to 1-2x a week.
What are the classes at Row House like?
Row house classes are fast, loud, fun, and a great workout. There are different options that you can choose from through the Row House app, which makes it easy to schedule the classes that work for you. When I was a member, I was also able to choose which machine I wanted, which was a big selling point to me, since I prefer to work out in the back of the room.
Class options included 30 minute and 45 minute classes, some of them based on stamina, which meant more rowing, and others had interval training, which was alternating between rowing and short weight lifting or floor exercises. The classes also featured different types of music, which was really fun sometimes. Other times, not so much, such as the 45 minute stamina class I took that was paced to slow country music. If anything can make a rowing class feel longer, it’s slow, sad country songs.
Are Row House classes hard?
So, this is the funny thing: they definitely require a lot of effort and make you sweat, however, I found them to be easier on my body than running or spin classes. I think this is because you’re sitting down and you’re not jostling your body around, so the pain I get from high impact exercises doesn’t happen with rowing. This allowed me to work out harder, for longer, with a quicker recovery time.
You are able to adjust the workout to your ability, as well, by reducing or increasing the resistance on your machine, adjusting the pace that you row, and also selecting lower or heavier hand weights during floor exercises. I noticed that I would get very swept up in the pace and energy of the class and that would inspire me to work out harder than if I were working out alone.
What do I need for a Row House workout?
If you’re looking to try one out, make sure to contact your local studio to set up a free trial class. Then, show up a few minutes before class starts in case you need to fill anything out, such as a disclaimer. You can put your things in a locker, but I just brought in the essentials and put them in the back of my machine. Make sure to bring ice water, a small towel, and wear cool, comfortable workout clothing. You don’t want any super loose, billowy clothes on, so stick to activewear that is not going to get stuck in the machine while gliding or get in your way during floor exercises. Also, wear socks and comfortable sneakers. You are using your feet the entire time, so you definitely don’t want to be in uncomfortable shoes.
Is rowing a good workout?
If you’re new to rowing, then you’ll be happy to hear that rowing is one of the best full-body workouts you can do. It has been said to work about 86% of your body’s muscles, which is pretty incredible. Plus, it builds both muscle strength and cardio health. I can attest to both being true. One thing I appreciated was that I can use my leg strength in rowing to help augment my upper body strength. In a lot of cardio workouts, you are reliant on one muscle group, such as legs for running. With rowing, your whole body is working in synergy.
Can rowing help you lose weight?
I definitely found this to be true. With the combination of watching my diet more closely and paying attention to my macros using an app, I lost 20 pounds in less than a year. However, when I stopped rowing, I did slowly gain most of it back. Rowing is an excellent form of cardio and I noticed weight loss throughout my body and not just in a concentrated area.
Can you get toned by rowing?
I definitely think you will notice a difference in your muscle tone if you row consistently, as well as enjoy a healthy, balanced diet. You can eat your way out of any exercise program, and rowing is no exception. By focusing on both, yes you will see rowing help you tone all over your body. One area where I noticed a positive shift was my shoulders and arms. These are areas that can be difficult to tone, as a woman, especially when using lighter weights, but the repetitive motion of rowing really made a difference in a pretty short amount of time.
How quickly will I see results from rowing?
This is going to depend on how often you’re going, hard hard you’re pushing yourself, what condition you are currently in and what you’re eating. For me, I noticed myself getting stronger after a few weeks of regular classes. As I continued to push myself, I saw my body slowly changing.
How much do Row House classes cost?
Like most workout memberships, the prices of classes are going to change based on your location and the popularity of the studio, as well as how often you are going. When I started, our gym was new and I got in on an incredible deal for an unlimited membership. By the time I left Row House, the unlimited memberships had tripled in price. I ended up having to decide between Pilates and Row House, and since a nagging shoulder injury was starting to return, I decided to stick with Pilates, but I would definitely like to go to Row House classes occasionally. Where I live, the occasional pop-in class is around $20 a class. I am guessing monthly unlimited memberships will run approximately $200 a month.
Row House: The Verdict
I really enjoyed my time at Row House and often think about going back. The instructors are amazing and the workouts helped me lose inches and weight that have been stubbornly clinging to me for years now.
If you’re looking for a workout that will shake up your routine and work your body in a different way, definitely consider checking it out.
In the meantime, if you’re looking for other workout ideas, check out my reviews for Club Pilates and Pure Barre, two other workouts I really enjoy. I’m also a big fan of simply walking, which is why I have a treadmill under a standing desk. Check out more about how I try to get 10,000 steps a day and why.
I love sharing these workout reviews with you. I wish I could have found something like this when I started. What should I try next? Let me know your favorite workout in the comments below.
Have a fabulous day,