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Rowing dates back to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, but would it have sustained its longevity had Zeus been asked to perform burpees between rounds? What we learned after taking a rowing class At New York City’s Rowgatta: You either row big or row home.
“Are burpees involved?” usually begins any boutique class interrogation, and Arielle Childs, one of the founding coaches at HILIT bootcamp Rowgatta, quickly answered with a resounding yes. As it turned out, adding that bit of higher intensity to a circuit row class helps break up the boredom and also burns some extra calories in addition to the 200 to 400 that rowing would in a half-hour class.
“Anything in large doses may at times become monotonous,” she says. “It’s why our class is broken up into chunks and constantly varies.” Childs taught me quickly that rowing can be spiced up through intensity shifts. In Rowgatta’s case, it was through a timed base pace (think jog) followed by all-out row sprints. The combo had me reminiscing about high school football wind sprints, but this time without becoming hunched over in gut-busting agony.
And despite its low-impact reputation, the full-force push generated by rowing reinforced its place as a power move and not just a cardio accessory. A misconception is that it’s an arm movement, when rowing is more leg and hip drive, almost like a seated deadlift. At least I felt stronger.
Oh, and about those burpees. Those were lodged in between row rounds, tucked away in a HIIT shift consisting of squats, thrusters, and leg raises in 30-on/30-off intervals. And, quite frankly, after the workout rowing provided, they’re not so bad after all.
If you can’t make it to Rowgatta, try this rowing-inspired circuit workout provided by Childs: