Why rowing is one of my favorite forms of cardio

November 4, 2022

Kari Merrill

Row, row, row your...indoor rower!

Chances are if you know me or have been a member of Western for a while, you already know about my LOVE for rowing. Here is where it started and here is where I can help you find the love for indoor rowing, too!

It all started at a fitness conference outside of Chicago in 2013. I attended a few rowing classes led by World Champion Rower, Josh Crosby, and his team and fell in love with not only the intensity of the exercise but the beauty of the machine itself - the aesthetics, versatility, and not to mention the water in the tank. It was such a beautiful, smooth, and dare I say, relaxing sound.

"Relaxing" and "rowing" in the same sentence? YES. When you row correctly, it really is. And we can help you achieve that same feeling on the water rowers at Western.

After that first experience, I knew I needed to bring a rowing program to Western Racquet. The ideas were swarming in my head - how to lead classes, get staff certified and as excited as me, and how to fuse classes together? It all had me jumping out of my microphone!

Bringing rowing to Western

Fast forward 2 years! As you can imagine, the behind-the-scenes work took a bit of time - planning, organizing financials, getting staff certified, getting 12 brand new rowers to Western, and preparing our launch all had to be done first before we could start getting people on those rowers.

I wanted my staff to learn proper technique and execution so our members would have the best experience on our rowers.  Great education is an important pillar of the Group Fitness Department and one I pride myself on always striving for with every new program and instructor. I want every single person who takes a group fitness class at Western to know they are in GREAT hands so they feel secure and well taken care of in every single class. And rowing was no different! Which is why we rounded out our build-up to launching our new rowing programs by bringing in one of the very best instructors and trainers in the industry, Doris Thews, to get our team certified to teach.

Now that you know how I got rowing through the doors at Western, let's get down to the WHY I wanted rowing added to the mix and how I can help you overcome any reservations about jumping on a rower:

Rowing works...

  • 86% of your muscles - at the same time - making it one of the best cardio options out there right next to swimming and cross-country skiing
  • 9 major muscle groups - again - at the same time

Rowing is...

  • Safe for all fitness levels - all ages, all sizes, and many different abilities! There have even been studies conducted on the benefits of rowing for those who are blind or have low vision! We even have our Rock Steady Boxing Parkinson's participants on the rowers on the regular and they love it.  Just ask them!
  • Low impact. This has been a game changer for me, personally. As much as I love tuck jumps, burpees, and hopping around the multi-purpose room, my 47-year-old joints are like, HOLD UP, Kario! Rowing gives me more fitness with less impact.
  • Efficient.  Because of the multiple muscles working at the same time - you can get a great workout in a short amount of time.

Rowing is for mind and body.

  • Get ready to feel a special mind-body connection when you row. When you learn the flow - the Catch, Drive, Finish, & Recovery - you'll know what I mean. The smooth sound of the swirling water will be like music to your ears and you'll feel a real mental slow down and focus as your body eases into the rhythm of the row.

So how can you row at Western?

Okay, okay, if you've been paying attention you might know there's a little thing called RowVember happening at Western this month!

I would love for you to join our RowVember Challenge and fall in love with rowing just like I did!

The RowVember challenge is free and easy with lots of fun classes and prizes along the way. You can row on your own, at Western, or join one of our 30+ Premier rowing classes on the schedule in November.

How to join the challenge

  1. Grab your boat at the front desk. Ahoy, captain! Stop by the front desk to receive your vessel! Then write your name on it and stick it on the Challenge Chart located by the front desk.
  2. Start rowing. Every meter you row counts! Track your meters and move your boat along the Challenge Chart to claim prizes along the way!
  3. Win prizes. Hit milestones throughout November and receive prizes! Plus, the male and female who reach the highest amount of meters at the end of the month will win our Grand Prize: a HyperIce Venom Go!

You can find all the details including the class schedule and prizes at westernracquet.com/rowvember.

Help us keep rowing and growing!

If you made it this far and you like what you read, share this blog post on Instagram, and tag us - @kariofitness and @westernracquet - and I will give you a free Premier rowing class to try! I promise you will be in good hands! All of my instructors are trained and ready to make some waves with you!

Happy Rowing!

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