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6 Reasons To Row, Row, Row Your Way To Fit (Burn Up To 800 Calories!)
Monday, August 15, 2011 at 12:28 PM
| posted by Nora Zelevansky
Once upon a time, rowing was considered a man’s sport, beloved by preppy Ivy League boys and lake fishermen. Times have changed.
Here’s what happened: We ladies found out it was fun. You know what else is fun? Being toned. And, contrary to popular belief, rowing accomplishes that for more than just your upper body.
Just ask ultra endurance athlete and World Rowing Champion, Josh Crosby, who created the now internationally practiced Indo-Row workout with partner and fitness developer Jay Blahnik. (They even collaborated with WaterRower on a special Indo-Row Machine that uses actual water.)
Screen shot 2011-07-26 at 5.35.20 PM.pngJosh Crosby (In Blue) Leading an Indo-Row Class
Photo By Andrew Stiles
Though the first classes began in 2005, Indo-Row went national/global in the last three years and is now offered at over 50 clubs from Equinox and Sports Club LA to The Mayo Clinic’s Wellness Center.
And, as with any growing trend and especially ones that start in California, Hollywood has caught on. Though the Indo-Row team is hush-hush about A-list clientele, a few names have leaked out like Nicole Kidman, Estella Warren, Kevin Bacon and Jason Patrick.
The beauty of these specific classes and of rowing in general is that the same workout session can be completed — at different paces — by everyone from male triathletes to 80-year-old women. “I wouldn’t be able to do all the mountain biking, kayaking, trail running etc. that I do during adventure fitness competitions without rowing,” says Crosby. “It’s the ultimate cross-training for everyone from cyclists, who need to build more upper body strength, to people who are dealing with rehab and recovery. It’s pretty amazing because you can have all shapes, sizes, ages and abilities in one class: I’ve been rowing since I was 8-years-old and my grandfather rowed until he was 94.”
In the creator’s own words, “Indo-Row was designed to bring the benefits of rowing to the masses.” Here, Crosby shares his top 6 reasons to row:
1. Total Body
The biggest myth about rowing is that it’s all upper body. It’s actually an amazing full body, low impact, killer strength and cardio workout. You’re working 9 major muscles groups: quads, hamstrings, glutes, lats, core, shoulder, triceps, back, biceps. Posture is a huge benefit from rowing. And then obviously you’re jump starting your cardio system too.
2. Low Impact
The reason why rowing is good for rehab is because, especially for runners, it’s a much lower impact alternative.
3. Team Work
If you’re doing a rowing workout at home alone, it’s not quite the same. But during an Indo-Row class, community spirit is emphasized as it would be in an actual boat race. Every class ends with a race, measured by the monitors (tracking total time, distance, calories, current strokes per minute and pace) on each machine. And those races tend to end with actual cheering.
4. Easy To Learn
The movements themselves are relatively simple, so there’s not much of a learning curve. People generally get the basics down in 10-minutes.
5. You’re In Control
Resistance is created by how hard you push or pull, so you control the level of your own workout. The Indo-Row machines actually use 17-liters of water (that even makes requisite sloshing sounds) as resistance, so the harder you push and pull, the faster that water is going to move. And your “split” time goes down as you row faster.
6. Calorie Burn
In the average Indo-Row class, people burn between 400 and 800 calories in less than an hour.
Indo-Row’s class format includes “a seasons worth of rowing in a 50-minute format” with skills and drills, form lessons, muscle memory work and waves of exercise with endurance and interval pauses. During breaks called “recoveries,” there’s stretching and core strengthening in positions like leaning back into reverse plank and twists as you grab the rail behind you, look over your shoulder and place a hand on the opposite knee.
And though you may not have the fancy machine at home, you can still get some rowing benefits. Try this classic rowing move demonstrated by Crosby that requires just a resistance band:
Screen shot 2011-07-27 at 3.48.38 PM.pngStep 1: Sit up straight on a mat with your legs slightly bent out in front of you. Holding the ends of the resistance band in each hand with the edges tucked inside each fist, hinge forward from the hips — about 40 degrees with arms extended — to stretch it around the balls of your feet. Brace with your legs.
Screen shot 2011-07-27 at 3.49.10 PM.pngStep 2: Swing the back and core open. Lean back and pull your arms back (last!), almost like you’re rowing a boat. It’s as if you’re trying to squeeze a pencil between your shoulder blades, while keeping your shoulders down and your back straight. You may not have the machine’s sliding seat, but you’re bracing your legs with the band. Release slowly and repeat.
*The Indo-Row 3×3 Technique has a specific order: On the “Drive” engage the legs, core, then arms and on the “Recovery” allow the arms to return first, lean forward with the core and, finally, let the legs come up a little.
Do 20-30 reps, 4-6 times.