We are pumped to share one of our fave stories from Self here on FitSugar!
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.) Though the first classes began in 2005, Indo-Row went 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 Patric.
In the creator's own words, "Indo-Row was designed to bring the benefits of rowing to the masses." See Crosby's top six reasons to row after the break!
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, and trail running 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 eight-years-old and my grandfather rowed until he was 94."
- 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 nine major muscles groups: quads, hamstrings, glutes, lats, core, shoulder, triceps, back, and biceps. Posture is a huge benefit from rowing. And then obviously you're jumpstarting your cardio system too.
- Low Impact — The reason why rowing is good for rehab is because, especially for runners, it's a much lower-impact alternative.
- Teamwork — 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Calorie Burn — In the average Indo-Row class, people burn between 400 to 800 calories in less than an hour.
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