Rowing by Paul Ems

TUESDAY - 530pm - 600PM





(walk-ins available for any rowers not reserved at time of class)

You may have wondered to yourself why Crossfit utilizes the rower rather than a climber, treadmill, spin bike, or really any other piece of cardio equipment out there. I mean, when you go to a commercial gym you see almost everything but rowers. Maybe the gym has a couple off in the corner, but they definitely do not dominate the gym’s cardio space. So why did Crossfit decide to go with the rower when so few others have?

  • Rowing is a 30-minute class for those wanting to work on cardio based workouts.  The main event will be rowing with some CrossFit movements sprinkled in.  Here are some reasons to add this class to your training:
    • Rowing is a full body movement.
    • Rowing is an efficient calorie burner.
    • Rowing develops strength and endurance.
    • Rowing is a low impact exercise.
    • Rowing is good for active rest days


Rowing is a full body movement.

At first glance, you may think that rowing is just a different kind of cardio that focuses on the upper body rather than the lower; as treadmills or spin bikes do. It would be logical to assume that the back does most of the work in a pulling motion. and while that may be the case in a static, weighted cable row, that is certainly not the case when it comes to rowing on a row machine.

Rowing is a full body workout. It uses almost every major muscle group in your body. Rowing hits the lats, quads, hamstrings, glutes, abs, obliques, lower back, shoulders, and arms – both biceps and triceps. And since you’re using so many muscles at once, you will most certainly be elevating your heart rate. This makes it a much more efficient workout than running or spinning; both of which primarily use the lower body.

Rowing is an efficient calorie burner.

You might not think that a movement that involves sitting could burn all that many calories an hour, but you may be surprised. Rowing is metabolically challenging, and can burn upwards of 1000 calories an hour. Just consider how many muscles are working together in harmony to complete each stroke. You’d have to push yourself pretty damn hard on a treadmill to hit those numbers, and you’d still only be challenging (I use the word challenge loosely in this case) your lower body.

Rowing develops strength and endurance.

The beauty of rowing is that it never becomes obsolete just because your strength or endurance improves. Rowing can be as easy or as hard as you choose to make it. Challenging yourself is as simple as rowing harder or rowing faster. Whether it’s a water rower or the Concept 2 rower, the resistance becomes greater the harder you pull. Push yourself on a rower and your cardiovascular health, endurance, and overall strength will always continue to improve.

Rowing is a low impact exercise.

Rowing is an extremely safe form of cardio. It’s easy on your joints; especially the knees and ankles, and can be performed at high endurance levels by nearly everyone, and without the fear of injury. It’s also beneficial for joint health since rowing moves your joints through such a large range of motion.


There are a lot of options when it comes to cardio, and there are a lot of options when it comes to choosing where to buy your equipment. If you’re new to Crossfit or the fitness world in general and you are not familiar with the Concept 2 rower, I suggest you check out some fitness sites, the Crossfit forums, and then just ask around. I think you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t agree that the best cardio you’re going to get on a machine is going to be on the Concept 2 rower. Hey, all those fit Crossfit folks at the Games can’t be wrong, can they?