If the US market is anything to go by, rowing studios are officially going to be the Next Big Thing in fitness. Already a cult hit in New York (once the centre for all things spinning), it took just one class to win over personal trainer Mike Aldridge. In fact, the Sydney-based trainer was so enamoured, he carried the idea home with him and opened up a boutique rowing studio on Young Street. Decked out with hand-crafted wooden WaterRowers, CREW offers visitors a comprehensive workout that's also fairly low-impact. But don't be fooled: as anyone who's ever trained on a rower at the gym will attest - rowing makes for a killer exercise.
Here, we chat with Mike about the classes at CREW and why rowing is so damn addictive.
So what's the idea behind CREW?
I was recently travelling in the USA and I noticed the cult following of rowing studios in NYC. I gave it a go and after one session I was hooked, it has so many benefits. Returning to Sydney I noticed there wasn't anything like it here and from there, CREW was born.
Why is rowing such a good workout - what benefits does it offer?
With each stroke, nearly every part of the body is used - 60 per cent legs, 20 per cent core and 20 per cent arms. Rowing is a total body exercise which burns down calories whilst strengthening and toning muscles.
What should I expect from a class? Please tell me it's not 45 minutes of straight rowing?!
CREW partners High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) on the WaterRower with fast transitions to your adjacent mat with workstations focusing on toning, sculpting and strengthening exercises. Fast transitions between the WaterRower and the floor will ensure you are never in the same spot for more than two minutes. By combining rowing with dumbbells, resistance bands, medicine balls and other equipment, you will increase both your muscular strength and endurance while making your workout fun and effective. The music is pumping, the lights are dimmed, and the trainers will make you sweat... a lot!
What fitness levels do you cater to?
The best thing about CREW is its low impact nature. It's perfect for people of any age, fitness level, experience, or goal. There's no stress placed on the body like there is with running and other activities because there is no downward force being places on the lower back, knees, or ankles. Plus, you hit every single muscle in your body with every stroke, working muscles you didn't even know existed. Crew is a community and everyone is there for the same reason: to better themselves. There's no egos involved and the goal orientated workouts will bring out your inner athlete.
A lot of people are really put off by the rowing machine at the gym - what makes CREW's rowing workout different?
I love rowing, but even I wouldn't like to spend 45 minutes stuck on a rowing machine... that's why at CREW we mix in body weight exercises, dumbbells, resistance bands, movement, flexibility, stability, and more. You're never on the rowing machine for too long - CREW keeps it fast paced and interesting with transitions from the rower to your adjacent mat. Plus, the rowing machines we use make a soothing, water swooshing sound instead of the loud fan noise that of other [rowing] machines.
CREW is located at Suite 1, Ground Floor, 15-17 Young Street, Sydney