Those Who Row Know

At Chelsea’s Row House you’ll get a low-impact, high-energy, total-body workout that you control.

By: Dan Welden

Like many other fitness trends, rowing classes are quickly popping up all over the city, similar to the way spin classes have grown in popularity over the years. If you’re like me, you find bike seats extremely uncomfortable—and that bike seat may creep deeper into your nether region than you’re probably comfortable experiencing in a group setting. On the other hand, the seats on a row machine give the support I need without making me feel like I’m receiving a public prostate exam. All of this is a sign that row classes like the Full Body 45 class at Chelsea’s Row House are here to stay.

I recently took the class with instructor Gretchen Raddatz. Raddatz is a former trainer at the Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge in St. George, Utah. She’s all about making each student feel comfortable, which is consistent with the overall Row House vibe. The facility is very LGBTQ friendly—no surprise in Chelsea. The studio is equipped with brand new equipment spread out so you don’t feel claustrophobic while still close enough together to make you feel as if you’re all part of a row team. Cue fantasies of blue-blood college crew teams.

A combination of a team atmosphere, a welcoming instructor, and a low-impact full-body workout truly makes this a unique experience. The class is for all experience levels. Since you are in control of your machine’s intensity, you can gradually make each class more intense than the last. It’s also a great class for people who can’t participate in high-impact activities due to joint or back issues. 

Regardless of your experience level, Raddatz is one of the more thorough instructors I’ve encountered. Before getting started, she explains how to perform the proper movements as you row at both high and low intensity levels. She’s extremely informative and hands-on. Unlike many other group fitness classes, Row House allows you to set your own pace. However, the team atmosphere encourages you to push yourself and keep up with the rest of the crew. 

Afterward my body felt exhausted, but my mind felt energized. This was a tremendous full-body cardio workout, perfect for all skill levels. As a personal trainer, I would recommend rowing to any client, especially those trying to lose weight and those new to the fitness world. It’s also a great class for someone transitioning into a group fitness setting as the moves are not particularly complex, you control your own intensity, and Raddatz keeps her instructions clear enough for every participant to enjoy their workout.