Sunday, April 28, 2013

Rowing with Brooklyn Crew

Yesterday, I got together with my fellow cohorts in fitness fun to try something new. We headed to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which for me meant taking the East River Ferry to avoid an hour long subway ride and met up at Brooklyn Crew, just a block from the East River.

Brooklyn Crew is a new fitness studio concept, with the sole focus on indoor rowing. The studio opened just two weeks ago and is owned by two friends, Josh and Robert, who are quite enthusiastic about rowing and the great workout it can offer. We chatted with them for a few minutes before class as they gave us some tips and explained how it’s an exceptional low-impact cross training workout for runners.

Brooklyn Crew1

The space is small but efficient, featuring an open and bright lobby and a studio with eight ergs (rowing machines). We took our spots – aside from Grace, April and myself, there were two guys in the class – and started to get used to the movement as our instructor, Collin, who had ridden to the studio on his bike after running 10 miles, started explaining how to use the machine. While I’ve been on an erg (I had no idea that’s what the machine was called!) I knew I needed instruction on how to actually use it and what good posture is!

The machines they use at Brooklyn Crew are different from those at my gym. Instead of having your feed in a fixed position and pushing the seat back, both the feet and butt move on these ergs, although once I figured out how it actually worked, I realized the legs do most the work and the but doesn’t actually move much. Turns out these machines mimic real movement in a boat than what’s at the gym.


The class was about 50 minutes long and we were moving about 49 minutes of that! Three keys that Collin kept hammering into us were:

  • You’re basically doing a squat; you MUST pick up your heels as your knees are pulling in
  • Pull your feet in close so your shins are vertical to the floor
  • Look athletic!

I loved that last one in particular. It can be easy to lose concentration and let your posture fade. But if you look athletic, your posture and your movements will improve!

Going into the class I thought it was going to be a really tough 50 minutes, and that I’d have trouble walking out of the studio. Unfortunately, that’s not how it turned out. Given that most of us were first timers, Collin may have gone a little light on us. Alternatively, because most of my cardio workouts are pretty high intensity I might just be used to more action. While we were moving the whole class, a lot of it was at, what I thought was, a pretty slow pace. And I found it tough to keep the form at that pace. We did some interval work but I definitely think we could have done a lot more of that.

All that said, if the classes were a little less expensive and didn’t require a ferry ride or hour long trip on the subway, I’d go back and give it another try! I definitely thought it was fun, the instructor had a great attitude and is obviously experienced in crew and indoor rowing.

photo (2)

After class we headed to brunch. Of course. And enjoyed a few Birthday sangrias! I love these ladies!


Have you tried indoor rowing or crew? What’s been the highlight of your weekend? Favorite brunch beverage: sangria or mimosa?

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