Tucked in the corner of most gyms is an often neglected machine: the rower. While neglected in many gyms, the rower is gaining popularity as a boutique workout. You can find rowing classes in New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta and, yes, Greenville, too. Greenville has its own rowing studio, Greenville Indoor Rowing, which offers a full schedule of classes.
Classes are a lot like cycling classes with fun music and an instructor-led routine. Unlike spin classes, which focus on lower body training, a rowing class provides a full-body workout. According to Lowell Caylor, owner of Greenville Indoor Rowing, the rowing machine works 86 percent of the muscles in your body.
Caylor began rowing as a way to stay fit after retiring from the Cleveland Browns.
“I had determined that I was not going to be one of those players who left the NFL and became completely out of shape,” he said. “I was in a gym in Denver doing all sorts of different exercises and saw this little machine back in the corner that never had anyone on it. One day, there was a young lady on it who was so fit. I went down to talk with her and she was a member of a crew team training off season. She invited me to work out with her, and I have been using the rowing machine ever since.”
Caylor loved the machine so much that he opened his own rowing studio to begin teaching others the sport. Class participants love the camaraderie and family atmosphere that Caylor promotes.
“Lowell is fantastic,” said Ed Collier, a long-time class participant. “He keeps you motivated. It is a great group of people.”
While participants are having fun, they are also seeing results. Collier has been rowing for the past three years. He has lost 65 pounds and is down four pants sizes. Much of his weight loss, 52 pounds, was shed in his first year of rowing — and surprisingly, without any dietary changes. He rows for an hour and a half three times per week. Group classes last one hour, but Collier is training for distance rowing events and comes in to use the machine prior to his class.
Participants love the intense workout because it is low impact and easy on the body. While rowing can help you become an athlete, Caylor said that you don’t have to be an athlete to start.
“We have a very eclectic group of people,” he said. “It is not intimidating at all to start.”
The gym tracks athletes on their journeys and celebrates important rowing milestones by hanging certificates on the wall when participants reaches one million meters. Collier has surpassed six million meters.
If you want to try indoor rowing, Greenville Indoor Rowing offers a free orientation session to train you in the proper technique, and the first class is free. Greenville Indoor Rowing It is located at 576 Woodruff Road.