Local gym embraces new-slash-old exercise trend

Remember that dusty old rowing machine in the corner of the gym? Well, it’s been redesigned and reimagined for an exercise class trend that is sweeping the nation. Some are crediting the resurgence of its popularity to a TV show that features the exercise, calling it the “House of Cards” effect.

Now, Marathon has it too.

“In terms of full-body workouts, it is second only to swimming,” said Chris Kuck of Keys Strength and Conditioning. The gym has opened a second location next to D’Asign Source called Island Row-botics powered by Keys Strength.

The new studio opens on Monday, June 15, offering five classes a day Monday through Friday and two on Saturday. It is big enough to fit the six professional rowing machines (more are on the way), complete with air conditioning, music and TVs mounted on the walls. The machines themselves have a computer screen where rowers can enter the workout, and track their progress.

Kuck and his wife, Liz, have already tested the machines out on its members. Sharon Bennett-Caba took a class after a 19-year hiatus from the rowing machine.

“It was great. I love the machines they have,” she said.

Just like the group training classes offered at the “box” gym on 107th street, each workout is different.

“We can row for time, distance or calories,” Kuck said.

Rowing workouts look like a swim workout; for example, 250 meters x 10, 15 second rest. Rowers go at their own pace and keep track of the workout with the 5-inch digital display. Kuck said it’s suitable for very physically fit members as well as those just beginning to train. One client who has knee, back and hip problems uses the rowing machine to warm up.

“She has less discomfort on the machine than she does just walking around,” he said.

Kuck, who played football and baseball in college in Jacksonville, knows the effectiveness of rowing.

“When we skipped class, our punishment was to show up at the rowing center,” he said, adding that he walked in to the center as a group of young women were just finishing their exercise. By the looks of it, he was expecting it to be easy.

“My teammates and I showed up and in five minutes … well, it turned into something. Rowing is super effective,” he said, laughing.

Keys Strength and Conditioning opened in October of 2014. In February of 2015, it expanded to its new location in a warehouse on 107th Street.

“We’ve experienced really quick growth and we want to thank the community for its support,” Kuck said. He said it’s also a matter of the right workout at the right time.

“The style of fitness that we offer, its for your overall health — flexibility, range of motion and strength. It’s not just for looks.”

To sign up:

Keys Strength and Conditioning clients buy packages starting at $80 for four sessions to $205 for unlimited rowing and training classes in a month. Members pay in advance (renewal rates are less expensive) and use a smartphone app to book a class. For more information, visit www.keysstrength.com, call 305-453-4969 or email [email protected]

The benefits of rowing

• Burns calories. Compared to running or spinning, rowing burns more calories — how much depends on your gender and weight. Because rowing elevates the hear rate and keeps it there, rowers report better cardiovascular ability and endurance.

• Low impact. Rowing is good for those with injuries (knees, for example) who need to recover. It’s also a good cross-training exercise for devoted runners and cyclists who require more exercise without risking injury in their primary sport.

• Full-body workout. One stroke on the rowing machine uses 12 muscles. And, because it offers resistance, those muscles are located on both the front and back of the body. Rowing is engages the legs (50 percent), the core (20 percent), and the arms.


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