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Portrait of Tammy Strobel


Rowing has been dubbed “the new spinning” as a wave of indoor rowing studios with dark rooms and upbeat music have been sprouting up in the US and UK. That trend has sailed its way to Singapore with the opening of Row Revolution, the island’s first dedicated indoor rowing studio. A common misconception with the rower is that it trains only your upper body. “About 80 per cent of power for each stroke is generated from your legs, back and core,” says Row Revolution founder David han. Here, your stats are flashed on the screen as you tackle rowing intervals and static exercises designed to fire up your core muscles. the best part? Zero impact on your knees. Visit for more info.

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Big HIIT, low impact

This rowing circuit proves you can get a serious calorie burn and build strength while still going easy on your joints.

Even though it’s low-impact, don’t let that fool you. this total-body workout will be just as fiercely sweaty and sculpting as your usual high-intensity routine, without the running, jumping, and other jolts.

“You are still elevating your heart rate and achieving excess postexercise oxygen consumption, or epoC, where your body continues to burn calories after your workout,” says Justin norris, a co-founder of the lit Method studio in los angeles. The difference is that Justin designed this pyramidstyle circuit to have zero pounding by using a rowing machine (you can find one in any gym) for speed intervals and joint-friendly body-weight moves for resistance that correct muscle im - balances and help reduce injury. this combo, Justin says, “will build you, not break you.”

Rowing is the perfect cardio for keeping your workouts low-impact because it still recruits a whopping 86 per cent of your muscles, research in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found. Your power output is distributed varyingly among your legs (60 per cent), core (20 per cent), and arms (20 per cent).

To keep yourself accountable – and your intensity through the roof – race against yourself as you do the row intervals. Try to improve your 300-metre, 200-metre, and then 100-metre rowing times throughout each circuit. Do this workout three times a week on alternate days, Justin says, and aim to crank out more reps of each body-weight move as you progress.




Hard (Rpe*: an 8 or a 9 out of 10)


A rower


20 minutes



*Rate of perceived exertion; see for chart.

**Calorie burn is based on a 64kg woman.


You’ll do three circuits that alternate between rowing sprints and body weight moves for as many reps as possible in one-minute intervals. (With each circuit, the distance of the rowing interval decreases.) 


Row for 200 metres at a slow and controlled tempo.



• 300-metre sprint
• 1 minute push-ups
• 300-metre sprint
• 1 minute mountain climbers
• 300-metre sprint

• 1 minute commandos: Start on floor in plank on palms. Lower onto right forearm and then left forearm. Press into right palm and then left palm to return to start.


Lower knees to floor during push-ups and commandos.


Add a push-up to each high plank during commandos.



• 200-metre sprint
• 1 minute air squats
• 200-metre sprint
• 1 minute alternating reverse lunges: Start by standing with feet together, then step right foot back, lowering into a lunge, knees bent at 90 degrees. Press off right foot to return to start. Switch sides; repeat. Continue alternating.
• 200-metre sprint

• 1 minute glute bridge: Start lying faceup on floor, knees bent, feet flat. Press into heels to lift hips, forming a straight line from knees to shoulders. Hold for 1 minute.


Perform reverse lunges on one side for 30 seconds. Switch sides; repeat.


Holding bridge lift, alternate driving each knee in toward chest.



• 100-metre sprint
• 1 minute roll-ups: Start lying faceup on floor, legs extended and arms behind head, biceps by ears.
 Lift arms to reach toward ceiling, then slowly roll torso up off floor, reaching forward to touch fingers to toes. Reverse movement to return to start, taking 3 seconds to reach floor.
• 100-metre sprint
• 1 minute leg lifts: Start lying faceup on floor, legs extended toward ceiling, palms on floor next to hips. Slowly lower straight legs to hover off floor for 3 seconds, stopping when lower back comes off floor. Lift legs to return to start.
• 100-metre sprint

• 1 minute forearm plank hold


Perform leg lifts with knees bent at 90-degree angles,  lowering toes to tap floor.


Holding forearm plank, drive right knee to right elbow. Switch sides; repeat. Continue alternating.


The rowing motion works legs, core, and arms in that order. With feet strapped into the rower and hands gripping the handle, palms facing down, explosively straighten legs without locking your knees. Lean back slightly with a flat back, engaging your abs, then row the handle to the bottom centre of chest (about where your bra band hits), elbows wide for 1 second. Reverse the movement to return to start for 2 seconds.

"Rowing is the whole package: intense cardio and total-body sculpting all in one."
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Crossfit shifted my focus to what I could do

Burpees, weight sleds, barbell lifts – AMELIA GARRIS, 28, slays them all. She talks about the life-changing power of building serious strength.

One of my favorite Crossfit WODs is dubbed Grace: You do 30 clean-and- presses, lifting the barbell from the ground to overhead, then lowering back down. The standard for women is to be able to lift 30kg, and that’s what I do, only I’m in my wheelchair. It’s seriously tiring doing a workout like that, but I feel amazing. If I can lift heavy, I feel successful. It ignites a fire in me.

I like to say that Crossfi t put my head back on after I lost the use of my right leg to nerve damage (I was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome five and a half years ago). When physical therapists told me they couldn’t help me any further in my rehab, my mom looked at me and said, “You’re going to the gym tomorrow.” I couldn’t run, and I couldn’t walk without crutches, but the next day, when I went to Crossfit, people didn’t look at me di erently – because everyone has to modify things in Crossfit. So I just fit in.

Learning how to work out again was difficult, but once you accomplish something – even if it’s a small milestone – it’s like, wow. I wanted to lift big weights and do everything that everyone else was doing. I just kept going heavier and heavier, and the dierence it made both inside and out was quite beautiful.

I started coaching track and soccer at the middle school and high school I attended in Rhode Island – the same sports I played when I was there. I got the confidence to apply for graduate school. Then I landed a great job at an aerospace and defense company halfway across the country. I now do cardio daily and lift every other day, but Crossfit gave me a foundation to be the athlete and person I am. It has even taught me that I can surpass my old self.