Rowing 101 @ Studio Three

Rowing machines are popping up everywhere across the city and there’s really no secret why. When done correctly, rowing can be one of the most efficient total body workouts, exercising every major muscle of the body. Instructors are taking full advantage of this total body strength and endurance workout while integrating it into high intensity interval workouts. Encouraging students to take full advantage of the benefits. However, it only takes few bad strokes to derail the potential of this machine.

For this article, Sweaty Reviews teamed up with Studio Three instructors, Kiley Hearn and Dustin Hogue, to help get the low down on rowing form and safety. Below are the questions we asked the instructors.

What is proper rowing form/technique? 

Think about pressing first through your legs until they are almost straight, then slightly hinge back as you engage the core and then pull with the arms to finish the stroke. You want to reach as far forward with the oar as you can to reset for the next stroke.

What are the common errors people make?

Rowing too fast. This exercise is about power and efficiency rather than just speed. The quicker you make your stokes (higher strokes per minute) the more likely it is that your form will suffer. Also poor posture. We always want to sit up tall and keep the core strong and engaged.

Which area of the body should I be feeling it the most in? 

Rowing is 60% legs, 20% core and 20% arms/back. With proper form, you should feel a lot of glutes as well as abdominals, biceps, and scapular muscle.

***Kiley also recommends to set up the strap around the widest part of your foot and tighten it as much as you can before starting to row!**


Bottom left displays race time; bottom right displays meters; upper left displays strokes per minute; lower right displays 500m pace

What should my average rowing pace be?

Aim to row at 250 meters per minute as an average athletic pace.

What do the numbers on the screen indicate, and which should I pay most attention to?

Your instructor will cue you to race either for time (bottom left corner) or meters (bottom right corner). You want to strive for 30 strokes per minute (in upper left) and under 2:00 for your 500m pace (on lower right).

Extras: Studio Three offers two classes (Torch & Amped) that incorporate rowing machines. These classes are offered around the clock and taught by top notch instructors in a state of the art studio using the latest equipment. The workout is designed to help you reach your ultimate fitness goals, by using a systematic approach with basic movements that are effective. Rowing intervals are combined with strength training and treadmill zones for a maximum burning workout.

Studio: Studio Three; Instructor: Kiley Hearn; Location: 648 N Clark St. Chicago, IL. 60654 (Corner of Erie and Clark St. in River North); Tel: (312)-944-3333

Click  HERE to reserve your class now! 

Ropes And Rowers @ Equinox


Studio: Equinox

Class Name: Ropes and Rowers

Address:  900 N. Michigan Ave, Chicago IL

Location: Gold Coast

Sweaty Reviews Fitness Level: Intermediate-Beast Mode

Instructor: Jim

Reviewer: Ariel

Class Review: Ropes and Rowers is the new high-intensity, full-body circuit class offered at Equinox. The class consisted of four stations including: Rowers, AMRAP (as many rounds as possible), Ropes, and medicine balls. We stayed at each station for 3 minutes each and then rotated. The full circuit was completed twice ( the class we attended was for an event, typically the circuit it done about 3 times).

The rowing station was different each time we did the circuit. The first was a straight 3-minute row, which is pretty tiring, but not too difficult. The second row was done in pairs where each partner would take turns doing a 150 meter sprint.

Next was the AMRAP station which incorporated free-weights. The exercises included lateral sumo squats, overhead presses and rotating plank toe-touches. After completing the specific number of reps, we repeated the whole round as many times as possible in the allotted 3-minutes.

Like rowing, ropes was a partner activity as well. We took turns doing ropes slams, reeling in the rope which was attached to a weighted plate and then pushing the plate back across the room.

The last section consisted of one minute of: halo squats with a medicine ball, lateral squats with a twist, and burpees on the ball.

All in all it was a great work out. The energy in the gym kept you motivated and the work-out left no body part untouched, while incorporating a good amount of heart-pumping cardio.

Instructor: Jim is the motivational drill sergeant  you actually want behind you telling you what to do. He is fun and animated and watches you every step of the way to tweak your form when necessary.

Attire: Normal workout clothes. Wear whatever you are comfortable moving around in (including a supportive sports bra if necessary).

Extras:   Equinox has multiple locations. It has a fully equipped locker room complete with showers and Kiehls products. It offers a pool, full spa services, and Wifi.  You must be a member to attend class

Would I recommend?:  Yes


Yoga Sculpt w/ Daniele P @ CorePower Yoga Gold Coast

11698416_3183211136439_4949817000754831967_nStudio: CorePower Yoga Gold Coast

Class: Yoga Sculpt

SweatyReviews Fitness Level: Advanced-Beastmode

Address: 12 W Maple St. Chicago, IL.

Instructor: Daniele Presto

Reviewer: Erica K

Class Review: Yoga Sculpt is by far one of the most challenging classes around. It  combines heat, weights and cardio for a total body workout that targets every major muscle group, boosts metabolism and pushes your strength and flexibility to the max (imagine basic c1 on steroids). 

The class began with a flow through basic yoga movements. Gradually the pace picked up and weights were added (i.e., low lunge with bicep curl). Bursts of cardio (mountain climbers, jump squats) were embedded into the routine with a full song dedicated strictly to cardio movement (high knees, jacks, a-jacks, football runs, jump squats). Chaturanga’s were worked in to the flow to help transition us between movements. The class concluded with a final floor circuit to work core and glutes (bridges).

Instructor Review: Daniele led nothing short of a challenging class. Her energy and motivational words were highly inspiring and she kept us pushing through every last rep. Throughout class, Daniele moved and scanned the room providing a known presence that led us to the finish. As a former cardio enthusiast, Daniele came into yoga and yoga sculpt as a way to get the same benefits while being gentle on her body (more info about Daniele at She even incorporated a lot of barre-type movements (isometric pulses/holds for legs and butt) for a dynamic strength and sculpting workout.

When I spoke to Daniele after class, I asked her to explain the difference between strength training in a class like Yoga Sculpt vs. sculpting in a Barre class. Daniele was more than generous to provide a brief explanation that differentiated the two workouts; both advertising toning benefits.

Here’s what she said… 

Yoga sculpt is more focused on weight bearing exercises while strength training (think holding low lunge while doing a set of bicep curls). While performing these exercises, several large muscle groups are working. For example the quad in the lunge and the biceps in the bicep curl. When I want a full body heart pumping workout Sculpt is the better option. 

Barre focuses on isolating a specific muscle group and contracting/working it to absolute fatigue through small range movements; therefore building muscle definition, endurance and stamina. “I’ve found that when I want to “spot train” (like pick a spot of my body and see results) Barre is most successful. However, every body works and reacts differently, and this is just my personal experience.

** Daniele teaches Barre Code classes at The Barre Code on Michigan Ave.** 

Would I recommend? I would absolutely consider Daniele to be one of my preferred Yoga Sculpt teachers thus far. I particularly enjoyed her energy and style, as it was the perfect balance of challenging, energetic, meditative and even fun… well as fun as sweating your face off can be 😉

Extras: There are fourteen plus CorePower Yoga studios in the Chicagoland area (Sauganash, Bucktown, Gold Coast, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, Roscoe Village, South Loop, Streeterville, Uptown, West Loop, Hyde Park, Old Town and River North). Many of the classes are available through ClassPass. However, popular class times fill up quickly and space is limited to CP users. Your first week at Core is free, as well as your second, if you buy a mat. Rental mats can are purchased for $2 and towels for $1.


Fit60 Sculpt W/ Anngela Leone @ Yoga Six

yoga 6

Studio: Yoga Six

Class: Fit60 Sculpt

Address: 1150 N State (Gold Coast)

SweatyReviews Fitness Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Instructor: Anngela Leone

Reviewer: Lindsey

 Class Review: I would typically describe other sculpt classes I have taken as strenuous, high intensity, and challenging. I always leave drenched in sweat. The Fit60 Sculpt class at Yoga Six was the off steroids (beginner version) of other sculpt classes I have taken. While it still included weights and cardio sections, the moves were less challenging with fewer reps, the room was not as warm, and the cardio bursts weren’t as intense.

Sculpt can be intimidating, so this version is perfect for someone looking to get into sculpt at a slower pace with a smaller group (there were only about 5 other people in my 6:30pm class). The studio itself is gorgeous and the front desk is super friendly. Hands down one of the nicest studios I’ve been to yet.

Instructor Review: My instructors name was Anngela. She was very friendly when I walked in; she introduced herself, handed me the weights I wanted to use, and asked the class if anyone had any injuries (which I always appreciate). The moves she instructed us to do during class were challenging enough, but the # of reps and the order we moved in didn’t have a great flow. I would have preferred to ‘max’ out squats then move to abs instead of constantly intertwining them. I felt it was harder for me to feel the burn with this choreography. Her overall attitude and motivation was great.

Would I recommend? I would recommend this class for a sculpt newbie. I feel someone who is used to taking heated yoga sculpt at other studios might be underwhelmed.


Yoga Six extends a 15% discount to full-time students, teachers, fitness professionals, seniors (65+) and active military personnel and dependents.

Yoga Six allows friends and family members to share 10 and 20 class cards. 10 and 20 class cards may be shared between friends, siblings and couples. Class cards may be shared. Monthly unlimited memberships cannot be shared.


NEW Core Fusion Extreme @ Exhale

Studio: Exhale

Class: New Core Fusion Extreme

Address: 945 N State St (Gold Coast)

SweatyReviews Fitness Level: Advanced – Beastmode

Instructors: John Nelson or Holly Keskey-Koester

Reviewer: Lindsey

Class Review: If you are looking for a true circuit training class that moves at an extremely fast pace, this class is for you! Each month the circuit changes – which is awesome because you have the full month to master the moves and get stronger at the ones you struggle with. The class begins with a quick explanation of all the moves, a warm up, the workout (~40 minutes), core work, and a stretch. Expect 5 stations with 2 exercises at each one. Each exercise is 40 seconds long followed by a 10 second recovery (you will be at each station for about 4 minutes). The moves range from TRX, to cardio movements, to strength exercises. Overall it will rev your heart rate up really quickly.

Instructor Review:  Both John and Holly are awesome instructors. They keep an eye on everyone and make sure that your form is right. They are high energy and help make the class go by really quickly. I can always hear them say “You will leave stronger than when you came in” regardless of what class I’m at.

Extras: Exhale is a beautiful studio. It is also a spa so it has a great locker room with towels, robes, flipflops, etc. This is my go to spot when I have to workout in the morning. They offer everything from barre, to ‘EXTREME’, to yoga.


Exhale Studio

Fusion Fest at Exhale

Studio: Exhale

Teacher: John Nelson (Assisted by Holly Keskey-Koester)

Class Name: Core Fusion Barre

Address: 945 N. State

Sweaty Reviews Fitness Level: Beginner – Advanced

Would I recommend?: Yes


Studio/Class Review: I always tell my girlfriend who loves barre classes (“ballet inspired, core-centric classes”)  that I can’t go with her because they aren’t hardcore enough for me. I’d been to Pure Barre before and I left thinking “how do people think this is a workout.”

Well if you aren’t a believer in Barre or haven’t taken a Barre class, checkout Core Fusion Barre at Exhale. From the moment I entered the room there was nonstop exercises from the bar to the floor. My a$$ was on fire and I was dripping sweat. We held several 2 minute planks while squeezing a ball between our thighs and we did so many plies that I thought I’d never walk again. If you want high energy, constant movement, and an all around solid workout without too much cardio impact this class is for you.

Barre is done either barefoot or with Socks. I recommend the Exhale’s no-slip grip socks … because trust me, you will slip!

Instructor Review: The instructor John was super motivating and full of energy. He (and Holly) were constantly walking around the room to give hands on assist. They genuinely wanted you to do the exercises correctly and were very attentive to everyone in the room. Johns personality made the hour barre class feel like 20 minutes.

Extras: Yesterday was Fusion Fest – The Annual Core Fusion Party! There was a DJ in the studio, free food, and giveaways. It was such a fun experience to be part of!

Also, if you didn’t know, Exhale is also a Spa. Checkout their services here at

If you love a deal (and who doesn’t) checkout the special deals for Exhale Spa on GiltCity right now ( or just schedule your appointment online and you will receive 25% off! GO NOW!

Had the best time getting  a solid barre workout in at Exhale for Fusion Fest!

Had the best time getting a solid barre workout in at Exhale for Fusion Fest!

SWEAT Chicago

Studio: SWEAT Chicago

Teacher: Paul Michael Rahn

Class Name: SWEAT

Address: 1165 N. State

Sweaty Reviews Fitness Level: Beastmode

Would I recommend?:  Yes


Studio Review: I had been to SWEAT one time before, right when they opened, and I didn’t remember loving it. I decided I would give it another shot since I am looking to spice up my workout routine. The class is described as a “high intensity, circuit-based course, designed to maximize a total body workout and leave you toned and defined.” The essence is HIIT circuits… and that is exactly what I got!

In the beginning of class the instructor walked through all of the circuit exercises and then had us do a 5 minute warm up. I was a bit worried at first that I wouldn’t get a good workout in as we spent the first 15 minutes of class not doing much, but 45 minutes of class is ALL YOU NEED (and can handle, trust me!). The class was meant to target your butt, so the circuits were filled with squats, rowing, uphill running, etc. As I write this review my a$$ and thighs are literally burning.

Obviously others have caught on to how great this class is; it was packed (30 people) and there was even a wait list to get in (I know because I asked for a girlfriend who wanted to meet me).

Also, the studio is in an awesome location, right on the corner of State & Division. It is currently going through renovation so when you walk in, it looks like no one is home (but don’t worry the classes are all held in the basement, so if you get confused, just head for the stairs).

I definitely SWEAT(ed) to the next level and so happy I gave it another shot! I will be back!

Teacher Review: It turns out that my teacher, Paul, was the owner of the studio. He was extremely energetic and motivating throughout class. He even cracked a few a$$ jokes in the beginning (since it was butt day and all) which was fun! He also gives hands on corrections, which I really appreciate. Nothing is worse than spending 10 minutes on an exercise that you are doing wrong. I look forward to signing up for more classes with him and get SWEAT(y)!

Sweat, Review, Repeat