The Anatomy of a Class: TR45 and TR30

Posted on Posted in Benefits, Fitness, Rowing

So where do the Oars go?

While cleaning up after a class one day, I had a confused gentleman walk into the Total Row studio, look at our Water Rowers, and ask, “I don’t understand; where do the oars go?” After explaining that these are not actual boats in water (FYI there are no oars), it dawned on us that since Total Row is the first of its kind in Atlanta, many potential crew members will be unsure of what actually goes on during a class.


Today, we will try to dispel some of the confusion around Total Row’s workouts, starting with our TR45 and TR30 classes (cross-training style classes where you work both on and OFF the rower). This article will break down a few example sections within a typical class, why we are doing it, and how it will make you stronger, fitter, and healthier.


What is TR45 and TR30

Although Total Row offers rowing only classes (Row 30 and Indo Row), our TR classes are a fun and challenging blend of both rowing and off machine exercises that utilize slam balls (so fun), kettle bells (not quite as fun), and core work (summer body ready?), in 30 and 45 minute flavors.


Our TR classes are fundamentally based on three ideas:

  • One-Stop-Shop Total Body Workout: Rowing alone can burn up to 900 calories an hour, work 9 of 11 muscle groups on each stroke, and target 84% of all muscles in your body.  By complimenting a nearly perfect exercise in rowing with our targeted off machine workout, you are able to hit the other two muscle groups (chest and triceps), for a 100% total body workout.

  • Circuit Style Training Burns More Calories: An important benefit of circuit training (quickly moving between different exercises) is that by targeting different muscle groups in sequence, you will not burn out as quickly (different muscles used in different exercises) on minimal rest, leading to continuous work and a higher SUSTAINED heart rate (read: total calories burned). This is not like going to a typical gym, bench pressing for 10 seconds, and taking a 5 minute break.  Our goal in a TR class is to manage the muscles worked and associated intensity, so that your heart rate stays elevated and you gain as many fitness benefits as possible.

  • It’s Fun: Not everyone wants to just row all day everyday (WHAT?!).  By switching back and forth between rowing and new cross-training exercises, your workout stays fresh, new, and effective!


Now, let’s jump into the fun part…


The Workout

For the sake of brevity, I only posted the first three sections of this TR 45 class: (1) The warm-up / pressure test; (2) A rowing set; and (3) A cross training set. A standard TR class would have 2-3 rowing waves, 2-3 cross-training sets, and one race at the end. This is only one of many workouts, each containing an endless amount of twists, turns, and new fun available!


Warm-up / Pressure Test

We start every class with a relatively easy warm-up and pressure test. As you can see above, the warm-up lasts 3 minutes at a stroke rate of less than 24 SPM (strokes per minute). During the warm-up, we will explain how to use your monitor, track your progress, and execute proper form. The pressure test (while sounding a little intimidating) is a basic ladder set that is conducted to practice our three most important strokes rates: 24 SPM (low pressure; good for long, slow endurance sets), 26 SPM (medium pressure; great for cruising at a decent clip), and 28 SPM (full pressure; not sustainable long-term). Our talented instructors will walk you through the whole thing, and we will be right there with you.


Rowing Set

This is our bread-and-butter, and will always comprise the soul of each workout.  By itself, there is simply no single exercise that is better: It is total body, a great cardio challenge, and burns calories like no other (for more details, visit our article on rowing’s benefits HERE). In this class, our first rowing wave consists of a 5 minute endurance pyramid – a relatively short rowing wave, meant to build on our warm-up and begin increasing our heart rate. We start at our low pressure of 24 SPM (maintaining great rowing form), steadily build up to full pressure (28 SPM) as we enjoy great jams, and finally make our way back down the pyramid to 24 SPM.


Endurance waves are designed to improve your general fitness and build strength with limited recovery.  These waves give us the fitness foundation to do faster, more intense waves and races later in your training. Endurance waves are generally aerobic, meaning they are sustainable over a longer period and your body can take in enough oxygen to continue working at that rate. However without this fitness base, we could never go to anaerobic sets (not sustainable; think sprints), which deliver intense calorie burn and strength development. You need both for a complete fitness regiment, and you will get that in our classes.


Cross-training Set

As stated earlier, we love adding in diverse cross-training sets to keep the workout fresh and target the few muscles not hit by rowing. We typically utilize slam balls, kettle bells, and your own body weight. In this particular workout, our first cross-training set incorporates the always fun slam balls for a total of 7 minutes. The set consists of 3 rounds, each containing 3 exercises. This is a relatively long cross-training set.

  • Ball Squat to Overhead Toss: This is a compound movement that will light up every muscle in your body.  You begin with a standard squat, holding the slam ball at your chest. After dropping into your squat, you explode back to the starting position, using the momentum from your leg press to push the ball into the air directly overhead. This exercise is great because it works both your triceps and chest (aside from many others), which are the only two groups not targeted when rowing. If you keep a good pace going, you will be out of breath in no time, and will quickly discover why this move is perfect for fat loss.

  • Overhead Slams: Another seriously compound movement that will deliver a huge calorie burn, this exercise puts slightly more emphasis on the upper body (while also letting you unload some frustration as your slam!). Chest and triceps are again worked, with your core and lower body also used in the slamming motion. A minute here makes for lots of “fun”.

  • Mountain Climbers: These are a great way to light up your cardiovascular system, chest/shoulders/triceps, and core.  30 seconds here is a whirlwind, but don’t worry, you get a 30 second break before beginning round 2!


Final Thoughts

As you can see, our off-machine circuit training sets are specifically designed to complement the nearly perfect movement of rowing. When you take a TR 30 (30 minutes) or TR 45 (45 minutes) class, we guarantee that you will work every muscle in your body, burn plenty of calories to enjoy your favorite post-workout snack/drink/dessert, and that we have the modifications necessary to complete the workout at any fitness level.


So How do I Join the fun?

At Total Row, you will have access to fun, high-quality classes on world-class equipment, taught by some of the best instructors in the Atlanta area. We are excited to spread the word on rowing’s numerous benefits, and hope to see you in one of our soon!


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