CITYROW Upper East Side

New YorkRowing,


byAshley Lyddane Beberus, July 11, 2017

CITYROW advertises their workout as a “high intensity, low impact, total body workout.” Low impact, yes. Total body, yes. High intensity, not quite. On a positive note, CITYROW does make the rower more accessible and less intimidating. If you are looking to break up your high impact workouts with something different or if you are intrigued by the rower, give CITYROW a chance. The CITYROW Upper East Side studio is still relatively new but even so, the amenities are not on par with other boutique fitness experiences in NYC.



The studio is set up with CITYROW-branded WaterRower Natural rowing machines and each rower has a mat beside it. You don’t have to worry about booking a rower so  just choose your space when you walk in and you are pretty much ready to go. The space is pretty plain and the bright overhead lighting is a bit institutional but it keeps you alert.

The class started with a warm-up on the rower to loosen up and to review proper form. We also warmed up on the mat with some active stretching.  We then got back on the rowers but started slowly – looking back, it isn’t clear where the warm-up ended and the workout began. The instructor gave us the cue to set our distance goal to 250 meters, which we would repeat several times. For each distance repeat, our instructor provided a target strokes per minute number, which alternated between 22 or 26 for every other interval. This goal was more than manageable; at times it was actually hard to keep it that low. Each time we repeated 250 meters, she wanted us to improve our split time, which we were supposed to do by increasing the power of our stroke.

After some time on the rower, we got down on the mat with one heavy set of weights. The first floor segment was a four-minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible): five sets on the right followed by five sets on the left equaled one round. The moves were side lunge to the right/left, squat, curl to rack the weights, squat thruster to come up.

For round two on the rower, 500 meters was our new target, and we hit it four times. The second floor segment was another four-minute AMRAP: 10 bicep curls (inside/outside) and 10 shoulder presses.

When we got back onto the rower, we set our distance goal to 100 meters for the sprint segment. We were finally able to break free from the target strokes per minute and we could go as fast as we could while maintaining good form. The last round on the floor was a combination of all the moves we had done throughout the class in a deconstructed, three-minute AMRAP.  Our instructor kept time for us as we flowed through the moves: 30 seconds of side lunges to the right, 30 seconds of side lunges to the left, 15 seconds of curls and 15 seconds of shoulder presses. After our final floor segment, we got back on the rower for two final pushes which were each 30 seconds in length (as opposed to a set distance) at our sprint speed. To wrap up, there was a brief cool down and stretch.


Lisa is a spunky, energetic, athletic woman. She definitely has a relationship with her regulars but didn’t take the time to introduce herself to the new people in the class. That isn’t to say she wasn’t friendly; she certainly has that demeanor, but she didn’t go out of her way. She moved us through the workout at a good pace, which can be attributed to her own energy level. Her music was great, but it was more like background noise. Her cues for distance, strokes per minute targets and rowing form took center stage.

She was a stronger instructor on the rower than she was on the floor. She broke down the proper rowing form each time we got back on the rower and rowed with us during each segment. It was clear that some people were able to hit target strokes per minute that were faster than what was being provided; however, Lisa never adjusted the targets or provided a target range to make the class scalable to different abilities. On the floor, she demonstrated all of the moves we did but once it was our turn, the timing of the AMRAP was her primary focus (over form), which was detrimental to several members of the class.


The Upper East side location of CITYROW is quite spacious and takes up two floors. When you first walk in, there is a check-in desk with a greeter, a small retail space and a refrigerator with Smartwater. There is a studio on this floor (which they only use on Saturdays for the Fundamentals class), a couple of bathrooms and lockers with digital locks. Downstairs, you’ll find the main studio, three toilets, a men’s locker room, a women’s locker room and one shower. The women’s locker room is just that: a small room with 14 lockers. The one shower is in its own (lockable) room and is for co-ed use. There is shampoo, conditioner and bodywash (Malin + Goetz) in the shower. Other than the products in the shower and the hand soap at the sink, there are no other amenities: no deodorant, lotion, tissues, q-tips or plastic baggies for your used workout gear. So be prepared. In the women’s locker room, there is a small counter with a mirror and one hair dryer. The space probably works well for those who live in the area and don’t need to rely on the shower or amenities, but if you’re not a local client, you’ve been warned.

CITYROW Upper East Side

1409 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10075
Upper East Side Rowing $$$$

CITYROW Upper East Side

Upper East Side Rowing, $$$$

1409 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10075

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