Scullhouse is one of Toronto's only dedicated indoor studios with an unapologetic high-intensity focus on rowing. It emphasizes the group aspect of rowing with a synchronized swish of the machine for a 55-minute high-energy row.
Kristin Jeffrey, a seasoned rower who represented Canada at the World Rowing Championship in Poland in 2009 wanted to bring indoor rowing to Toronto after seeing a surge in popularity in the U.S.
Made popular by House of Cards’ Frank Underwood's reliance on his water rower, Scullhouse is a nod to the soothing aspects of rowing.
Jeffrey likens it to a moving meditation as you get lost in your mind at the repetitive motion of pulling back and pushing forward for 10 or 15 minutes a time, interrupted by a one minute HIIT interval on the mat.
The full-body conditioning uses a Concept2 rowing machine. The machines display stroke rate and split time at eye level making it easier to compete against yourself and the class.
A Scullhouse row puts 85 per cent of the muscles in your body to work. According to Jeffrey, rowing burns more calories per minute than cycling or running, and the after burn effect lasts long after you’ve completed the workout.
Scullhouse offers four class varieties; the Classic Row, Core Row focuses on ab work, Express Row is for the lunchtime crowd with shorter intervals and Row and Flow combines rowing and yoga, or as Jeffery puts it “I don't yell at people quite as much.”
Located near King and Jarvis, ScullHouse makes rowing accessible to all. Each class begins with a technique session intended for both beginners and experienced rowers.
You build a dynamic workout around that stroke, as a way for everyone to start moving together.
There are three segments of the rowing workout, each with its own pace that add up to 30-minutes of rowing. The HIIT intervals are designed to fire up a core muscle that transfer well into rowing, like explosive squats and glute work.
The front reception and glowing Scullhouse sign greet you as you enter. There's a weight room and one single class studio.
Classes are capped at 19 participants and one instructor who rides with you throughout the class. Once you're in the groove, the rhythmic motion helps mute your mind and quite soon the 55-minute class comes to an end.
Jeffery emphasizes the team row because the team aspect makes a challenging workout that much more manageable. It carries you through the hard parts of the workout when you want to give up.
The rhythmic motion as the class moves together introduces a moving meditation mindset. The moving meditation aspect of rowing helps to calm the mind, and thats one of the enjoyable benefits I had during my first session at Scullhouse.
Single classes cost $26, a 5-Pack is$125 and an 8 Classes/Month Membership with set you back $176/month.