Get Your Row On: Meet the New Fitness Sensation in Jax

Rower at Row House. Photo from


You’ve seen cycling classes, boot camps, CrossFit gyms, even trampoline fitness throughout Jacksonville, but have you met the newest addition to enter the fitness scene? Row House is Jacksonville’s very first rowing-based group fitness studio located in the heart of San Marco.

When walking through the door, you enter a lobby full of Row House merchandise to the left and the front desk straight ahead. A kiosk awaits for members to clock in, and a helpful front desk representative is there to assist if you have any questions. They also provide lockers for convenience to place your personal items while working out.

Stepping into the workout studio, you’re greeted with an all-black room full of ergs — yes, the rowing machine has an official name. An erg is preassigned to you after signing up for that class. As a first-time rower, you will receive a crash course for rowing 101. Like having good form in squatting or deadlifting, your form in rowing is just as important. Surprisingly, rowing is similar to deadlifting as in you are hinging at your hips, using your legs for momentum then the arms follow the lead. The main misconception about rowing is that it’s an upper-body exercise. However, rowing is 60 percent lower body, 30 percent core, and 10 percent upper body, making it a total body low impact workout.

“I’d always seen rowing fitness gyms around the rest of the United States,” Head Lead Coach at San Marco Row House Amelia Krug says. “But we didn’t have any in Jacksonville,”

After taking some personal time off to be a mother, Krug began to see pop-up ad for hiring at Row House, and the head coach position piqued her interest.

“This is for me,” Krug affirms. “This is what I want to do. This is going to be my way to get back into coaching again.”

Krug is a self-titled rowing buff. With a long history of rowing experience dating back to age 11, Krug loves all things rowing-related and enjoys combining her passion with her profession.

“Rowing is awesome because it’s cardio with resistance. You get that cardiovascular training so it’s great for your heart but because of the way that weight is applied to the handle it’s also resistance training.”

Row House offers six different class types that also incorporate floor work segments with interval training styles fit for beginners to the well-versed crowd.

Inclusivity is Row House’s number one value. As Krug notes, “Our classes are for everybody [and] accessible to everybody. We have members of all ages. We have people who are 20 years old, working out 5-7 days a week, and we have people who are in their 70s and been active their whole life and want to continue to exercise.”

Another benefit of taking a rowing class is the sense of community. As everyone is rowing in sync to the music-driven beats from sweet melodies to the latest upbeat jams, you can feel the energy in the room increase and pulse through each stroke. Without words, the atmosphere motivates you to work harder – even though Coach Krug does a good job of feeding into that too.

“You feel the support of community in the room. You are encouraged just by the peers that are next to you. We’re all in it together. It’s been amazing to see people work together for something bigger than just their own personal goals.”

Krug advises it’s best for someone looking to begin their fitness journey by picking an activity they enjoy during a time they can fulfill.

“Row House is a great environment for beginners because the rowing machine is effort-based. You get what you put into it. Because it is effort-based, you are in control of how hard your workout is. When you first join, you’re not going to row as many meters in your workout as what you would six months from now because you’re going to learn how to work harder.”

Most people come to the studio with a general feeling of uncertainty because rowing is not something that they’ve done besides a couple of rows here and there in the gym but not for a prolonged period of time. Rowing is about adapting and building confidence while making progress. Krug loves to see people grow an appreciation for rowing and as a coach, it excites her to see others reach goals they didn’t think they could attain.

“People are learning so much about rowing and everyone feels accomplished after they finish a class because, in the beginning, they didn’t think they could do it.”

Join in on the fun by attending a class and test your rowing skills. You might surprise yourself. Row House is currently open, but the official grand opening weekend is August 26-29. Come out and enjoy member events, free classes, giveaways and more. It’s going to be a be a big party for four days straight.

Row House: 1561 San Marco Blvd. Jacksonville, FL; // @rowhousesanmarco

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