THE LUXURY LOOK Row, Row, Row, and Go
A new machine with live-broadcasted workouts from the water can make you forget that you’re rowing indoors. Paired with a grab-and-go bag of simple exercise equipment, the duo achieves results in 30 minutes or less each day.
It was the year of the home gym, and good habits die hard. Consumers looking to mix up their workout routines with the latest technology can consider Hydrow. If you have tried a traditional rowing machine, this isn’t that.
According to Bruce Smith, Hydrow’s founder and CEO, traditional rowing machines haven’t changed in about 35 years. “Until now, all rowing machines have relied on mechanical resistance mechanisms that are loud and noisy and don’t accurately simulate the resistance of a boat on the water,” he says. Plus, if you’ve ever wanted to row the Thames in London, the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts, or the San Francisco Bay, Hydrow takes you there, virtually. The machine is 7 feet long and connected to Live Outdoor Reality (LOR) technology, which streams live and on-demand workouts from idyllic waterways worldwide.
A former competitive rower and an experienced coach at the national level, Smith dedicated the past 20 years to quantifying what happens physiologically during a rowing stroke. With that data, his team created a rowing algorithm, built a computer system, and then refined Hydrow’s rowing mechanism using electromagnets and a cast-iron wheel. “The resistance changes 240 times per second to replicate that feeling of being on the water,” Smith explains. “It’s super smooth and super responsive.”
Hydrow is also unique for its immersive rowing experience, not only connecting users to other Hydrow owners who are rowing in the same virtual boat, but also for filming the instructor-led rowing sessions on location and in real-time. “A major part of the experience is broadcasting live from the river and broadcasting that to your home in high definition, and you just couldn’t do that [before],” Smith says. “The technology wasn’t available.”
A complementary fitness buy with a much smaller footprint is the KICHGO bag. Created by Kit Rich, a personal trainer who has worked with stars such as Kesha and Jennifer Lawrence, the KICHGO bag was born when Rich needed to streamline a collection of exercise equipment that could easily travel with her when she was touring with musician clients or spending weeks at a filming site with a Hollywood actor. “I had to think about the equipment that I really needed to take and what would give me the most bang for the buck,” she says.
Rich acknowledges that the equipment inside a KICHGO bag—resistance bands, a Pilates Core ball, a jump rope, resistance loops, dual-sided sliders, and other accessories—isn’t complicated or fancy. “It’s the workouts that are unique and fun and inventive,” she says. “When it comes to working out, the majority of people struggle to even do it. I’m trying to get rid of all the barriers.”
KICHGO downloadable workout videos are no longer than 30 minutes and generally require only two pieces of equipment from the bag—a conscious decision that Rich made knowing that teaching via a pre-recorded workout video can get complicated. “The simpler I keep it, the more effective it is,” she says. “You can’t live the life you want to live without being healthy, and a fitness routine shouldn’t be the thing that gets in the way.” —Shaun Tolson