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Work It Out: Shock Your Body

Posted by Alexa Pozniak  July 12, 2013 11:27 AM

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Every Thursday at noon, Equinox on Dartmouth Street in Boston serves up slices of pie. No, it’s not scrumptious apple with a hint of cinnamon, nor is it gooey blueberry. It’s humble pie…in the form of a class called Shockwave.

Billed as “extreme cross-training at its finest,” the workout is comprised of six high-intensity circuits. The knock-out punch comes in the form of two additional circuits that involve rowing machines, which, I would quickly learn, put the “shock” in Shockwave.
The class began with a warm-up round that acclimated everyone to each exercise. Minutes later, the music and intensity level were cranked high and it was go time.

We would rotate through six different stations that lined the perimeter of the room. Each exercise, like squats, sit-ups, and push-ups, targeted different sets of muscles. In the middle of the circular set-up were six Indo-row machines. These high-tech apparatuses are filled with water and work to mimic the feel of actual rowing.

Now, here’s the twist, and perhaps what makes this class so unique – the competitive element. The length of time participants spend at each station rests solely on the broad, yet rapidly fatiguing, shoulders of the rowers. The instructor assigns a distance they must row. For the first round, it is 300 meters, then 200 meters, and the final round concludes with 100 meters. Participants cannot move on to the next circuit until each rower finishes.

That means there’s pressure to go all out and row, row, row your boat as quickly as humanly possible down the stream. Because the competitive juices take over, you don’t realize that what this circuit is really doing is driving you to push your body to the absolute limit. That is, until you step off the machine and you feel like Jell-o.

This was my first time using a rowing machine and I was really surprised by what a great workout it provides. According to Equinox, it burns the most number of calories in the shortest amount of time with the lowest rate of exertion of any cardio exercise. And it’s also non-weight bearing, making it easy on the joints. What’s not to love?

The camaraderie among the people who take the class was an added bonus. Participants were paired up into groups of two with one person, usually a class veteran, elected as team captain. Some pairs worked perfectly in sync, while others were of different abilities but cheered each other on in the process.

By the end of class, one thing was for certain - this workout was no joke. After three rounds, every single muscle in my body was awakened and shaking. After class let out, the thought of walking three blocks to my car suddenly seemed next to impossible. This workout is not for everyone, something even the instructor acknowledged. But if you want to be pushed to the limit, soaked in sweat, and get introduced to some like-minded fitness fanatics, then step right up for a slice of pie.

Equinox, Dartmouth Street, Boston,, single club membership $154/month, check web site for class schedule.

Do you have an idea of a workout we should feature? Tweet me @ApozTv.

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.


Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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