Row House in Solana Beach brings teamwork to group fitness

(Karen Billing)

Solana Beach’s newest fitness boutique hopes to give everyone the confidence to take on the erg, the sometimes intimidating indoor rowing machine. Stressing camaraderie and teamwork, Row House offers an effective rowing workout in an inclusive environment where all strengths and abilities can row as one.

Twin sisters Orly Rieselman and Sharone McGovern own the studio in Beach Walk Shopping Center, the first Row House location in San Diego and 15th location in the country.

Row House was founded in New York in 2014 by husband and wife team Eric Von Forhlich and Debra Strougo with the aim of creating a workout that two people with varying fitness levels could do together. The result was a low-impact, high-energy workout that utilizes 85 percent of the body’s muscles, activates the core, strengthens and lengthens the body, and ultimately improves posture.

The company sold to Xponential Fitness last year, which includes the fitness brands Club Pilates, Pure Barre, Cyclebar, Yoga Six and Stretch Lab. The fast-growing franchise expects to open 250 locations over the next few years, including the twins’ second Row House location in Del Mar Highlands Town Center’s Collection in 2020.

Both mothers of two, the sisters have always dreamed about opening their own business together one day.

“Fitness has always been a part of our lives,” said Rieselman, who like McGovern, comes from a background in marketing.

Last July, they were introduced to Row House and fell instantly in love with the effective workout and how it could work for everyone and every body.

Inside the Row House studio.

“It was an amazing workout and a very inclusive environment,” Rieselman said. “The core values really spoke to us, the concepts of pulling together and that no rower gets left behind.”

There are 25 individuals in a class but “everyone swings together.”

After their first class, the twins noticed how much rowing worked their core and improved their posture—these days everyone is often in a downward environment, hunched over cell phones and computers, “I felt like my body opened up,” McGovern said.

Before Row House, McGovern said she didn’t realize how much rowing worked the legs—it’s not just all pulling with the arms, the quads, calves and glutes contribute plenty to the action.

Overall they loved that Row House offered a cardio workout that builds endurance, strength and is low impact.

“Low impact doesn’t mean low energy,” Rieselman notes.

Inside the studio, participants row on state-of-the-art Concept2 rowing machines which are used by Olympic athletes, cardiac rehab patients and every caliber of rower in between. For the 45-minute classes the lights are dim, the music is pumping and cumulative class stats are flashed on digital screens, “Everyone is contributing to a common goal,” Rieselman said.

There are six different class types including the endurance-based Full Row class and Stroke, which focuses on proper form and technique. Some of the classes involve training on and off the erg: House classes involve functional floor-based movements in between rowing intervals, Body classes alternate rowing with weights, Power includes interval training, and Restore incorporates stretches in between rowing.

Row House offers data capture with an app that measures each rower’s progress —individuals can set goals and celebrate milestones. In just two weeks, the twins have seen several clients already reach the milestone of rowing 50,000 meters.

Side by side, the sisters are enjoying seeing the Row House vision of camaraderie and going further together come to life in classes at Solana Beach.

“To get the opportunity to go into business with my sister is a dream come true,” McGovern said. “We want that feeling of family and togetherness to radiate to our customers and community. We row as one!”

A grand opening celebration will be held on Saturday, June 29 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with relays, complimentary classes at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., food and prizes. For more information on classes or memberships, visit Row House

Row House is located at 437 S. Highway 101 Suite 212 in Solana Beach.

The new Row House in Solana Beach Beach Walk Shopping Center.
(Karen Billing)