Zumba, yoga, mermaid classes, I’ve tried them all. If there is a new fitness activity that launches in Toronto, I like to be one of the first to try it out, so when Scullhouse Rowing contacted me to come in for a class I jumped at the opportunity.

As a Crossfit athlete, rowing is an activity that I do on a weekly basis. It’s not unusual for a workout to feature a challenging rowing component and those are often my favourite workouts to do. At Crossfit, the point is to row as fast as you can. It is all about speed and PR’s and I was curious to see how the classes at Scullhouse differed from the style of rowing I was used to.

Scullhouse is a brand new rowing studio that has launched in Toronto. Founded by a former lawyer turned business owner named Kristin, it occupies a big street level spot in the trendy St. Lawrence Market area of the city. Cool, sleek, and stylish, Scullhouse definitely makes an impact when you walk in.

ScullHouse Rowing

The stylish reception area

I had registered for the evening class and made my way over after work. I work near the studio, so it was nice to have a workout option so close by. Upon walking in, Kristin directed me to the change room which had lockers that let you choose your own code, lots of fresh towels, and toiletries. The overall space is bright, white, and very welcoming, so I felt right at ease. After cuddling with the in-house dog for a little while, I stepped into the rowing studio. I am used to seeing a few ergs lined up (note: erg is short for Ergometer, which is a device that measures work, so a rower is literally a device that measures the amount of work you put into rowing) but this studio was full of brand new Concept2 Rowers, all neatly lined up with mats set up beside each one.

ScullHouse Spin Room

The lovely studio space

I chose an erg in the back row, wanting to get the best view of the whole room, and Kristin described how the class would work. We would row at a varied pace of strokes per minute (24-26-28-26-24 as an example) for 12 minutes. After each portion was done, we did some light ab work on the mats, before hopping back on for another tough session. This repeated until we had accumulated almost 40 minutes on the ergs. Immediately, you could tell that Kristin was great at what she does. She provided easy to follow instruction and good cues to keep you motivated and rowing consistently. She was also great at hyping everyone up, and by the end we were all sweating after having accomplished a fantastic workout. There were 15 people in the class, and everyone looked like they had put in some serious work. All in all I rowed almost 5 km without even noticing it.


My rower. Together we were one.

So what did I learn? That rowing at Crossfit is totally different than rowing in a class. As I said before, the point of Crossfit rowing is usually to go as fast as you can, since you are on the clock. Seldom do we slow it down and really enjoy the process. At Scullhouse however, it was all about rhythm and working as a team.

At its core, rowing is based on boats, and large crews often work in synch to get that boat to move; that is the rowing style at Scullhouse. Kristin is herself a rower who represented Canada at the World Rowing Championship in 2009. Simply put, this woman knows her stuff. She kept reminding us to focus on our pace, and to all move together as a team. At our peak, we were all pulling and pushing at the same time, moving as one. It was a beautiful experience, and wonderful to feed off everyone else’s energy and paces. With Kristin’s motivation, we all found our rhythm and intensity together. I loved that. I learned how to row properly, efficiently, and beautifully and I had a wonderful time.

If you are looking to try our something new, a seasoned Crossfitter looking to learn more about rowing, or even a couple looking or a fun date night, check out Scullhouse. You won’t be disappointed.

Scullhouse Rowing is located at 35 Jarvis Street, Toronto, M5E 1N3. A list of classes and schedules can be found here, along with passes and membership pricing.

Written by Cat