New Fitness Franchise CITYROW Steadily Rowing Its Way into South Florida


With so many new fitness concepts emerging, it's almost impossible to keep up with the latest trends.  However, one that is quickly making waves is interactive indoor rowing.

What once was the lone, obscure, and least popular exercise equipment collecting dust in the dark corner of the gym, a new, innovative, and more advanced rowing machine has made landfall to take its place.

These water resistance row machines consist of a large water tank located in front of the machine and with every stroke, you feel the realistic sensation of pushing through the water, ultimately giving you a tougher workout. The benefits to this low-impact, aerobic workout include increased endurance, toned upper and lower body muscles, stronger core, better posture, and enhanced metabolism and energy. In other words, you burn a lot of calories while building strength!

The first-ever, free-standing rowing studio in Florida has opened in West Boca Raton.  CITYROW had its official grand opening on February 8th.  The studio's owner, Dan Root was present for the ribbon-cutting.  Root and his wife relocated from Indiana to Fort Lauderdale two years ago. After many years in the automotive industry, Root, an exercise enthusiast and avid runner, wanted to open a business that centered around his passion for fitness. 

Root learned about CITYROW when watching The Today Show one morning.  He discovered the show's staff were members of CITYROW in Manhattan.  He decided to make the trip to New York City to take a class and was immediately hooked.  After many months of planning, Root was the first to open a location in Florida.  Root also plans to open a CITYROW in Fort Lauderdale within the coming year.

I also had the opportunity to meet and briefly interview CITYROW’s founder and CEO, Helaine Knapp, who was also present at the ribbon-cutting.  I asked Knapp, who was in the software business prior to starting CITYROW, how she came up with the idea of opening her own club and franchise. 

"I was a consumer of boutique fitness and after suffering an exercise-related injury, I needed a low-impact workout but also craved high-intensity and an experience that would change my body," explained Knapp.

So, in 2014 the first CITYROW opened in Manhattan.  “We partnered with WaterRower to design an exclusively branded CITYROW Rower," said Knapp. "The black-stained, wood version rower features a custom-built Bluetooth monitor that includes data specific to CITYROW’s programming." 


The 50-minute class I participated in consisted of approximately 15 people and the instructor.  This blended class incorporated both timed rowing intervals as well as mat work with light to medium weights.  You slowly work your way up to a faster, more intense workout on the rowing machine while maintaining the required pace rate. 

Although it feels as if you are working as a team when rowing, the goal is actually achieving your individual best in meter distance.  I have to say though, I often found myself trying to keep up and staying in sync with other rowers which maintained my motivation throughout the more intense parts of the workout. 

This is definitely a full-body workout that utilizes every muscle and core strength to achieve the best results.  Despite eating a full breakfast prior to taking the class, I found myself ravenous following due to the number of calories I burned.  I highly recommend taking their free class so you can see for yourself.

To learn more, visit or check out the local West Boca studio on Instagram at @cityrowbocaratonwest.

Yvette is a native Floridian. She holds a degree in sociology from Florida International University. Her passion for writing led her to a career as a grant writer in the higher education, non-profit, and corporate sectors. Yvette is an avid fitness and health enthusiast and in her spare time enjoys blogging, spending time with family, and traveling.

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