Equinox Shockwave Class Review

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Equinox Review


Equinox Shockwave is one of my favorite classes and a regular in my workout routine. The class centers on the rowing machine as the basis for a full body workout (arms, legs, core) and is station based, so the entire class rotates clockwise in groups, from station to station.  You’ll recognize the class immediately by the chic, wooden framed Indo-Row urgs lined up dead center in class, which utilize water as the resistance.


Equinox Shockwave Class Description

Extreme cross training at its best! This total body circuit challenge combines the Indo-Row machines for high intensity calorie burn with dynamic, functional exercises using ViPR, Body Bars, BOSUs and Kettlebells to sculpt and transform the body! Max effort, and EXTREME results!



Shockwave Class Structure

Equinox has two main types of classes in its main studio workout room: those that are station based where you rotate in a group from station to station (ex. Whipped, Shockwave, etc), and those where you carve out a spot on the floor and workout in a stationary spot (ex. 30/60/90, Tabata, Metcon3, etc). Shockwave belongs in the former category and is station based.

In my experience, Shockwave is typically set up with about 6 stations plus 2 stations of rowing. The two rowing stations are the focus on the class and set up dead center, facing each other (so 5 urgs x 5 urgs). The other stations will be a mix of workouts – anything from jump squats, to short sprints, to ViPR pulls, to ab exercises etc etc. They do a great job of targeting all different muscles and also resting your body from the hammering sprint of the rowing machine. Each station changes weekly and depending on the instructor; after a year of going to Shockwave, I’ve never seen the exact same station twice!




As the focus of the class, this is both the highlight and dreaded station of the class. The instructor will set a proscribed rowing distance, the 8 people in the middle will row like crazy against the clock, and everyone else will be working on the other stations. Everyone in the class keeps working out until all the rowers finish. 

It’s fun, competitive and a phenomenal workout. I didn’t realize it until I took shockwave, but rowing is truly a full body sport utilizing your legs, arm and core. In fact, the majority of your workout should come from your legs not your arms. The correct motion is legs, core, arms on the way out and then arms, core, legs going back in.

Form is really important and although the class is fixated on fast times, don’t cheat your body by lapsing on form! Most instructors will give a quick rundown of how to use the machine before class.

The actual amount of rowing distance will change with each class. Typically, the first week of the month will be the “easiest” and lightest distance, building up over the month. In a typical 30-45 minute class, you’ll get through 6 rounds on the rowing machines and be dripping in sweat by the end.



I love this class because it’s intense but fast paced. Even at the longest rowing distance of 350 meters, you rotate stations in approx. 2 minute intervals so you’re never bored. There’s usually a lot of guys taking the class, which I view as signifying a more intense class (maybe that’s sexist..).

It’s also one of the only classes at Equinox that has an element of competition. The instructor usually calls out times and draws up a mock “leaderboard” for the fastest male + female. It’s pretty funny seeing how intense and serious everyone gets before each “Go!” timer is called but at the same time, I’ve found that everyone is also really supportive and will cheer on any rower nearing the end.

While I am sorely lacking in the big guns department, Shockwave is pretty doable at all fitness levels. If you’re new or not particularly strong, you might want to ease into the class by going in the beginning of the month (when the distance is akin to a sprint and something like 150/100/50 meters) vs. the end of the month (longer distances, or something like 350 / 300 / 250 meters).

Rowing is a great cardio exercise that’s easy on the joints so it’s a great substitute for running on a treadmill. At the end of class, I always feel it especially in the legs and butt.



Who Would Like Equinox Shockwave

Take this class for the killer combination of competition+ challenge.


For my other Equinox class reviews, check out the full series here. If you’re not yet a member, head over here to find out how you can save on the monthly rate and why I think the membership is worth it!


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