Classes We Love: Shockwave at Equinox

All the strain and pain of bootcamp—plus rowing.


A Shockwave class. (Photo provided)

What it is:

To be succinct, it’s brutal. The class, offered at Equinox, has you moving among eight stations, two of which are rowing machines. The length of time you’re at each station is dependent on the people using the rowing machines—when the last rower finishes that round’s pre-determined distance (either 300, 200, or 100 meters, depending on what phase of the class it is), everyone rotates. But don’t think the non-rowing stations are a piece of cake. In the 45-minute class you’ll use kettlebells, body bars, and sandbags, and do push-ups, planks, and squats. Note: Don’t forget that water bottle.

Know before you go:

Don’t worry—you don’t have to be a top-notch rower to do this class. The instructor gives a short tutorial at the beginning of class to teach proper technique, and the distances are short enough that anyone who feels comfortable doing other forms of cardio will be fine. The rowing may feel slightly uncomfortable at first, but if you feel confident on the treadmill or elliptical, you’ll be okay doing this, too.

That said, if you’re not psyched about being a little bit singled out for your performance, Shockwave probably isn’t for you. Because your time on the rowing machine affects everyone else’s workout, there is some pressure to always be going faster and avoid slacking off. To us that’s a good thing (nothing like an exhausted group of people hoisting kettlebells overhead to get you moving), but if having other people’s eyes on you makes you squirm, you may want to think twice.

The vibe:

Intense, but also supportive and fun. The class has a competitive edge to it and you will absolutely be dripping sweat by the end, but the instructor also encourages cheering for the people on the rowing machines and moving through the class as a team, complete with high-fives at the end. There’s never any shaming or making the slowest rower feel guilty, only positivity and motivation.

The cost:

Shockwave is offered through Equinox’s group fitness program, meaning it’s only available to the club’s members. If you’re interested in joining the ultra-swanky gym (which features waterfall showers and complimentary Kiehl’s products in the locker room), it’ll cost you about $150 a month. That may be pricey, but you pay for what you get. If you are looking for inexpensive gyms in town, check out our list.

What to bring:

Nothing but a water bottle.

The bottom line:

If you want to add a new form of cardio to your repertoire or build upon your high intensity, drill-heavy bootcamp classes, Shockwave is your answer.

Equinox, locations at 131 Dartmouth St. and 225 Franklin St., Boston and 200 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill;