Core Collective – Lift + Row

As fitness studios go, Core Collective is up there with the crème de la crème of fancy boutique places to train. In December they opened up their second studio in Knightsbridge, just a stone’s throw from Harrods – which kind of tells you the target market for the place.

I nipped down in the evening to try out one of their signature classes, a HIIT session called, rather bluntly, Lift + Row. The premise, as you can probably guess, is relatively simple. But when it comes to fitness I tend to find that the simplest ideas are generally the best ones.

What is it?

Well, it’s a fairly self explanatory class. It’s essentially the same concept as places like Barry’s Bootcamp or Victus Soul’s HIIT and Run class, where a 45-minute workout is broken down into floor work and cardio training. In this case the running element has been replaced by rowing machines. Simple.

The upshot for the person working out is that they get a more rounded session, with the moving around making it mentally easier to manage. For the studio it means they can optimise the facilities and put half off the people working on the floor and half on the rowing machines.

What’s the format?

I actually spent the majority of the day dreading the class because I’m a ridiculously lame rower. I also knew that the trainer of the class I went to, Joe Corrie, is an absolute machine when it comes to hardcore workouts, so I expected the worst.

The reality was a bit less scary. Sure, every time Joe wandered over to me on the rower I was forced to push myself to the point of screaming, but the class wasn’t all about ridiculous levels of pain. It was more of a gradual increase in effort, with just a few minutes on the rower before swapping to do some floor work.

The lift section of the class, which didn’t actually contain any lifting on the occasion I went due to the weights still being moved into the studio (I’ll head back soon an update the post), was a series of bodyweight exercises ranging from squat jumps to press-ups. The format was based on the Tabata system of 40 seconds on and 20 seconds off.

Phase two of the class was about working in pairs. The WOD-style (workout of the day) block combined a 1,000 metre row with 40 burpees, 40 butterfly sit ups and another 1,000 metre row. Working with your partner you had to split the reps between you to try and finish the WOD as quickly as possible. A simple format but an absolute killer when you’re pushing as hard as you can on the rower.

Is it any good?

It was a hell of a lot more enjoyable than I thought it would be. As with the majority of classes using the split class format, the short, sharp chunks or rowing and floor work meant it went very quickly. I actually even enjoyed some of the rowing sections (less so towards the final blocks).

The studio at Knightsbridge is massive and it’s a damn nice and clean looking space, so it was a nice environment to work out in. Joe’s also a very good trainer so, even with a big class, was pointing out issues with form alongside some motivational shouts.

Who’s it for?

It’s a good alternative to the HIIT/treadmill cardio classes available. As a runner I always find them a bit of a waste of time as I actually enjoy the running chunks. So this is a good alternative for people who either run anyway, really hate running or have some sort of injury that stops them from running.

The inclusion of the rowing machine offers some nice upper body training positives that you don’t get from running as well and any addition of a cardio machine to a HIIT class generally means you churn out a few more calories.

How much is it?

£22 per class. £145 for 12 classes a month membership and a big chunk of other options for buying in bulk. Click here to have a look.


A nicely set up studio with an interesting twist on a familiar fitness concept. Great for people who want strength, conditioning and cardio in their session but without the dreaded treadmill.

Picture Credits: Core Collective

Published by Tom Wheatley

All round web chap. Editor of The Allrounder and Get Sweat Go. Loves a pizza, Howard Hawks films, fitness and old British sitcoms. Not a fan of cucumbers. Level 3 Personal Trainer and massively mediocre runner. Recently launched The Run Testers video channel.

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