City Row is making waves in Flower Hill

The City Row team at a grand opening celebration.

CITYROW in Del Mar’s Flower Hill Promenade is a new boutique fitness studio promising a fun, full-body sweat session on a rower— an estimated 86% of the body’s muscles are put to work in a single stroke.

CITYROW uses the WaterRower, a hydro rowing machine that simulates being on the water with more consistent resistance. With a focus on form, rowing is a low-impact workout option that eliminates the force other cardio exercises put on your joints while still providing maximum burn.

“There’s a misconception about rowing, people think it’s an arm workout, but in reality, it’s your legs and core that generate the powe⁣r,” said Delani Fish, the studio’s friendly and high-energy manager. Fish breaks it down that rowing is 60% legs, 30% hip swing and 10% arms: “It hits all the spots.”

In the HIIT (high intensity interval training) inspired classes, you’re not on the rower the whole time—rowers jump off to do strength training with weights and body-weight exercises like planks and mountain climbers. No workout is ever the same and the first three classes are free to try.

Inside the sleek new Del Mar studio on the lower level of Flower Hill, a cityscape is painted on one wall, weights line the other and windows look out into the plaza. Its slightly hidden location could be considered the new wellness corner of Flower Hill with Core Power Yoga upstairs, the new Bespoke Treatments Physical Therapy across the way and Salt Hot Pilates opening next door in January.

Inside the City Row studio.

CITYROW was founded in New York City in 2014 by Helaine Knapp, who discovered the low-impact, high-intensity workout offered by rowing after suffering from back pain. She created CITYROW as a way to combine her love of rowing and group exercise. Her concept has since expanded to eight locations nationwide—Del Mar is the only California location.

The Del Mar studio owners Becki and Milton Goss come from backgrounds in finance and marketing. Originally from New England and Michigan, they’ve always been active in sports and fitness and tried just about every fitness concept around, but never found one that really resonated. With small children and busy schedules, they needed a workout that was quick, effective and safe.

“When we learned about CITYROW we immediately loved how effective and thoughtful the workout was. You actually learn how to row properly on CITYROW’s very own water rower which simulates the experience of rowing on the water,” said Becki, who had the couple’s third child as the studio was under construction last year. “You finish a class drenched in sweat, feeling it in muscles you didn’t even know you had. But one of the best parts is that unlike other workouts your joints aren’t sore the next day.”⁣⁣

⁣⁣The Del Mar studio’s opening was choppy, delayed by the pandemic and then a flood. With restrictions still in place, they started with outdoor classes and finally moved indoors in July.

The mornings and weekends have been the most popular class times so far and as the membership has grown, they have added instructors to their crew. Fish herself loved the workout so much, she is on her way to becoming a certified instructor.

“Rowing was a new modality for me,” said Fish, a recent UC San Diego graduate who ran track for the Tritons. “I had only rowed for recovery but I liked the way I felt after a class, I didn’t feel so exhausted and drained.”

In class, Fish said instructors take time to stress proper form and how to get the most out of your stroke. Class by class, rowers can compete with themselves to improve and a finisher board in the lobby celebrates monthly accomplishments.

Currently the class schedule includes the 50-minute signature class. In the future, they will look to add classes like cardio and core, “row and flow” with yoga elements and are exploring an express 30-minute class. The studio includes a boutique with rowing gear for sale and showers for those looking to fit a workout into a busy day.

A drop-in class is $32 and classes can be purchased in packs. Starting Dec. 15, rowers can get a monthly membership for $129 a month which includes unlimited classes, 20% off all retail and the $40 value of the CITYROW GO app which features access to at-home workout classes. CITYROW is located at 2710 Via De La Valle, Suite B150 in Flower Hill Promenade. For more information, visit