The greatest sense of accomplishment: interview with rowing coach Johan Quie

The greatest sense of accomplishment: interview with rowing coach Johan Quie

Alex Burgar Alex Burgar
5 minute read

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San Francisco-based Coach Johan Quie will be familiar to any devotees of the asensei rowing app. Johan has been coaching with asensei for some time now, and has quickly become popular for his dynamic style and exciting, technique-focused workouts. As a rower in college at the University of Minnesota, he was an integral part of a successful team, and since then has competed and trained internationally at the highest levels, as well as teaching thousands of San Francisco locals at boutique rowing and fitness studios, RowClub and Tribe Fitness, in San Francisco.

Having originally planned to become a sports journalist, Johan started rowing for his college club, although confesses it wasn’t a priority in the same way as his academic pursuits. He was a late-starter relative to his teammates, taking up rowing as a 20-year-old in his sophomore year of college, rather than training through school. Since then he has gone from strength to strength, training with the US Olympic team for the 2012 Olympics from 2011 to 2013, and competing at Royal Henley, a number of Red Bull events, and races all over the world. The five-year disadvantage on his teammates turned out to be no disadvantage: Johan believes it was actually helpful, serving as a source of motivation. He told us it taught him to love fitness and always seek improvement — rowing gives him the greatest sense of accomplishment.

Johan's time at RowClub, working alongside a friend, was his first taste of coaching. At its peak, RowClub had 13 machines, 10 instructors, 28 classes each week, and 60 students every day. Johan then set up Tribe Fitness, before focusing on asensei.

Coach Johan Quie through a fisheye lens, rowing on a rowing machine on the roof of asensei HQ in San Francisco

Interview with asensei rowing coach Johan Quie

We caught up with Coach Johan to ask him about his experiences as a coach.

asensei: How have your experiences as a competitive rower shaped your coaching?

JQ: My experiences as a competitive rower have allowed me to train under great coaches from around the country. I have trained under three Olympic coaches, dozens of university coaches, and volunteer coaches at my alma mater. I have picked up different things from each coach and am able to relay these to my students.

asensei: Who is the best coach you’ve ever had and what did you learn from them?

JQ: The best coach I’ve had is Bernhard Stomporowski. He coached me at the California Rowing Club leading up to the London Olympics. He had a technical eye and brought science to the training by regularly conducting lactate tests. I learned a lot about my body and I always had more gas in the tank to push harder. Training under Bernhard gave me the skills and mindset to compete with the best rowers in the world.

asensei: What do you love about asensei?

JQ: I love the accountability of asensei. Not only do you have to show up to row, but you also have to consistently hold target splits throughout the session. When I started RowClub and Tribe Fitness in San Francisco, so much of the coaching would be telling people how hard to pull and what their market split should be. asensei takes the guesswork out of it. The AI behind the app helps to focus on what’s really important: technique. The technical aspect of the rowing stroke is my favorite part of the sport. asensei allows me to let people in on the tricks I’ve picked up on how to pick up free speed.

Coach Johan Quie introduces the Sweaty Drills Session

As you can see, technique is Johan’s thing — and it’s ours too. We believe that good technique and strong form are the keys to success in your training, and so we think our partnership with Johan is a great match. Johan also recognizes that many people aren’t competition-oriented: their objectives with rowing are improving their fitness, getting stronger, and working on their mental health, and competing doesn’t necessarily play a part in that. For those athletes, Johan develops programs that intersperse rowing with core and conditioning work off the rowing machine, mixing up rates and speeds, and giving you in-workout challenges to work towards, keeping you motivated.

Johan began working with asensei after seeing a casting call in the early stages of the app’s development, and has been with us ever since. We’re excited for you try out his programs, and encounter his expertise for yourself!

This interview is part of a series of interviews with our asensei coaches.

Programs from Coach Johan Quie + asensei

Coach Johan has created a number of indoor rowing training programs exclusively with asensei, find out more about them in the articles below:

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