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Meet the Athlete - Molly Johnson

If you’ve seen some of our recent posts, you’ll have noticed we’re very proud of our brand new FloatRower™ video – and we’re even more proud that we had a very talented competitive rower in the driving seat: Molly Johnson. We’ve had a chat with her about her stellar rowing achievements in the last few years, making the video, and why she loves using FloatRower™! Molly started training at Bedford Rowing Club when she was 13, and was soon put forward for the World Class Start Programme, which assesses young rowers based on height, strength, arm span, power, and endurance, as well as their rowing ability. She gained a place and started her competitive training in Cambridge, which continued until she was 18.

Racing Glory

Molly's first big race was aged 15, when she took part in the British Championships, coming second in the double sculls, and winning the quadruple sculls. Success kept coming over the next few years, with 2017 alone seeing a host of top placements:

  • National Schools Championships: 2nd in the double sculls

  • Henley Women’s Regatta: 2nd

  • Henley Royal Regatta: 2nd

  • Metropolitan Regatta: 1st place, twice

  • Home Countries Regatta: 1st in the double sculls

She then went on to win Henley Women’s Regatta in 2019, which also saw her move to Nottingham to kickstart the next stage of her training career.

With this level of rowing experience behind her, we were delighted that Molly agreed to help us with our jouney in developing FloatRower™ - and a few weeks back, she stepped onto this model for the first time to shoot our promo video, and tell us what she thought…

“The FloatRower™ concept is ingenious. It really feels like being on the water, and as a rower, that is special – it means you can train inside, and get the full physical, aerobic workout done as part of that, but you’ve also got the mental workout of balancing and engaging your core, which normally you would only get in the boat. You get all of the data that you’d get from a static rowing machine, and so much more besides.”

From Catch to Backstops

“FloatRower™ makes you think about the whole stroke, which is something I’ve never experienced on a machine before. The catch at the front end of the stroke is there, just like in a boat; the lag of a real boat is there; and the backstops too, so you get a follow through just as you would with an oar, and it forces you to actively and consciously engage your body the way you need to. It’s much more like a real row, which makes land training so much more thorough.

“The separate handles are much more comfortable than one – far less restrictive than standard machines – and the design of FloatRower™ allows you to engage your muscles and hips more easily.”

Everyone's Rowing Machine

“I’m amazed by how much capacity there is to adapt it for all abilities, and so many uses. Two oars can be reduced to one if you can’t use one arm, or are rehabilitating; you can use it for strength and resistance training, as part of a normal regime or as a rehab tool; you can do pulls and core exercises with it. It’s an incredibly versatile machine, and all the separate components come together to be used together, or separately, depending on what you want or need.”

Seeing is Believing

“The FloatRower™ display is really cool. It’s a big, interactive screen and you can see so much data about how you’re performing – heart rate, your splits, your time and distance, calories burned, speed – but best of all is the logo, which acts as a spirit level to show how balanced you are in the water, and allowing you to alter and improve.”

Your Personal Rowing Coach

“The active feedback you get throughout the session is amazing, too – it’s like having a coach there with you every time. It will tell you how you’re pulling on each handle, how you’re balancing and where you can improve, as well as how straight you’re rowing , which is vital for keeping the stress on each side of your body even. Favouring one side, even unconsciously, can lead to injuries and problems later, but FloatRower™ will spot it as soon as it happens. This is something that even a coach may not spot!”

Getting Warmer

“It really is an ideal warm-up before getting out on the water in competitive rowing, too – there’s usually limited time to do that, but getting on a FloatRower™ before your race gets your mind switched on and warmed up as well as your body, in a way that no other machine will.

“It’s going to revolutionise how we can train our bodies and minds as rowers when we can’t be on the water, and that is very exciting.”

We’re so pleased to have Molly on board with FloatRower™, and we’re looking forward to being by her side throughout her career! You can view Molly's appearance in our FloatRower™ in Action film on our Video Channel.


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