Meet the Crew: Peter Donohoe

Leanne Yenush

In the newest installment of the Meet the Crew series, we are thrilled to formally introduce our Strength & Movement Specialist, Peter Donohoe. While you may have already completed a few On the Mat workouts with Peter, you might not know that he’s a two-time Olympian, Irish Step Dancer, and incredible coach. Read on to learn more about Peter.

How did you get into Strength and Movement?

I had a track and field coach when I was a competitive athlete who taught me how to make corrections in my running form that resulted in me running faster without having to train more. I was fascinated with his ability to see what I could alter in my movement to improve my times. Over the 20 years of my athletic career, I’ve had numerous opportunities to learn from some of the best movement coaches in the world, both as an athlete and a student of their work. This really inspired me to pursue the Functional Movement side of athletics. 

Why do you think Strength and Movement are important to full fitness and rowing?

Strength and Movement are critical because it helps everyone move better, reduces the risk of injury, and enhances performance. When considering fitness, specifically rowing, technique and strength are crucial. This means that if someone is tight, restricted, or limited in their movements, they run the risk of causing an injury, adding further restriction to their workout regimen. 

My philosophy, which is also supported by the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association) is that “more is not better, better is better.” When people move better, they build strength to support these improved movement patterns, so they can avoid back to being tight or injured. I like to encourage those that I coach to embody that mentality when they workout. 

I love the work I do and the difference it makes in people's lives. We have one life, and I am committed to making it a good one by helping people see greatness within themselves.

Why is it critical to incorporate On the Mat workouts into your workout regimen? 

The body moves in many ways and in many directions, so diversity in movement is essential to build full functional fitness. One movement pattern, like a specific sport or fitness discipline, can be great for getting fit, but it’s important to change things up every now and then. Variety allows for recovery for those muscles that are used frequently and challenges other parts or systems in the body to help build that Functional fitness.

As a two-time Olympian in bobsledding, you’ve had quite a career. Can you tell us about the experience of representing your home country of Ireland in the Winter Games? 

There are no words to describe how it feels to represent your Country, your family, and yourself on the international stage. It’s one of the most extraordinary experiences an athlete can ever have. To perform your best in front of millions of people is both frightening and exciting. It’s truly an honor and a privilege. Being an Olympian and the journey to get there teaches you how to be a strong team player, display good sportsmanship, develop a positive relationship with “failure,” and learn that failure is not an end but a learning experience on your way to a better future. I learned so much on the road to the Olympics and owe so much to that experience. 

What is a fun fact about you that some members of the Hydrow community may not know?

I was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. This also means that I speak Gaelic. Also something that tends to interest people is that I started athletics as a dancer, both ballet and Irish Step Dancing.

Who is your sports hero? 

Jesse Owens, the American 100-meter sprinter who won four Olympic Gold medals in the 1936 Olympic games. His athletic accomplishments and the way that he smashed down barriers in sport are a few reasons why I have looked up to him my entire life.