| 3 Traits of a Good Training Partner

Author / John

I’ve kept my requirements to a simple three. I feel these three parameters encompass the many avenues that create a successful training environment. These can be applied to any type of training: CrossFit, Sports Prep, Bodybuilding, Powerlifting etc… Active practice of these tenants will help not only your progress, but the progress of those around you as well. Though we are training to make our own gains, if your crew ain’t gaining with you, you are fucking up. I fuck up often and this article is sort of a penance for my consistent lack of training partner virtuoso.



Do what you say, say what you do

Being accountable for your actions is not only applicable to best business practices, it also applies to everyday conduct. Saying what you are going to do and following through with definable action is a virtue that many lack, and even fewer practice. More often than not, I am guilty of dropping the ball with follow through, though it is often on my mind and a daily work in progress.
How does this apply to being a good training partner? Be on time. Set a time to train and show up. If you are not going to show up, let your crew know so they aren’t just sitting around googling movie quotes and conspiring against you. Not only is this common courtesy, it’s common sense to just not be “that guy/gal.” Set a time, and be on time.

Not only should you be following the ground rules laid out by the gym, but your crew should have a set of rules to follow as well. Follow these to the best of your abilities and own the fuck up when you don’t. This can be as simple as “don’t drop the fucking iron on the god damned floor” or “Don’t bring sugary shit because ants are fuckers and no one likes fuckers, fucker.”

Accountability applies to so much that I am doing it an injustice with my three shit paragraphs; apply this virtue though and you will go far.

2. Knowledge

Information is not knowledge
Albert Einstein

In today’s social environment we are constantly bombarded with information. Wisdom helps to filter the bullshit into what is important and what is not. What’s important is retained as knowledge. Keep in mind, that though I did attend College for eight years, I am not a Doctor. I do however have a great respect for the search of knowledge and the grind it takes to sift through information. At Power Athlete, we constantly seek out new ideas and apply them. We are constantly retaining knowledge on what works and what doesn’t work.

Keeping things focused on the intent of this article, I will apply our pursuit of knowledge to the following: training programs, hot diet tips, and technique. A good training partner will seek out information to
bring to the table to be vetted in hopes of becoming applicable knowledge. Don’t be that guy/gal that relies on others to tell them what works and what doesn’t, actively try new things and search on the line for diamonds in the rough that may be beneficial for the crew.

The power in knowledge is expressed through action. Apply what you’ve learned. Routinely use cues that you’ve seen work. Design your programs based on concepts that “YOU” know work. Design your diet around foods and amounts that you know to work. Don’t flip flop around, being a magoo about your routines. If you notice of your cohorts meandering through their training, be accountable and call them out. Put them through the fires of ridicule, if they are on to something, it will stick. If not, they will drop it and move on.

A group that learns together, makes dem gainz together.

3. Solidarity

Heghlu’DI’ mobbe’lu’chugh QaQpu’ Hegh wanI’
Death is an experience best shared
– Old Klingon Proverb

Training with a group is a great experience. You suffer together. You fail together. You grow together. Treat it as such.

Don’t create black sheep, understand your crews differences and uplift their strengths. This doesn’t mean to coddle, it simply means to always have the intention of building up. At Power Athlete HQ, we have been training together for a few years. n00bs may think that we hate each other by the words that are vocalized throughout a session. We might. But there is much more at play here than simply pointing out my many flaws, being horrified by hoof feet, or commenting on Lukes lack of chewing. We are thickening our minds. We are reminding each other to leave the ego at the door and train. Strength through ridicule.

If you can grind out a heavy top set while being reminded by a 320lb man that you are 28 still living at home, you can pretty much channel out most bullshit and focus on the task at hand. Iron sharpens Iron.
Understand your crew. Understand their work schedules and their family situations. Help when you can. Most importantly, keep training. No one likes to return to the gym after a hiatus, forced by life, to find that everyone slacked off. Keep training. Show solidarity by staying accountable to the practices that brought you together in the first place. Continue on so when they return, they are returning to an environment they left and not some sad post apocalyptic version of Golden Girls.

Programs can differ. Diets can differ. But the goal should always be the same, progress. Progress in whatever that person places their focus. As a crew you are there to support that focus, to encourage that focus, and to help keep that person on the track they chose.

Communication is key in maintaining these training crew virtues. Don’t be weird.

Do you agree?

Do you disagree?

What did I miss?

What can you add?

Let me know in the comments.

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John Welbourn is CEO of Power Athlete and Fuse Move. He is also creator of the online training phenomena, Johnnie WOD. He is a 9 year veteran of the NFL. John was drafted with the 97th pick in 1999 NFL Draft and went on to be a starter for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999-2003, appearing in 3 NFC Championship games, and for starter for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2004-2007. In 2008, he played with the New England Patriots until an injury ended his season early with him retiring in 2009. Over the course of his career, John has started over 100 games and has 10 play-off appearances. He was a four year lettermen while playing football at the University of California at Berkeley. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Rhetoric in 1998. John has worked with the MLB, NFL, NHL, Olympic athletes and Military. He travels the world lecturing on performance and nutrition for Power Athlete. You can catch up with John as his personal blog on training, food and life, Talk To Me Johnnie and at Power Athlete.


  1. Josh McGee on July 14, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    That shit was beautiful…

    So this is what it sounds like, when doves cry….iron sharpens iron…

  2. Lindsey Mathews on July 15, 2016 at 9:06 am

    This is simple yet effective. I just shared it with the BIRTHFIT Affiliate team because as a BIRTHFIT Doula these three things need to be present. Thank you.

  3. Ingo "Joey Swole" B on July 15, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    4. Must be hot.

    C’mon, man.

  4. […] one of my original training partners, Nate “The Clinic” Austin! which he posted to the Power Athlete™ blog . Please enjoy I will unload on tomorrow’s […]


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