Author / John


John walks Luke through what the Power Athlete team expects out of their athletes when they perform Weighted Barbell Step Ups with their training system.

The objective is to reinforce posture and position that is favorable to sprinting.

This movement is programmed in today’s CrossFit Football’s Collegiate and Professional Strength WOD:

Weighted Step Ups 8, 8, 8, 8 (8 RT/ 8 LT)
Close Grip Bench 3 RM , 1 x max reps @ 80% of 3 RM

Weighted Step Ups 8, 8, 8, 8 (8 RT/ 8 LT)
Close Grip Bench 3 RM , 1 x max reps @ 80% of 3 RM


Share this article


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. luke on May 29, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    A couple things to note that you may not see from the video:

    – Feet about shoulder width apart, maybe a little narrower for balance
    – Feet forward on step up, and “landing”
    – Traveling foot should remain dorsiflexed from the point it leaves the ground, to the top of the high knee, and back down to the ground. Don’t give up on dorsiflexion and “reach” the foot to the ground.
    – On the eccentric / lowering portion of the lift, the objective is to lower as slow and as controlled as possible.

    Good luck!!

  2. Ingo B on May 30, 2013 at 7:03 am

    Luke, you have a brother named Chael Sonnen?

  3. dredlocked on May 30, 2013 at 7:25 am

    Game changer. These were way harder today than the 7RM shitty ones I did last week.

    Just for my own understanding (and since I’ll probably have to explain it to some curious person) what’s the purpose of bringing the non-weighted leg to parallel at the top of the box. I know the goal is to benefit sprinting but just don’t understand the movement enough to see where that plays in.

    • luke on May 30, 2013 at 8:14 am

      If you tilt your head so it looks like i’m leaning forward (or if there’s technology to take the picture and tilt it) that’s the posture we should have as we accelerate. See drawing found on google images below:

      @Ingo mentioned it on the CFFB Comments, but to take it a bit further people have a bad habit of over extending when they sprint, or do anything. I couldn’t find a pic of that happening with sprinting within 5 searches, so i quit. What did find is this babe. Imagine that this babe is running and compare the pelvic tilt. Left = hot but bad… Right = still hot but good.

      There’s all sorts of ways to develop the ability to mobilize the hip in a neutral position (pillars, GHD hip extension, etc) but what’s interesting is that there are A LOT of athletes that can mobilize in a vacuum, but have a hard time coordinating combos:


      If you load the spine at the CT Junction aka base of the traps with a barbell, and can train the coordination of mobilizing the hip with these primal movements then you will develop the skill to do so while “moving” and will be more powerful in your sprint and jump because we will have better transference of power with a rigid single joint from the hip up.

  4. dredlocked on May 30, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    @ Luke: got it, makes total sense. Thanks for the response. Turned the picture below and, funny enough, #6 looks like the step up…

    Just had an epiphany reading your response to Ingo about my sprinting, lunging, lifting, etc. and back issues. Just when I think I understand things my mind gets blow. Love this stuff.

  5. Dennis Dolan on May 30, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    I always cue the athlete to keep a near vertical shin when pushing up and lowering, forcing excellent posterior chain firing, decreasing the load on the ACL and patellar tendon and posibility of valgus movents.

  6. 130812 | GloboWOD on August 26, 2013 at 10:46 am

    […] -Weighted Step Ups 5×6 (Each Leg) – Demo […]

  7. […] Conditioning AMRAP in 14 minutes of: 8 Handstand Push-ups 40 Double-unders 12 Barbell Weighted Step-ups (95 / 65) – DEMO […]

  8. CrossFit Jaguar | STEPPIN’ IT UP on December 12, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    […] Skill Focus:  Proper Step Up form – stress dorsi flexion https://powerathletehq.com/blog/2013/05/29/movement-demo-barbell-step-up/ […]

  9. WOD – 3/19/14 | CrossFit Country Day on March 19, 2014 at 11:54 am

    […] Weighted Barbell Step Ups 10, 10, 10, 10 (5 RT/ 5 LT) Bench 7 RM, 1 x max reps at 80% of 7 RM […]

  10. CrossFit Jaguar Tampa | STEP UP YOUR GAME on March 20, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    […] Focus: Step Ups (alternating w/ raised flexed foot) https://powerathletehq.com/2013/05/29/movement-demo-barbell-step-up/  Review […]

  11. » 3.10.14 WOD on December 3, 2014 at 9:13 am

    […] Squat 3×5 (add 5 lb to last workout) Shulder Press 3×5 (add 2.5 lb to last workout) Collegiate Weighted Barbell Step Ups 10, 10, 10, 10 (5 RT/ 5 LT) Bench 7 RM, 1 x max reps @ 80% of 7 RM WOD:For Time:100m Run20 Double […]

Leave a Comment


Never miss out on an epic blog post or podcast, drop your email below and we’ll stay in-touch.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.