| | | | PA Radio – Episode 117: John & The Crew

Author / John

 JohnPromo2 (1)Poor form is like terrorism. If you see something, say something.

It’s always been my contention that poor form is like terrorism, if you see something, SAY something.  Granted, this mantra is usually only limited to the athletes that I am responsible for but when you’re, I don’t know, say Clemson’s Football program and you post some pretty appalling movement on social media, you lend yourself to public criticism.

This week John takes the lead in discussing the viral bench press video featuring Ryan Norton of Clemson.  In case you missed it, you can find the clip in our show notes or just google it.  Having had extended experience in a number of competitive weight rooms, John explains how it’s even possible to glamorize such poor movement and in such an unapologetic way.

Power Athlete’s stance has always been increasing performance through proper posture and position so it’s no surprise that we feel compelled to speak on this topic.  There are so many implications from not just that video, but weight room culture and leadership all around the country.  Have a listen to our conversation to find out why this type of training is still widely accepted and what we can learn from it.



Be sure to have a look online at that video if you haven’t already.  And for god’s sake, have an opinion about it.  At some point, you have to draw a line in the sand and say – ok, that’s just a shitty lift, I don’t care how hard he’s “trying”.

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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. ryan webb on August 14, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Thank you PAHQ for all the great info you put out. I’m passing it on to my athletes. And think I need to come to the seminar one more time. Or better yet host one!

    • Luke Summers on August 14, 2015 at 3:25 pm

      If you leave now you can make it to Costa Mesa by 11pm. Seminar starts at PAHQ tomorrow at 8am.

  2. PJ on August 15, 2015 at 4:24 am

    Archilochus – “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to our level of training”

  3. Matt Williams on August 15, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    Awesome perspective regarding training. It’s good to know you guys are out there changing the football training mindset. I watched the Auburn video and was thrilled to see their mix of Oly, Westside, change of direction agility and gymnastics. Keep fighting the good fight and eventually it will filter down to us little guys at the HS level..

  4. TUESDAY – 08/18/15 | CrossFit TakeOver on August 17, 2015 at 7:02 pm


  5. joga on August 19, 2015 at 1:49 am

    I love the podcast, but I was shocked to hear the quote in the photo above, to be honest. Two primary reasons:

    1. If Crossfit now sets the standard for good human movement, how can deadlifts like this be passed as legit in Crossfit’s flagship event (2014)?

    2. The whole discussion was built on a comparison between apples and oranges. The viral vid of that guy not-benching 600-whatever lbs was from a college football weightroom (I think?). To compare that guy’s form whilst benching (non-professional athlete, weight training for a translation to on-season performance) to guys like Froning whose end-game is being proficient and efficient in the Oly lifts (plus the guy is like the MVP of Crossfit) does not seem like a fair comparison. Wouldn’t it make more sense to compare the movement of Froning etc against Olympic lifters or powerlifters?

    • CALI on August 19, 2015 at 9:53 am

      1. It’s an opinion based on seeing, speaking with, and coaching thousands of athletes of varying athletic backgrounds. Take it or leave it. It doesn’t mean that every comp, throwdown, workout, or guy in his garage moves perfectly or that CrossFit has written an infallible bible on performance. They offer specialty matter experts through continuing education to arm coaches appropriately to spot dogshit lifts and injurious mechanics. The goal of every specialty seminar (SME) coming out of CrossFit has always been good movement and for us particularly, we evolve our seminar as new information about sound mechanics comes to light. What people decide to do after the seminar is entirely up to them.

      2. Our point is that to be that good, regardless of if you’re using the Olympic lifts as conditioning or max power as in an RM, your form has to be dialed in. Can people get away with poor technique and wreckless abandon? Sure, but not for long – if you’re not already injured you’ll be riding the bench soon. Apples, oranges, fucking tangerines… the 640 bench was horrendous.

  6. joga on August 19, 2015 at 9:10 am

    *On-field performance…not on-season

  7. Seth Floyd on March 8, 2016 at 10:59 am

    Been catching up on previous old podcasts and had to comment on this one…
    @john the kid in the Auburn video you mentioned… Hes so good on his cleans because he does/did Crossfit for years along with football training. His dad is a 3 time Crossfit Games Master competitor too, Bryan Shockley. His parents own Crossfit Pulse where I used to train and so did this kid. He was hitting these weights and more before he even left from high school. The kid is a beast.
    Anyways, it was cool to hear you point him out and I could fill in the gap of who he was. Just adds to your point that Crossfit does push good form and function over shitty no-rep bench presses

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