Author / John

This article is for all CrossFit gym owners, Strength and Conditioning Coaches, and anyone who values their members and athletes.  I am writing this from my perspective, as a coach at Cascade CrossFit and CrossFit Basic in Washington State.  I have been a Strength and Conditioning coach for the last 15 years have been coaching CrossFit for the past year.  Currently, I train professional football players, olympic athletes and many general population athletes.  In the past 15 years, I have had amazing opportunities to learn from some of the top Strength, Powerlifting, Weightlifting and CrossFit coaches in the country.  I hope to share with you, my community, how multiple CrossFit Football seminars have changed my perspective on properly preparing all professional or amateur athletes for CrossFit, sport, and most importantly, life.


Being the typical veteran strength and conditioning coach, I thought I knew just about everything I needed to know to be a great coach.  I had a dynamic warm up protocol that was athlete specific which would make anyone look, feel, and perform for any endeavor…or at least I thought I could.  I decided to enroll in a CFFB seminar to learn and confirm my training practices.  Enter John Welbourn and the CFFB staff.  First I was struck by the depth of knowledge and attention to detail when warming up an athlete.  The teachings for programing specific sport or goal rivaled any workshops I had attended in the industry.  The incorporation of true functional and stabilization movements to not only asses athletes, but to help an athlete begin to organize their body from head to toe was thorough and proven.  CFFB laid out each process and progression that addressed each particular movement pattern and the biomechanics involved with the pattern.  Unique use of a simple warm-up to initiate movement patterns in a very specific way made me take a step back and analyze what I had been led to believe.  I was challenged to rethink what an optimal warm up, program and cool down really consisted of.  The teachings were based in science and backed by results.


The exercises and protocols I was learning from the CFFB staff were far beyond my expectations of the training. Let’s get real…I was at a Crossfit Football seminar not a world renowned Strength & Conditioning convention.  I would normally pay a couple thousand dollars to have the “top” S&C guys tell me their new gimmick or book was the sh$t.  Only to find out that I needed to buy their dvd set and tool kit for $500 and then I would be considered a functional coach.  To my surprise, the CFFB seminar was packed full of valuable information that was ahead of its time.  I would have happily paid more than the entrance fee as the training was worth it.  John Welbourn, through his experience with Division 1 College Football and the NFL, had developed a vast coaching network.  It seems that his passion for strength training, coupled with the experienced network of coaches, led him to the ultimate program for building world class athletes. Even more importantly, the general population can use and benefit from this program to optimally prepare his/her body for training.  This seminar should be renamed to “everything you ever needed to know about optimal training, programming, and movement workshop.”


As a coach, I have a responsibility to each and everyone of my athletes.  Like a medical professional my first goal is to do no harm.  Safety is my top priority.  My second goal is to help increase their quality of life.  Lastly, encourage and train them to be better than they were the day before.  Maybe those are simplistic, but those are my values. For an athlete to be better, I needed to do the small things better.  It’s easy to train a professional athlete with ridiculous genetics to lift with proper form and function. But how do I get Grandma Sue into proper form?  Sue’s daughter convinced her to try Crossfit, because of the benefits she had received.  This is the toughest task as a coach, to change years of poor movement patterns and habits.

The CFFB seminar offered applicable techniques to teach Grandma Sue proper mechanics through the use of repetition in the warm-up.  I found these easy to put into action and did so immediately, knowing that the Central Nervous System can be activated and trained in the warm up with repetition of these new exercises.  I can recall the days when I was a lazy coach and I wrote a warm-up on the whiteboard like the following: 4 rounds: 5 goblet squats, 5 shoulder pass throughs, 5 overhead squats, 5 burpees and a 200m run… I failed my athletes and missed a crucial opportunity to retrain their brain and body.


The warm up is so much more than an activity to increase body temp.  It is more than an opportunity to get the athletes’ central nervous system to fire the appropriate muscles, in turn, organizing their spine to move through space safely.  This is my opportunity to train movement patterns, develop posture, and position.  I learned innumerable techniques and cues at the CFFB seminar and though I didn’t realize it at the time, but the value of the training was beyond the cost.  Ignorance is far more expensive than the training. I think about every member I potentially hurt because my warm ups were non-productive and my programming was misguided.  Those athletes and my business paid the ultimate price. This is how Crossfit can get a dangerous reputation, because one person will influence ten people to stay away.  This can be solved by investing the time and money into your own personal coaching development.


How do you become a better coach? First ask yourself, who is your coach?  If you’re going to be a great coach, then you will need at least one mentor if not multiple mentors.  The Crossfit community has done an excellent job of aligning themselves with some of the best coaches and subject matter experts in the field.  They can help improve your coaching ability and provide mentorship.  Attend a weekend seminar, be trained by experts, reach out to them as a resource, and network with other coaches.  This is the single greatest advice I can give to all coaches, regardless of the sport.  Never stop learning! Always keep reading and learning from other coaches.  Being a S&C coach for 15 years, my thoughts and philosophies have evolved every year as new research is revealed and new techniques are shared.  When you are passionate about something you will eat, sleep, and breathe information.  When I signed up for the CFFB seminar, I made the decision to change my coaching prowess and the outcome of every member and athlete I that have been fortunate enough to train.  I have now attended several CFFB seminars (I recommend to attend one every 6 months as you will want a refresher to digest the information and be inspected for proper coaching).


You care about your members and athletes.  You have a responsibility to help them perform in their sport or simply live a longer and healthier life.  Never stop learning and listening to coaches that can help you become better.

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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. andoryu0126 on November 18, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    Great Article.
    So whats the (all-around) good warm-up?

    • CALI on November 19, 2013 at 2:36 pm

      You’ll have to get to a CFFB seminar for that… let’s just say it’s not prancersize.

  2. Chelsey LFL on November 19, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Loved your article Nick! Thank you for sharing your coaching experiences. Very inspiring 🙂

  3. Taylor on November 19, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    I registered for my CFFB seminar several weeks ago and have been counting down the days. Your passion for coaching sounds very similar to mine and hearing your thoughts on the seminar has made me more excited then ever to learn from great fitness minds in the seminar staff! Thank you for sharing this I will be passing this article around to all of my colleagues to remind everybody of what it takes to be a truly great coach.

  4. Nick on November 19, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Chelsey thank you for taking the time to read it and comment.

    Taylor I’m excited for you and confident you will have a positive and impactful experience.

    • Tex on November 20, 2013 at 7:12 am

      Nick, I really enjoyed this write up. You’ve got the right attitude to succeed in an ever evolving industry. A lot of strength coaches find something they enjoy and is easy to implement, and that’s it for all of their athletes, no matter what their goals are. Worst of all, when the stuff they implement doesn’t work, it’s the athletes fault. That continued thirst for knowledge is one of the highest qualities a strength coach can have, keep up the great work!

  5. Kevin S on November 27, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Outstanding write up Nick! Great to see how much you have grown and evolved. You will change many lives!!!

  6. rick g on December 2, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Nick Miller, your dedication is undeniable and your athletes are lucky to have you as a coach.

    “Ignorance is far more expensive than the training.” = The truth

    “I recommend to attend one (CFFB seminar) every 6 months as you will want a refresher to digest the information and be inspected for proper coaching.” = Advice which I’m going to take.


  7. JohnZ on December 2, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Currently working with a h.s. football team. Most of what they are doing is bodybuilding stuff (not programmed by me!) and it’s driving me crazy. My son and I are doing CFFB main site fairly religiously in the mornings before school and it’s paying off for him. I have no background in training other than having been trained (football in college and a local CF box) and experimenting with various teams I’ve coached, along with what I’ve learned from extensive reading. Will a CFFB seminar be too overwhelming without a certain level of background knowledge? I see the potential in these kids and desperately want to help them.

    • Luke on December 2, 2013 at 1:47 pm

      The seminar is very dense, and can be very overwhelming regardless of your background. I can say this with 100% confidence; while you may walk away “overwhelmed,” you will walk away with a much better understanding of CFFB the S&C Program, Power Athlete the methodology, as well as a general understanding of tried and true S&C physiology, than what you walk in with.

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