Author / John

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About six months ago, John wrote a post about the success of a program hinging on its application. In it, he brings up the importance of following a program in line with your goals as written and focusing on proper recovery. In true Power Athlete fashion, I want to beat a dead horse and shed some light on this from a different perspective. Don’t get merely caught up only in what you are training, but also the execution of the training.

Programming vs application

Programming is a major buzz word in the S&C world, and for the most part, is how coaches are judged. Whether it’s CrossFit, college/high school level, or garage training with your buddies, the question every gym roughneck ponders is, “what program are you on?”, “what’s their programming like?”, and for the Power Nation, “What are you training for?” Planning and writing programs is a large part of an S&C coach’s job, possibly the most critical part. Every movement, progression, and goal needs to be written with a purpose and plan in mind. But the job does not end there, shouldn’t the real work as a coach begin once you’ve written the program?

In my S&C travels as a collegiate strength & conditioning coach, I have seen an blind obsession with on paper program creation. But it seems there is a deficit when it comes time to execute the plan in a practical setting. Unfortunately, all the technique, form, application and accountability never seems to make it off the paper and on to the platform and field.


Every season of every sport I played, from pee-wee to college, always began with training the fundamentals of said sport and training for the specific demands each sport placed on me. We never moved on to defensive schemes or offensive plays until we were able to execute the fundamentals. In college, the time placed on fundamentals would always predict the type of season we had. This also allowed me assess those players around me, especially the incoming freshmen.

Practicing fundamentals has always been an ego check for freshman, and very telling for those that could take their games to the next level. Those freshman that took the time to master and execute the fundamentals on command they were able to find success sooner. As players moved through the system and lost appreciation for the fundamentals, they soon found themselves replaced by the upcoming talent that had maintained the focus. In my experience, there has always been much emphasis and time invested on technique during practice, regardless of sport; however, many times this mentality doesn’t seem to make it to the weight room.  This became even more glaring as I moved up the ranks.

There should be no difference.

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Five days a week you are going to find a workout posted on CFFB dot com that requires hard work, intelligence and technique. Whether you are using Power Athlete’s CFFB program for your own training, or putting something together for the athletes you coach, we want you to think about how you are executing the required movements.

Are pull ups being performed to strengthen your back squat, with a retracted and depressed shoulder girdle and chin “tucked” to maintain a neutral head position? Or are elbows shooting forward, necks “crane-ing”, and knees flailing up for a “fetal position up?”

Are deadlifts performed with a rounded back for big numbers to show off on the boards, or are athletes bending the bar in half, challenging your double overhand grip, and focusing posture and position all the way to the top?

If you have been following the Power Athlete Dynamic Movement Prep, then you have witnessed the attention to detail and focus on proper execution in order to elicit the desired response of the movement. We never just go through the motions of a movement just because its required or should be done. There is a purpose behind everything we do.

Take these examples of dynamic movement prep and understand that by focusing on proper execution, whether warm ups or lifts, you can create a more aware and coachable athlete for the field. The primary focus of the Power Athlete template called CrossFit Football is to create strength, power and speed in the weight room that is transferable to the field or arena, or wherever your proving grounds are. So, whether you are a coach training athletes or training to train, apply and execute with a purpose.

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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. Ingo B on August 9, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    I follow 3 days behind to accommodate my Game Days, so this article posted at a perfect time. I just did the 8 min AMRAP pull ups. Pre-article, I would’ve gone for numbers via kipping. Instead, went strict and mixed the implements (pull up bar and beam spanning the Smith Machine) for grip challenge.

    Thanks for this. Helped me realign my focus.

  2. CW on August 11, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Great, simple article. Pre-CFFB, having no background in sports, I spent far too long subscribing to the bro-tastic school of thought that “lifting weights” is just something you do – going through the motions. It’s only as of the past months that I’ve started focusing on execution – on thinking of each rep as a “play” or similar, rather than just moving the metal or flesh from point A to point B. I’m far from perfect – this endeavor has largely shown me just how much work I need. But it’s a step in the right direction, and a big change in my mindset, and I think CFFB 100% for this.

  3. Denny K on August 11, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Great article Tex… I think attending a CFFB seminar reinforces your point on writing programs and the practicality of said program.

    Those who have attended the certs know what I’m talking about…those who haven’t… well what are you waiting for???

  4. Steven Platek on August 11, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    another great article ! thanks guys!

  5. Monday 19th August « KB CrossFit on August 17, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    […] Primal Corner – Strength in Execution […]

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