#229 – How to Build a Power Athlete with NFL Veteran John Welbourn


Matt and Scott chat with John Welbourn, a 10-year NFL veteran (Eagles, Chiefs, Patriots) and an excellent strength and coaching coach as well. John’s football career ended almost as soon as it started when he sustained a severe knee injury in the first game of his rookie season. Failing to find good training and rehab advice from the traditional medical and PT routes, John took his rehab into his own hands and sought advice from a number of progressively minded doctors and strength coaches.


One particular coach, Charlie Francis, encouraged him to start aggressive electro-stimulation therapy (EMS) to regain function in his surgically repaired knee. Meanwhile he managed his diet carefully, and walked into the following season significantly bigger, stronger, and leaner — weighing well over 300lbs at sub 10% bodyfat. Although it took another year to regain his speed and agility, the non-traditional rehab approach paid off, leading John to a decade long career before retiring in 2008.


Following retirement, John founded his training company Power Athlete and began working with Greg Glassman to develop Crossfit Football, using a blend of classic barbell training, explosive movements, and high-intensity interval training to develop better football athletes. Since then he has continued to expand his knowledge and train a wide variety of athletes at Power Athlete HQ, where he offers private coaching, custom programming, nutrition guidance, and educational material for coaches.


You can follow John Welbourn on Instagram @johnwelbourn, read his blog at Power Athlete HQ, and read more humorous musings as well as get training advice from his alter ego at JohhnieWOD.



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