Steelers FB Will Johnson Has Become Poster Boy For CrossFit In NFL Circles

As an experienced “CrossFitter” I can best describe it as a battle of determination and willpower, putting your body to the test each and every day to see how much advancement and progress you’ve made. Basically in a nutshell, CrossFit workouts, or sometimes referred to as WOD’s (workout of the day), list a variation of a grouping of exercises and aerobic fitness that is to be performed either as quickly as humanly possible or under a certain time constraint. The exercise routines involve everything from squats to box jumps, pull ups or AMRAP (as many reps as possible) handstand pushups.

In essence, it’s a way to break your body down and build it back up in peak condition, and it’s a way of training that has become a staple of Steelers fullback Will Johnson. It’s often used as a training method by those in the armed forces of the military or by police, using it as a regimen that seasoned them for pushing themselves to the extreme. It’s a great way to prepare them for their line of duty, and it’s a great way for an NFL fullback to push himself to the limits as well.

In fact, Johnson actually took up CrossFit as a means of training to be in the best shape he could be to make an NFL roster. It showed, when he put up sparkling numbers at the West Virginia Pro Day, a year after going undrafted, when he benched 225 pounds for 30 reps.

Now, not only does Johnson still rely on the regimen but he’s mastered it, as he’s now a Level 1 CrossFit instructor, with hopes of someday owning his own box, or training center. Recently, the NFLPA gave players the chance to venture into the world of CrossFit, to learn about the sport as well as earn their Level 1 certification.

“I got to learn a little bit more about how to run a box, how to start out,” said Johnson, who also met Dave Castro, the creator of the CrossFit Games, according to Teresa Varley of “It’s what I want to do in the future, get into CrossFit and open a box. It was fun and exciting.”

Johnson has pretty much become the poster boy of the NFL when it comes to the popular workout, as he’s shown on a poster, courtesy of the NFLPA, showing him flipping an 800-pound tire. An avid fan of the grueling training methods, Johnson wishes he could do more training, but that’s something that being an NFL player doesn’t often allow, especially with the rapidly-approaching minicamps and training camp.

“It’s still tough because I can’t do it as often as I would like during the season,” said Johnson, according to Varley. “I am limited to the offseason.  I still go back to the same box where I went before the Steelers signed me so that is awesome.”

After being written off as an NFL prospect, Johnson has been a pleasant surprise for Pittsburgh, as he enters his fourth season. However, don’t be surprised to see Johnson on the games someday, competing against the likes of Rich Froning, a professional CrossFit athlete.

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