Dear fellow coaches and athletes,
My name is Daniel Pope. I’m a physical therapist, a crossfit coach, a competitive crossfitter and self proclaimed meathead. My goal is simple. I wish to help people to continue what it is that they love in the gym and stay safe while doing it.
Overall I think the fitness community is very smart. We understand the importance of things like mobility, corrective exercise, technique and foam rolling. We go out of our way to seek out like minded health care providers because we understand the value of their services. There are several smart doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists and other health care providers out there who DO understand the nuances of training. They can troubleshoot your technique to find where your specific weaknesses are. They can help you get out of pain. They can help you progress back to your favorite exercises and rehab you back from challenging injuries. They can do a lot. However, there is still a large missing piece of the puzzle.
Let me explain.
I field emails every day from my website www.fitnesspainfree.com from people who were injured, have been rehabbing their injury but for the life of them can’t seem to get back to their regular program at their gym. I also see a tremendous number of people who have nagging injuries that stick around for longer then they should.
I firmly believe that a large chunk of these problems are coming from something we call in the strength and conditioning world “training errors.” Basically the programming used by some of these people are just not conducive to promoting longevity.
What I’m getting at here is that some of the injury risk could be minimized if we learn how to program in a safer manner.
Currently there are no programs out there to address this issue. Don’t get me wrong, there are a tremendous amount of incredibly smart coaches out there with great programs. There just aren’t any programs that promote longevity and safety as much as performance written from the perspective of a physical therapist. So now what?
WELL, I’M HERE TO HELP…
I’m a physical therapist AND coach. I’ve gone through the schooling to earn a doctorate in physical therapy. I’m certified as an orthopedic clinical specialist and certified strength and conditioning specialist. I’m also lucky enough to work in one of the best orthopedic physical therapy and strength and conditioning gyms in the US (Champion PT and Performance). I also travel, speak and collaborate with world renowned coaches such as Chad Vaughn, Chris Hinshaw and Dave Durante from Power Monkey Fitness Camp. I work with Crossfit Games athletes on a regular basis helping them get back to high levels of training.
I’m no training slouch either, one of my biggest pet peeves are arm chair experts who don’t even practice what they preach. I’ve:
I’m not here to just toot my own horn but want you all to know that I’ve been in the trenches for years.
To make a long story short, programming has always been an integral part of my success and in general I’m obsessed with this stuff. I came into physical therapy because I wanted to get people back to high levels of performance, not to tell them that what they’re doing is unsafe. What I’ve done is create a program to help address the above stated problem. I’ve created a program to help fill that missing piece of the puzzle.
The program is a:
Done-for-you program for either yourself or for your box / affiliate. Most of my current clients either work out in a garage or commercial gym, or they are affiliate / box owners that use the programming for their gym. It is designed for a general population between 2o and 4o years of age who’s main goal is promoting health and performance and wishe to continually improve at the open each year, year after year. I’ve had gyms with members over 70 years old implement the program successfully (really) but it will require some modification on the coach/gym owner’s part.
Easy to implement, scalable and modifiable. The programming is designed to fit into a 1 hour training session to be completed in a group training environment. (Although it works the same if someone wishes to complete it on their own).
Takes out all of the guesswork for what you need to excel and what you need to cut out to minimize risk
Takes into account the physiological aspects of training and builds a nuanced, periodized approach that waves and changes throughout the year building up to a peak during the open.
Takes into account the stress on the body and properly doses it to help you continue to make progress while reducing the risk of injury.
This program will allow you to have the confidence and peace of mind that you are progressing toward your goals in a safer manner.
***For more information about how this program differs from other programs out there skip to the FAQ section
“Dan has designed an excellent program for the general public (with competitor’s optional track). It is a safe well balanced program that involves both low skill movements and technical movements, keeping things fun and intense.
As a coach and a gym owner, it took a lot of work and stress out of me in class preparations. I can now focus more on coaching clients and building relationships. I’m also confident that at the end of the day, my clients get a good workout that promote strength, progressions, and longevity.”
Ari CrossFit, Bangkok Thailand
“Since 2011 I had x-rays, cortisone shots, acupuncture, chiropractic care and trigger point therapy centered around what was thought to be a shoulder impingement which impacted my ability to workout.
In early 2013 the pain increased and I started losing range of motion followed my numbness and loss of strength. I was no longer able to do my CrossFit workouts due to the extreme pain I was in which led me to a return to the doctor’s where I was diagnosed with a degenerative disc disorder that would require cervical fusion on C5-C7.
I had my surgery in July 2013 and although the surgery went well I was told to expect about a 9 month recovery before I could return to a modified weight lifting program.
I was cleared to start rehab in mid-October and my surgeon specifically referred me to Dan Pope at Physiotherapy Associates in Greenwood Village, based on his reputation of working with CrossFit athletes who were in rehab.
During my first appointment, Dan spent time getting to know me and my personal fitness goals. He took the time to test my current range of motion and strength. Dan developed a base-level range of motion and flexibility program to strengthen my neck and shoulders after being in a collar for 12 weeks.
After developing the initial program, Dan enhanced my treatment plan in an effort to progress my recovery. During this process, Dan not only re-evaluated my neck and shoulders, he took the time to learn about other injuries I had and evaluated my form throughout various exercises to determine other deficiencies I had that may have played a role in the deterioration of my neck and to help prevent future injuries.
Dan did a great job constantly evolving the treatment plan to address my ever changing needs. At times Dan pushed me when I didn’t think I could more and other times he taught me not to push myself too hard and to be sure I let my body recover.
Toward the end of my rehab Dan progressed me to his personalized crossfit program to which I’ve been following for the past several months.
Since then I have returned to play hockey and have hit new PRs in dead lift (400 lbs), squat clean and jerk (220 lbs), and back squat (385 lbs). Not bad for a 41 year-old who couldn’t even do a push-up post surgery when he first walked through the door. None of this would have been possible without Dan’s expertise, coaching and commitment to his client as well as his dedication to results oriented program development.”
Scott: 42 year old Male – Parker CO
“I’ve honestly never gotten better results in my life since I started following your programming. I was the guy who reached out to you a little over a year ago about my issue with femoral acetabular hip impingement. Ever since starting your programming and especially implementing the specific daily warmup and mobility routines, I am now able to do a full squat and perform squat snatches and squat cleans pain free. Thanks again for the awesome programming! Like I said, my movement efficiency has never been better! Keep up the great work, brother!”
How about your progress with strength Caleb?
“My Snatch has gone from a 1-RM of 195 to a 1-RM of 225 since I started your programming and I can truly say my movement efficiency has never been better! Thanks so much for the awesome programming! Thanks, man! Keep up the great work!”
Caleb – North Carolina
Caleb also recently hit a new snatch PR of 240lbs, which is 45lbs higher then his PR starting 6 months ago. Pretty amazing! Great work Caleb.
“Dan wanted to thank you for grand fathering in Arduous CrossFit as a loyal follower. It means a lot to us as a small garage gym. We have seen so much improvement over the year for our members…for that I will say thank you from them to you! “
Kathy – Boise Idaho
Honestly, I live, eat, sleep and breathe this stuff. I never ever wanted to be the individual that is giving out advice but never walked the walk or talked the talk (i.e. armchair experts). I’ve been writing programming for myself and others for over 15 years. I’ve trained everyone around me since I got seriously interested in training in highschool. I’d train just about anyone who was interested. Some of my best friendships are also training partners who followed me religiously even when we were carrying kegs filled with cement in a 100+ degree greenhouse in the middle of summer or in a sub freezing shed filled with alpacas on a cold winter evening.
This is what I love to do, this is my passion.
I hold a doctoral degree in physical therapy.
I’ve been involved in personal training and strength and conditioning for 10 years.
I’ve competed on a national level in highschool for polevaulting, competed in a division 1 track and field program in college, won state and national titles in the sport of strongman and competed at a regional level in crossfit (individuals and team).
I’ve also put out more free information then you can shake a stick at over the past 7 years over various websites. Really, head over to fitnesspainfree.com and read some more free info. I honestly love this stuff and wish to share it with all of you.
If you’re like me you want your cake and to eat it too. You want high levels of fitness, superhuman strength, a bulletproof body and you want to be able to be able to enjoy the rest of life at the same time. You’ll put your body through quite a bit to perform at your best. Trouble is, it comes at a cost…
As athletes we constantly tread a fine line between performance and getting injured. If you push yourself harder, you may find yourself knocking on injury’s door. Unfortunately I was not blessed with Wolverine’s genetics or a mad scientist to replace my boney matrix with adamantium. Over time we accumulate injuries and our bodies don’t take as much stress as they once did.
That being said, I’ve been sidelined with minor injuries more frequently than I’d like. Every time I try a very high volume performance program I start making great progress, then things start hurting. A shoulder tweak here, a knee tweak there. Pretty soon I’m hurting and questioning why I’m spending so much time in the gym in the first place.
No offense to the brilliant folks who write these programs but my body doesn’t hold up too well to that level of volume and intensity. I don’t think I’m alone here. These programs are designed for world class athletes. If my experience tells me anything, it’s that we’re all a bit different in what we can and can’t handle and that optimal dosage of exercise changes from person to person.
I’ve had several discussions with an old college room mate of mine about the division 1 football athletes he used to work with. He continually stated that the best athletes weren’t always the strongest, fastest or even the most skilled. The best athletes could handle the enormous training volumes and continue improving. It’s a weeding process from highschool, to college to the professional level. Who can handle the work and not get hurt?
If some of these programs were meant for the few of us who can handle the amount of work, then what business do regular joe’s have with the programs? On top of that, the stresses of life don’t always allow for the world’s best recovery. We all don’t have the luxury of being a 19 year old division 1 college athlete who majors in dinosaurs (Those were the glory days…).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the type of person who wusses out when confronted with so much workload. I’ve been the knucklehead who blows through it all despite what my body tells me. I really want to be competitive. I love it. I think deep down most people want to be competitive as well, be it with their friends, within their gym or at the games level.
I believe there’s still a large need for performance programming that is smarter, more efficient, specific and easier on the body. That’s why I created this program.
In the rehab world, very little attention is paid to fixing an individual’s programming before they head back to their sport or fitness program (I’m generalizing here, I know many people address this, I tend to see the opposite). In reality, fixing the programming is possibly the only way to prevent future injury or recurrence of the previous one. They’re called “training errors” in the strength and conditioning world and are enormous variables that can be controlled by trainers and athletes. It’s a huge missing piece of the puzzle. Not everything can be fixed by improving technique. Doing 5 days of perfect squatting in a row will still stress the knees heavily.
I still believe that these higher volume programs with a lot of volume and training sessions per week will be the best for the top level athletes but I also believe that we can attain some serious levels of fitness with a smarter, more efficient approach. That’s where this program comes into play. Let me reduce the headache of being overly stressed and in pain with your training.
Great question. I’ve sunk a ton of thought and work into this question.
Specificity – Specificity is paramount in training. Training should always be as specific as possible in order to maximize improvement without getting injured. I cut out all of the fluff and focus on the most important aspects saving you time and extra stress on the body. Training will vary constantly over the course of the year building to a peak with the open competition and games season.
Done for You Warm-ups – Each day contains warm-ups specific to the work to be handled for the day. Mobility, stability, progressive exercises. It’s all spelled out with video guidance.
Do it Yourself Assessments with Corrective Strategies – I spend an incredible amount of time writing and speaking about assessing athletes at fitness pain free. It also makes up a substantial portion of my practice as a physical therapist. Everyone needs to have an assessment so they can be specific about what they need to improve mobility wise, but also to know what needs to be modified in their programming. I show you how to do it for yourself and your athletes.
Science based programming – Randomized programming seems to go against the entire goal of periodization. I’ve invested quite a bit of time applying concepts from the greats such as Vladimir Zatsiorsky and William Kraemer into the program. I’m also certified through James Fitzgerald’s OPEX programming and heavily influenced by work popularized by Louie Simmons and Westside Barbell.
Squat Volume Management – I’ve seen programs that will have you squatting every single day of the week for multiple exercises. Not that I’m not a fan of squats, I am and they are vitally important. I just tend to see a lot of achy knees and hips. The volume and intensity of squatting will vary over the course of the year to ensure progress and reduce injury risk. Your knees and hips will thank you.
Managed Shoulder and Overhead Work – Your shoulder is not a weight bearing joint. It is not meant to bear the entire weight of your body every day like your ankles, knees and hips. We have specific times of the year where the shoulders are deloaded and times of the year where shoulder work is ramped up. We also put a lot of thought toward building balance in the shoulder through a variety of movements preparing your joints for battle.
Rest days between training similar joints, movements and body parts – The body requires rest between challenging sessions. This program is by no means a body part split but having adequate rest is vital. We put a lot of thought into not getting excessively sore and becoming susceptible to overuse.
Careful Progression Toward Higher Risk Exercises Rebounding box jumps, high rep olympic weightlifting and lots of ring muscle-ups in a fatigued state have a bit of a bad rap. As a therapist I’ve seen my fair share of labral tears, achilles ruptures etc from these exercises. They aren’t bad movements, we just need to be careful about how we approach these. Over the course of the year we gradually expose ourselves to these exercises and push when it’s important and pull back on the reigns when we don’t. We spend a lot of time in the off-season learning how to jump, working position and proficiency in gymnastics and olympic lifting and preparing your joints slowly over time for these movements.
Weekly, Monthly and Yearly Periodization Changes – In order to keep you making progress some weeks are going to be harder then others. The changes from week to week takes into consideration 2 important parts of programming; overreaching and supercompensation. Basically we want some weeks to be really tough and then follow it with an easier week so that we can recover and improve.
Simplicity – If you’ve ever watched a strongman competition you’ll know just how important the deadlift is. When I won a national championship in strongman I was literally only performing deadlifts in order to improve my deadlift. I worked the yoke to improve my yoke. I never did a ton of accessory exercises or made my program overly complicated. In my experience you can make a tremendous amount of progress with just the basics and throwing in complexity for complexity’s sake makes doesn’t help. I’ve cut out the fluff and kept the important stuff.
Less total volume – My own mantra is that less is more. 80% of our gains comes from 20% of our exercise. Throwing in more work just to make miniscule gains increases the total stress on your body. I’d rather stay healthy and continue to make small gains then to play the game of 2 steps forward and 1 step back from nagging overuse injury.
Easy Modifications, Scaling and Optional Work – Not everyone is going to be able to handle the same amount of work. On top of that not everyone will always feel at their best. I’ve programmed in a great deal of variation in this program to address this problem. All weights used are based off of percentages so that no one will be trying to scale up to an arbitrary “rx” just to say they finished a workout. Workouts are capped at certain time periods so people aren’t extending workouts for too long. Optional work is there for people who really want to push and there for people to drop when they don’t feel up for it.
More skill and accessory work – Efficiency in movement is the cornerstone of performance and we really emphasize this.
Dumbbell, Kettlebell and Unilateral work – Promoting balance and symmetry in your program is important for injury prevention. I’ve added in more unilateral work to help promote balance, symmetry and rotary stability to your joints to keep them a bit safer.
I do the programming – I go through each and every workout myself. I’ve been experimenting for years with my own programming as well as others and am continuously tweaking the program based on how I feel and how I think the program can be improved upon. If one month was fairly shoulder intensive you can be sure I’ll be feeling it. If we did a touch too much squatting then I’ll be feeling it also. I also have a life. I work 50+ hours per week as a full-time physical therapist and part-time crossfit coach, run a busy website, have a loving girlfriend and family to care to. I also have 15+ years of high level competition and wear and tear on my joints. I understand the stresses on your body and work hard to make the program as efficient as possible so that it is reasonable to fit into your life.
Constant evolution – This program is constantly evolving based on feedback from you and my own experience with the program. I get emails consistently with information based on how people are feeling with the program. I take all of that information into consideration when designing the next few weeks of training.
I honestly believe we can achieve high levels of fitness without sacrificing our bodies. Just the other day I told someone I had been competing in crossfit for the past 6-7 years and got the response, “and your body is still holding together?” It can be done.
This program does contain a lot of olympic weightlifting, powerlifting and higher level gymnastics exercises. I do recommend that clients have a good basic knowledge of how to perform olympic lifts properly as well as how to perform bodyweight gymnastics exercises if they will be attempting to try this program on their own. If you are not competent in these areas then you’re going to need a coach. This is why I’ve worked so hard to make this a program easily implemented into your box / affiliate.
****This is not a rehabilitation program. If you are having pain with exercise then please consult a professional before starting. As always, please consult your physician before beginning any sort of exercise program.****
I’m all about longevity. I love this stuff and am in it for the long run. This program is a roadmap toward these goals. If any of this resonates with you then this is your program.
Before we get into the price, I want to let you know that I’ve spent over $200,000 on formal education alone (Unfortunately to cost even more after interest). Including the various certifications, trainings, continuing education seminars, and independent research, that figure gets close to $300,000.
I’m using all of this knowledge to design a comprehensive training program to allow you to reach your goals and stay healthy for the long term. Sounds like a deal to me.
This program is only $49.99 per month billed each month on the day you purchase moving forward. There is also the option for one time payment $499.99 for one full year of programming (Save on 2 months).
– Ben Franklin