I always thought that the off-season was one of the most important times of the year for training back when I was playing collegiate sports. It’s a great time to finally get some change in your training. You get a bit of a mental and emotional break from the competitive season and training becomes fun again. The training focus changes as well and you finally get some time to go back, figure out where your weaknesses lie and come up with a plan for tackling the next competitive season. This way we can periodize properly for success over the next several months.
As a physical therapist and crossfit coach I am greatly interested in keeping athletes healthy. Therefore one of my favorite purposes of the off-season is to deload the body. We’ve come off of a grueling competitive period and now we’ve got the opportunity to decrease or eliminate the volume of common movements seen in competition and change our training stimulus to allow recovery. A common mistake I see with athletes is not going through this period. It’s very tempting to start training your wall ball endurance, linking kipping muscle-ups or start hammering the olympic lifts after the open. The open may have really exposed your weaknesses here and you’re chomping at the bit to improve. Trouble is, this isn’t time to work that specificity in your training.
We just finishing up our early off-season deloading period with the Fitness Pain Free Training Program. Several things we did to ensure proper recovery of the body and mind, deload the system and prepare for the upcoming off-season were:
- Eliminating the loaded squat and then slowly ramping squat volume back up over a 12 week period
- Substituting loaded squats for loaded single leg movements to promote symmetry between legs and provide a varied training stimulus
- Eliminating the barbell olympic lifts and then slowly ramping up lifting volume over the same 12 week period
- Eliminating most overhead movements and substituting them for more horizontal pressing variations to give the shoulders much needed time to recover and build strength in another plane
- Substituting intense met-con in the 5-15 minute range for longer duration aerobic conditioning to help build an aerobic base and decrease mental and physical stresses of working at a competitive intensity
- Working outside of the sagittal plane during strength and conditioning to provide a varied training stimulus to the body
Now that everyone’s body is feeling rested and mentally prepared to begin ramping back up again we’re currently getting into the thick of our mid-offseason training. A few goals we have now are
- Introducing more olympic lifting volume focusing on technique and slowly building toward new maxes in the next few months
- Strength work focusing on hypertrophy – Tempo and higher repetition work not only promotes more hypertrophy but also provides a varied stress on the joint and is helpful for tendon health. Here we improve joint and tendon health while simultaneously building muscle mass
- Strict gymnastics work – We’re building efficiency with the gymnastics movements and continuing to take a break from the higher repetition dynamic work (High rep kipping pullups / toes to bar / muscle-ups). We’re building the base for success in the future over the next several months
- Continued focus on building aerobic base with met-con. Aerobic base takes a long time to build and we should be well into working this as a goal. Met-con focuses more on cardio-respiratory endurance and less on muscular endurance as a limiting factor. This way we stress the systems we want and save the joints for the other aspects of training we wish to improve.
If you’re interested in signing up for my programming, now is a great time to jump in. It’s only $15 per month and is delivered on a beautiful and efficient platform on trainheroic.com. Here is a Brief Snapshot of the Programming:
- 6-days per week done for you program for yourself or for your box (Perfect for affiliate owners)
- Progressive daily olympic lifting, strength, gymnastics, and met-con that fits into a 1 hour block (I know how important it is to fit the entire class into a 1 hour block)
- Two tracks: One for the average Joe looking to stay safe and get fit and another for the competitive athlete looking for success in the open and at competition. Both tracks fit together well so your average Joe and competitive athletes can continue to train together side by side.
- General warm-ups with mobility specific to the day’s lifting, gymnastics and met-con (All with video explanations)
- Fun and varied daily met-con that fluctuates across the course of the year to prepare you for the open
- Testers throughout the course of the year to ensure you’re making progress in the right direction
- Joint health, mobility, foam rolling and injury prevention exercises built right into the programming (I take out all of the guesswork)
Want some more information on the training program?
Excited to work with you,
Dan Pope DPT, CSCS, CF-L1