Hi, I’m Dan Pope.
I’m a physical therapist, strongman athlete, crossfit coach and competitor, amateur gymnast and self proclaimed meathead. If you, your athletes or patients are on the quest for pain-free, peak performance, you’ve come to the right place. My guiding principle for this site is simple:
to help spread information to fellow athletes, coaches and therapists to allow for optimal performance, safety and rehabilitation
If you or your clients are on the quest for pain-free, peak performance, you’ve come to the right place. Millions of visitors have been to my site over the past 8 years and I welcome you as well!
So Dan, what’s your story? What do you do for a living and how did you get there?
Good Question! I developed a passion for fitness at a very early age. I was blessed with a family that set me on the right track from the start. I remember my family encouraging me to stay active growing up and I’d come home from school every day at the ripe old age of 10 and do pull-ups, pushups and sit-ups. I don’t even recall what my motivation was for this initially but I do remember loving it and being very motivated from the get-go.
This led me to start reading and applying everything I could get my hands on in terms of weight lifting and nutrition. I can’t even tell you some of the stupid things I tried in pursuit of health and muscle. When I was initially trying to gain muscle-mass I’d set an alarm in the middle of the night so I could eat a full plate of food to help me grow. Without knowing it I’d usually wake up, turn off the alarm and go back to sleep, only to wake in the morning frustrated with a pile of cold food staring at me.
I eventually had to start hiding the alarm clock under my dresser so when the alarm went off I’d literally stand in the middle of my room confused about where the alarm was coming from until I was alert enough to realize what was going on. Then I’d sleepily slam down way too much food and go back to sleep dreaming of bigger biceps.
This passion led me to a diverse sport background, trying 6 different sports in high school. Eventually I settled on pole-vaulting in track and field allowing me to compete at a national level in high school and eventually to go on to compete at a division 1 level in college at Rutgers.
I had no idea what career to take after college, all I knew was I loved exercise and nutrition, so that’s what I studied in college ending with a B.S. in exercise science and a minor in nutrition. After college I began working as a personal trainer and sports performance coach. I loved it. The only problem was that I was always working with people that were injured or dealing with pain somehow. It bothered me that I didn’t fully understand their injuries and the communication between doctor, therapist and coach was usually abysmal or non-existent. I decided I wanted to know more about this rehabilitation stuff.
This led me to pursue my doctorate in physical therapy. I wanted to know the best ways to prevent and rehabilitate injuries. On top of that, through my trials and tribulations with reading and application I learned that a holistic approach was important to success in fitness and health. A well rounded approach that included good training along with eating right, sleeping enough, managing stress and recovering properly was not only a factor, but a vital part to success. I’ve continued to do personal training along the way and I currently coach and train out of a great crossfit gym with excellent people named Crossfit Verve in Denver, CO. I’m still as feverish as ever to learn and share information and this website has been born as a result of that.
How do you exercise Dan? Aren’t you into that crossfit stuff? You lift tires or something too?
Yes Sir! I currently compete in Crossfit and have a large background training in Strongman.
Ok, so these sports you just mentioned get a lot of grief for being dangerous, what are your thoughts?
I’m glad you asked! Like any other sport, crossfit, weightlifting or strongman can be dangerous for sure. I firmly believe that if people train, eat and recover properly they can achieve top levels of performance and avoid common pitfalls such as injury. You are getting yourself involved in a sport where there is definitely risk involved, but these risks can be minimized. I’ve made some stupid training decisions in the past that have led to some pretty significant chronic injuries that I’ve been able to turn around with smarter decisions and better lifestyle choices. Since then I’ve prioritized technique and injury prevention in my training and I urge everyone else to do so as well.
So what sets you apart from the other guys out there?
I have been practicing what I preach since I started as a young teenager. There is a lot of information out there but its not all coming from someone who lives and breathes what they speak. Many people have great information to give but very little discipline and dedication to follow their own advice. I’ve been an athlete my whole life and I still am. I don’t just do it because it keeps me fit and its fun. I feel that it gives me invaluable insight beyond what other trainers and therapists will have and that makes a huge difference. It helps to keep me honest and to hopefully motivate and inspire others to do the same.
I also believe there is currently a large disconnect between health care professionals (Doctors, Physical Therapists, Chiropractors) and athletes. In many cases they don’t understand the nuances behind their patient’s fitness goals or sports in order to give their patients the best care. On top of that many healthcare professionals don’t understand their patient’s passion and desire for their sport simply because they’ve never shared the passion that is associated with high levels of athletic competition.
I don’t want to tell people to stop lifting heavy weights and give up your favorite sports. These sports drive you and me and give us a strong sense of identity and pride. I’m an athlete and I’m on your side. I’m here to link the gap between knowledge and application from healthcare professional to athlete. Instead of telling people to stop doing what they love, let’s try and learn how to get you back into the game and keep healthy. Sound like a plan?
Oh, ok. So what are you trying to accomplish with this site?
Crossfit, strongman and other high intensity sports get a bad rap for being dangerous. The potential risk of injury in crossfit is the most common reason I hear people bash the sport. I firmly believe that it’s possible to compete and succeed in these sports in a safer manner. I also really believe that people are smart. I’ve been troubleshooting my own health, fitness and performance since I started. I know others can do the same if they are just given the right resources. I wanted to provide that resource so that people can excel in sport and fitness and avoid injury. Hopefully I can help them get back on the right track after they’ve gotten hurt. People have done the same for me in the past, now it’s time to pay it forward.
I’ve been doing this my entire life. I’m not out to tell you that there is a single best way to do things or what I’m doing is best. I’ve been blessed to use exercise as a tool to become the best person I can be and really just want to help people do the same. This site was developed to help other meatheads achieve their own goals with less pain and better health along the way.
Places you may have seen me before…
- Mike Reinold’s website: www.mikereinold.com
- Erson Religioso’s website: www.physioanswers.com and www.themanualtherapist.com
- Dave Tilley’s www.SHIFTmovementscience.com
- A Crossfit Journal “offline” segment on safe movement: www.journal.crossfit.com
- Power Monkey Fitness Camp – Lecturing about Assessment and injury reduction
- Barbell Shrugged Podcast (Coming soon…)
- The WOD Talk Website: www.WODtalk.com
- American Society of Hand Therapists Newsletter
Dan is a Doctor of Physical Therapy graduating from The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey as well as a crossfit coach at Crossfit Verve in Denver Colorado. He has an enormous passion for fitness, rehabilitation and optimizing human performance. Dan’s background in athletic performance is extensive, leading to his unique knowledge of rehabilitation as it applies to sport. Dan’s athletic career began at a very young age but his first major accomplishment was performing as a division 1 pole-vaulter at Rutgers University. He later went into training for Strongman and competed at a national level for 4 years. In 2009 Dan won a state title in strongman (NJ) at 200lbs and a national title (US) at 175lbs. He later went on to start training in crossfit and to date has been to the regionals twice, once as an individual competitor and once as part of a team (Crossfit Verve).
Dan was also a strength and conditioning coach and personal trainer for 6 years prior to beginning his journey into physical therapy and has continued to be a trainer or coach to this date. Given this unique background he has a special talent for helping individuals in the strength and fitness world who need either rehabilitation or tips on optimizing performance. Among his athletic achievements, Dan sat to become Board Certified in Orthopedic Physical Therapy in March of 2016 and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the national strength and conditioning association.
Dan works at Physiotherapy Associates in Greenwood Village Colorado and enjoys working with a large range of patients. He specializes in treating Crossfit, olympic lifting and strength based athletes. As much as he likes working with athletes, Dan loves working with regular people looking to enjoy their fitness pain free. Through strength and conditioning as well as physical therapy he has been able to treat and train athletes all along the spectrum up to the professional, olympic and Crossfit Games level. Dan has also been working for power monkey fitness from it’s inception and through the company has been able to work alongside and collaborate with olympic level coaches from the world of olympic lifting, gymnastics and rowing.
Aside from working as a physical therapist and coach full-time, Dan owns and operate his own company Fitness Pain Free. Dan regularly shares his thoughts related to physical therapy and fitness at www.fitnesspainfree.com and has had millions of views on the site over time. His major goal is to help individuals reach high levels of performance while reducing the likelihood of injury along the way. Dan also speaks around the United States on the topics of safety and performance in fitness regularly. In order to help people get in great shape and minimize the likelihood of injury Dan also writes programming online in order to get people in great shape, pain free. He practices what he preaches and believes that life is ripe for the taking and anyone with the right mindset and work ethic can achieve greatness.