9 Critical Principles for a Successful and Injury Free Off-season (Part 2) - FITNESS PAIN FREE

9 Critical Principles for a Successful and Injury Free Off-season (Part 2)

If you missed part 1 in our series then click HERE to go back and check it out before continuing.  Now onto part 2…

4: Have Some Fun

If the sole purpose of your training is to become a better athlete sometimes you get a bit tired of training.  Usually we first get into training because we love it.  If we lose that passion and fire, we lose our desire to compete along with it.  Constantly pushing the envelope with training is critical but can also make you hate to train as well.  We lose touch with what caused us to love training so much in the first place.

Some ways I like to make training a bit more fun:

  • Perform more partner and team workouts – Partner workouts are a fun way to be more interactive with others, get a solid workout and break up the monotony of training.
  • Get outside – A little vitamin D is good for the body and mind and can get you pumped to train again
  • Train in a new environment – Changing up where you train, training with a new training partner or team or training at a different time of the day are all ways to switch things up a bit.
  • Change up your training – The early off-season is the perfect time to really change up your training by following the rest of the principles outlined in this series.
  • Drop the competitive edge temporarily – Constantly pushing yourself to the limit is a requirement for success.  If we do this for too prolonged a period of time we can start getting anxious about workouts.  Give yourself a bit of a break.  Don’t redline your off-season workouts.

5: Get Out of the Sagittal Plane for a Bit

Most movements we perform in the gym are performed in the sagittal plane.  Think about it, squats, pressing, pull-ups, rowing, running.  It’s all performed in the sagittal plane.

Unfortunately, we lose out on training forgotten planes of movement and muscle groups with this mentality.  If our goal is to build a balanced and bullet-proof athlete then training outside of the sagittal plane should be a priority in the off-season.  Not only are we becoming more well rounded as athletes, the small change in exercise variation allows use to avoid overuse injury while still getting stronger and better conditioned.  If we build a solid foundation early in the year it will undoubtedly pay dividends later in the year when we need to focus on those specific movements we’ll have to perform in competition.

Here are some ways we can accomplish this:

  • Focus on single limb exercises
  • Off-set your loading (hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in only 1 hand when performing single leg exercises, farmer’s carries etc…)
  • Perform standard movements outside of the sagittal plane (lateral lunges, squats, step-ups etc.)
  • Perform some change of direction in your running drills and warm-ups (shuttle runs, shuffling, ladder drills)
  • Emphasize rotary movements – medicine ball throws, cable chops etc.

6: Emphasize Carries, Crawls and Sled Pushing and Pulling

I get it, you need to get your olympic lifts stronger to be a better athlete.  You need to be able to string together mega sets of burpees, double unders and box jumps without getting tired.  We need to focus on improving these movements throughout the year and with more frequency once we get closer to the open.

However, in the off-season focusing on new movements for a bit has major benefit.  Carries, crawls and sled work are excellent for developing the same energy systems you’ll need for later in the year.  They also build a bunch of strength and stability in the shoulders, core, hips, knees and feet.  They’re good for unloading your body and avoiding overuse from the typical strengthening and conditioning you’ve done leading up to the open.  They’re unilateral in nature and train the body in both the frontal and transverse planes.  They’re also just plain fun to do and an excellent change of pace to normal training.  I honestly think movements like these are a major missing key to most people’s training.

As you know I’m a huge fan of programming and have been writing it for gyms and individuals for years.  I’m currently releasing 4 months of training designed to have a fruitful off-season and gracefully launch you into the next phases of training.

For this week only you can save $20 on the FPF off-season training program and see exactly how I implement these principles into training.

Just make sure you use the coupon code OPEN20 at checkout.

Click HERE to learn more and get instant access!

Never stop training,

Dan Pope, DPT, OCS, CSCS

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