9 Critical Principles for a Successful Off-season Program (Part 3) - FITNESS PAIN FREE

9 Critical Principles for a Successful Off-season Program (Part 3)

We’re up to part 3 in our series.  If you missed the previous parts you can find them below:

Now onto the finale…

7: Go Strict

Now don’t get me wrong.  I love me some kipping.  Practicing how to kip properly is a key to success.  We simply have to be proficient here to be competitive.  However, building a strong foundation of strength will not only keep you a bit less prone to injury but it should carry over to a better kip.  Since we don’t have peak until the open next year, now is a great time to cut back on kipping and to add in a bunch of strict work.

Often times the major reason why people can’t complete more dynamic movements like muscle-ups is plain and simple because they just aren’t strong enough.  Check out my buddy Duke above, if you can pull this high on the rings do you think you’d have trouble turning over muscle-ups?  Doubtful.

I see a lot of athletes that struggle with the transition portion of the muscleup. I find they lack strength at the top of the pull-up, bottom of the dip and transition strength. For these athletes I emphasize deep dips with a stable and comfortable bottom position and pull-ups focusing on top end strength (strict chest to bar, 1 and 1/2 reps and pause reps in the top). To help put it all together I like transition drills like these. Emphasize a strong false grip and keep the rings as close to your chest as possible during the transition. Use your feet to give as much help as needed for technique. I used to miss the top of the pull-up and bottom of the dip during strict muscle ups. Only recently have I been able to perform the drill on the right after a few years of emphasizing it. Thanks to all of my #powermonkeycamp friends who helped me pull it off! @powermonkeyfitness @davedurante @rupert.egan @bimflip @drmelzar @vanvleetd @andybsox @shift_movementscience @colinpgeraghty #coyoteden #twitter @crossfitverve

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8: Get Some Variety

I do a lot of funky movements in the off-season.  The human body has a tremendous capacity to perform an amazing variety of tasks.  Sometimes I think we forget about this with our training.  Variety in training can help to prevent overuse injury while still training the energy systems and muscle groups we need to for success.  It’s also a fun change of pace.  I don’t know about you but if someone tells me to do one more damn burpee after I just finished the open I’m gonna go on a rampage.

Here are some ideas to help create some variety in training:

  • Use dumbbells in place of barbells
  • Learn kettlebell skills (Get-up, 2 hand swings, cleans, snatches etc…)
  • Battle ropes, sang bags, medicine ball circuits

9: Take it Easy on Your Energy Systems

Paul Buono (Team captain of Crossfit Milford #2 at Crossfit Games in 2015) told me a great story one time about his training.  He was training so hard for the upcoming games season that he started losing his hair.  At first he blamed his barber.  When he figured out that wasn’t the issue he went to several doctors and no one had an answer.  Eventually Paul figured it out.  He was training with so much volume, intensity and frequency that he was losing his hair because of this (at the age of 22).

Eventually Paul adapted his training and lo and behold his hair came back.   Training like a madman takes its toll on your body, especially with some of the very high intensity met-con.  Your endocrine system is probably going to need a bit of a rest following the open.  Let your hormonal systems normalize and body recover.

Some tips for recovery

  • Avoid training at or above lactate threshold like you have been over the past several months
  • Train higher threshold energy systems (phosphocreatine, ATP) with higher intensity and longer rest period training
  • Emphasize building your aerobic capacity with longer duration exercise at a lower heart rate
  • Substitute energy system training with classic strength training

At Fitness Pain Free we just finished the grueling open in-season and are using all of these principles to maximize our effectiveness and safety in the off-season.

Want to join us?  Now is a great time to join.  We’ve just updated the programming to contain even more great stuff:

  • Expanded warm-up section with video demos
  • NEW post-workout mobility and recovery section (Super beefy)
  • NEW mobility assessment.  This one is majorly comprehensive and comes with a ton of videos for explanation.  It also comes with a boatload of new mobility exercises.
  • More exercises videos – All movements that need specific coaching and demonstration now come equipped with my own video demos.

As a grand opening re-launch I’m offering the program at a discounted rate 20% off it’s normal price.  

I’m also offering access to my FPF Insiders Online Mentoring Program for FREE as a bonus gift for signing up.  All you need to do is use the coupon code:


at checkout.  Make sure you use all caps to get the discount.  Sign up soon because after this week the price goes back up and you can’t get access to Insiders for free anymore!

Click HERE to sign up and get instant access!

Excited to work with you,

Dan Pope, DPT, OCS, CSCS

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