5 Offseason Suggestions For Those That Need A Change

By: Brian Carroll

Depending on your weak points in your individual lifts, here are some suggestions that you can try in your offseason or when you have some downtime and want to switch things up.

As I advocate in 10/20/life, your weak points should always be attacked. The offseason is where you make the needed adjustments. If you are waiting until 5 weeks out from the biggest competition of your life, you missed the boat.

Take little bits and pieces of what work for you, and make the adjustments necessary to program what works for you.

Floor press instead of benching.

I’m a HUGE fan of floor pressing and it has a lot of potential for carryover. For those that have issues in transition to lockout this could be something you could run 5-10 weeks. For me, it’s much better on my back and works the upper body muscles in a way that makes you push without momentum or leg drive. It is great for core stability, too. I suggest you at least work form on your bench press from time to time to keep that dialed in.

Front squats in place of your normal squats for a bit.

I’m not a huge fan of front squats in general as I think that they only help certain people with certain styles of squatting. With that said, it’s a great movement to help unload the spine and work the quads and core in a different way. I would still suggest form work on back squat to stay on top of that.

Specialty bars – use them.

For the bench and squat – these can be great tools to have in your arsenal. These are NOT permanent substitutes for your squat or bench, but something to change up, attack some weak points and make training a little more challenging in the offseason instead of just simply only doing the competition lifts.

Squatting off a box.

I don’t use a box that much but on occasion I will squat off one in the offseason. I have clients do box squats here and there especially if they are slow out of the hole, pitch forward out of the bottom or have weak hips in general. Again, I don’t suggest you EVER replace and use them instead of a competition squat but the offseason is a good place to experiment with.

Pulling off 4 and 6” blocks in place of pulling off the floor.

Notice I didn’t say rack pulls. There is nothing wrong with rack pulls, but as far as precedence, I put the block pull much higher for a couple of reasons for those that struggle in the middle of the deadlift. I like the fact that the bar whips from the blocks, like pulling off the floor. In a rack pull the bar is wedged in the rack and the weights hang down. This is an advantageous position that can have its place in training but for most of us, block pulls are the way to go.


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Brian Carroll

Owner and Founder at PowerRackStrength.com
Brian Carroll is committed to helping people overcome back pain and optimizing lifts and movement. After years of suffering, he met back specialist Prof. McGill in 2013, which led to a life-changing transformation. In 2017, they co-authored the best-selling book "Gift of Injury." On October 3, 2020, Carroll made history in powerlifting by squatting 1306 lbs, becoming the first person to break this record. He retired with a secure legacy and a life free from back pain.
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