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

Brian is a world-class powerlifter with over two decades of elite and pro-level powerlifting under his belt. Coming back from a devastating back injury in 2012 that broke multiple bones and that most experts said he would never recover from, he has returned to the pinnacle of world-class lifting (while 100% pain and symptom-free) and is now dedicated to helping others avoid the same mistakes that he made in the past through private and group coaching in Jacksonville, FL. Brian’s impressive recovery has given him the opportunity to teach and deliver talks to physical therapists, chiropractors, medical doctors, professional strength & conditioning coaches and experts from all facets of sport, on how to avoid injury, while building anti-fragile strength and resilience in athletes.

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