Training in the Off-season

Training in the Off-season

-Matthew Cavalier


For a lot of strength athletes out there, you might find yourself in the middle of or approaching the offseason for you. Now, everyone’s “offseason” might happen during a different time depending on your experience level and when your next competition or meet is, but every strength athlete will have some portion of the year where they aren’t competing. Team sports like football, baseball, basketball, etc. have a schedule off-season every year.  For casual competitors who just enter competitions for fun, you may not particularly care what really happens between now and your next competition, if you even decide that you want to compete again. For those of you who take competing a little more seriously and care to improve every year, what happens in the off-season is significant. Let’s talk about some things to consider for your next off-season training.

Take it Seriously

If you are someone who takes their training and progress as an athlete seriously, the off-season should not be taken lightly. This is the time you will have to really develop and grow. If you need to get generally stronger, this is the time to do it. If you need to cut some body fat and build back up with leaner mass, this is the time to do it. This is the time for change. Not just in strength sports, but in sports in general, I have seen so many people waste their off-season on things that don’t contribute to what is supposed to be their goal. They’ll either train with no plan, be inconsistent with their training or just not care about it at all. Whether it’s the chance to qualify for a regional or national competition or just to see some personal improvement, the off-season is the time to do that. Once you’re twelve weeks or sixteen weeks away from your next competition or meet, it’s really too late to really put yourself in a position to push to the next level. Sure, you’ll get better at the movement because you’re practicing it, but you’ll reach your limit pretty quickly, and there’s only so much you can really do to push it. Set some goals for the off-season and have a plan to get it done.

Get Away from Specificity

During the preparation for a meet or competition, you will need to be dialed in to what you are doing. For example, if you are a powerlifter, you will need to focus on the bench, deadlift and squat. If you are a strongman competitor, you will need to focus on the events. The off-season is a great opportunity to make yourself a more well rounded athlete. Spend some time building strength and athleticism in ways that you may not have tried before. Providing a new stimulus for your body is a sure fire way to promote adaptation and strength gains. For example, if you’ve been training in the low rep ranges with high intensity for a while, this would be a great time to consider progressing your training through high volume for a while. Training your body to push through those brutal double digits reps and sets schemes will help build your work capacity and provide a new stimulus for growth. Don’t be afraid to take a set here and there to failure and push your ability to fight through fatigue. Another good thing to consider is to train like a bodybuilder for some time. Instead of limiting yourself with a set number of exercises, open up the tool box and train a plethora of exercises. Rotate them in and out and really work hard to push them. Doing so will help fill in the gaps in weaknesses and build a base or foundation to launch from for your next competition preparation phase. This would be a good time to do some cross training with the other strength sports. Like already stated, new stimuli will help promote growth. So, if you’re a powerlifter, consider programming in something like carries. Farmer carries, frame carries and sandbag carries are great ways to build overall brute strength. Throw in some loading events and you’ll build some serious power. If you’re a strongman, maybe consider taking a page from CrossFit and hop on an assault bike to get your heart pumping. Build up your cardio to help improve your work capacity during moving events. While being strong might be the primary goal as a strongman, you can’t convince me that having at least a fair level of cardiovascular endurance wouldn’t be beneficial. Once it’s time to prepare for a competition, it’s all about specificity to what you are doing and perfecting technique. There won’t be much time to really build overall strength when you need to focus on things like transition time during moving events or fixing your deadlift technique.

Improve/Experiment with Technique

Overall strength and conditioning are not the only things that can be improved during the off-season. This is also a good opportunity to experiment and improve upon the technique your lifts. Consider this time a workshop for your lifts. Consult other lifters or a coach, record your sets and figure out what works best for you. Everyone will not move the same, and how you move can change as your body changes. Take the time to figure out what is the most efficient technique for you and practice it. Whether it’s your feet placement, hand placement, bar placement, grip, or whatever little nuance you find in your lifts, this is the time to figure out what works best for you. One you get into competition prep, you more or less have to commit to whatever technique you have. Sure, you can make minor adjustments here and there, but big changes to your techniques carry the risk of derailing your progression. Don’t wait until you are six weeks out from a competition to decide you’re going to split jerk an axle instead of push press it. Work on that during the off-season. Figure out what works now before it’s too late.

If you are within driving distance of Baton Rouge and need a place to train for your next strongman competition, powerlifting meet or weightlifting meet, check out the Atlas Strength shop for all of your training needs. Send an email to for your next visit. You can also check out our apparel line and programming options on our website. Be sure to like our Facebook page, here, and follow us on Instagram, here. Do you need a high quality energy supplement that won’t leave you with that crashing feeling? Check out veteran owned and use promo code ATLASSTRENGTH at checkout to get 20% off of your order. If you’re like me, and you like to bite down while lifting, you need to protect your teeth. Check out Impact Mouthguards and their custom molded mouth guards. Use promo code ATLASSTRENGTHSHOP at checkout to get 10% off of your order.  But wait? What if you have a glorious Beard?  Check out and use Promo Code “ATLASSTRENGTH” to save 15% on all o your beard care!!

On November 19, 2022, the Atlas Strength Shop will be hosting its third annual strongman competition, the Rougarou Classic. If you  are interested in competing, check out the event page on

“The only easy day was yesterday.” -US Navy SEALS