Functional Training Centre

EP096: Program Design Insights to Build Pain-Free Muscle, Strength and Performance Gains for Life w/ Dr. John Rusin

I’ve known Dr. John Rusin for over 6 years now – both as a friend and colleague. In that time I’ve had the pleasure of hosting John at four events, including the PPSC certification – which brought together 110 coaches from all over the world. In 2020 John’s Pain Free Performance Training Certification course will be certifying close to 5,000 coaches all over the world because it straight up works.

I love talking with John on the podcast because it’s a chance for us to catch up and discuss how our thinking and experience around training has evolved. In particular, what we do with clients to get the absolute best results.

In this episode I talk to John about sequencing, quality of reps, the structure of a great training session, rep ranges, pump work, and everything in between. Expect some great insights that will help you improve the training and coaching of your clients as well as your own training.

Let’s go.


  • How to use John’s P4 model (Prepare, Prime, Perform, Pump) in your own training to maximize gains
  • The biggest mistake people make when taking a one dogmatic approach to their training
  • The definition of the “meathead de-load” and why you’re probably doing it (and why you shouldn’t!)
  • What a true max effort method lift is and how you can rotate exercises and reps for maximal results and pain-free performance
  • Why you should only “sprinkle in” true max effort reps and have them be absolutely pristine
  • Why the volume in a program should come from pain-free volume in the supplement and assistance work in training 
  • Why the KEY to working on your reps is based on your daily performance NOT on structured percentages (we reveal some methods we use)
  • Why it’s not the smartest training 4 big lifts in the 1-5 rep range in the same session and what ranges to use
  • How to use energy system training to enhance your recovery and bring your lifts up (yes, cardio can bring your lifts up!)
  • Novelty and why it’s so important for buy in – as well as getting better results
  • How to make a BIG difference with “slight variations” in your daily training programs and how it addresses the dynamic stability
  • How to de-construct the program for someone that has been in pain and switch it up so they get stronger and build muscle pain-free
  • How to apply tools, methods, and exercises you like into your programming and STILL stick to the principles that will help you succeed with your training

And much, much more.


Dr. John Rusin:

Pain Free Performance Training:

Dr. John Rusin Instagram:

Vigor Ground Fitness and Performance:

Vigor Life Podcast (iTunes):

Luka Hocevar YouTube Channel:

Luka Hocevar Instagram:

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback that you’d like to share? Leave me a review on iTunes.

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