Click here to Ask Joe about training.
If you send a question, it may appear on the website. Please do not submit a question if you do not
want it published. Only your first name will be used for privacy reasons.

BIG NEWS from Joe DeFranco!

Sunday, 31 August 2014 22:34

On set at the Muscle & Fitness cover shoot with the "Fittest Couple in the World"

Another busy summer has come and gone. It was a blur. And as usual, I had a difficult time keeping in touch with you guys. (Although, if you follow me on twitter, I did give weekly updates there.) My last blog post was way back in early July when I revealed my "pec-poppin' push-ups". At that point, I vowed to myself that I'd give my loyal website readers weekly updates as to what was going on in the Dirty Jerz at DeFranco's Gym. Unfortunately, things didn't go according to plan. But it wasn't due to a lack of effort - I assure you that! Although we're always busy training athletes during the summer months; this summer was different. This summer was much more than just a summer full of training...

This summer involved a few MAJOR projects that are about to come to fruition and I'm super excited to tell you about them...well, at least some of them. (One of them is a pretty big secret that will be revealed very, very soon :)) 

Anyway, you're about to find out the Top 4 reasons why I was "M.I.A." from my blog all summer. Here are the projects I've been working on in my "free time"...

#1 - Built 2 Last ebook

Screen_shot_B2L really exists! 

I've been talking about this program for almost a year now, but the wait is over! Built to Last will be available to YOU on Tuesday, September 16th!  Trust me, it will be well worth the wait. The changes and additions we made during the past 2-3 months have made all the difference. For example, Mike Guadango (co-creator of the program), dropped 4% bodyfat while gaining 10 pounds during our final test cycle on the program. He also added 8 reps to his close-grip bench press! (He went from 275lbs x 6 to 275lbs x 14 reps!) 

I personally got leaner than I've ever been in my entire life due to this new style of training. (Although I should also give some credit to Metabolic Meals for my improved body composition :)) I went from 231lbs to 222lbs and I am now able to see my abs for the first time since 1998!! My strength also increased. My bench press went from 315 x 4 reps at the start of the program to 365 x 5 reps during my final testing week!


I can't say enough about the program. We are so excited for you guys to experience the same type of success we experienced (along with the dozens of our "test subjects"). Don't forget to check back here on September 16th so you can download the ebook from our STORE page and get started ASAP! If you haven't already, I strongly encourage you to sign up for my FREE e-newsletter! It's at the top/right of this page. My e-newsletter subscribers will be the first informed when the ebook is available for download. 

#2 - NEW (members only) website


One of my major goals this year (and for years to come) is to reach out and help more coaches, personal trainers, gym owners, therapists, and washed-up meatheads. In order to do this, I will (finally) be cutting down on my training hours to free up some valuable time. As much as I love training athletes, after 20 years "on the gym floor", I feel like it's time to place more of an emphasis on helping other people in the fitness industry as well. The DeFranco Insider will be the perfect platform for me to do this. 

Although I've shared a TON of information on my website during the past 11+ years (and I will continue to do so), the DeFranco Insider will be different. To be completely honest and up-front -- as generous as I've been with my information over the years -- there are things that I'm not willing to share for free on a public forum. This is where the DeFranco Insider will come in. This exclusive website will provide the following:

  • Never-before-seen programs that I've designed for world-class athletes & VIP clients
  • CPPS monthly workouts & videos
  • Massive members-only video library / Exercise Index 
  • Members-only forum where you can post your training log and/or workout videos and get critiqued and advice from some of the best trainers and coaches in the world
  • Direct access to Joe DeFranco, Jim "Smitty" Smith, and other world-renowned trainers and coaches. (On a personal note: I will be logging onto the forum multiple times a week to answer questions and help our members out any way I can. I will be treating the members of the DeFranco Insider like an extension of my "gym family". Being active on the site will be a major priority of mine. 
Smitty and I are working around the clock to put the finishing touches on the site. The good news is that we are almost done and the site will go LIVE in October! I look forward to seeing you guys on the "inside"! 

#3 - Biggest Announcement/Partnership in Gym History?? 


This is probably the most exciting announcement on this list. It's been in the works for quite some time now and it's about to go down....but I can't reveal anything just yet. Sorry.

The good news is that I'm taking a trip in a few days and the big "reveal" shouldn't be too far behind. I apologize for the "tease", but I'm so friggin' pumped I felt compelled to write something. Please don't hold it against'll forgive me when you find out what the big secret is :)  

#4 - "Mainstream" Fitness DVD's will NEVER BE THE SAME!  

Move over Jillian Michaels, P90X, and the rest of you mainstream fitness types...
This dynamic duo is about to change the game! 

Since I probably pissed you off with my little "secret", I wanted to end on a good note. 

This past Thursday, I spent the day at the WWE Headquarters in Stamford, CT, for a Muscle & Fitness photo shoot with my good friends Paul "Triple H" Levesque and Stephanie McMahon. They will be gracing the cover of Muscle & Fitness in November/December to promote the release of their new Workout DVD's. I am honored and humbled to say that they chose me to develop the content for the DVD's (which were shot at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, FL, this past March). 

These DVD's are NOT your typical "mainstream" fitness dvd's that are filled with gimmicks and fluff. The workouts we designed for these DVD's are incredibly unique in that they were tough enough to crush many of the elite athletes at the Performance Center during filming, yet they are extremely "scalable" in order to suit beginners as well. (My wife has been doing the workouts in Stephanie's DVD for a few month's now and she absolutely loves it!) Stephanie's DVD will be part of WWE's new "Fit series" and it will provide 5 unique workouts: Upper Body, Lower Body, Abs, Flexibility, Fat Burning Cardio.  

Triple H's DVD will be part of WWE's new "Power series" and it will provide 5 unique workouts as well: Lower Body strength, Upper Body strength, Upper Body hypertrophy, Mobility, Muscle Building Cardio.

Both Triple H and Stephanie's DVD's can be performed at home with just your bodyweight and a pair of dumbells - so there's No Excuse! 

Look for the Muscle & Fitness issue - as well as the release of their DVD's - to hit the stores this holiday season! (November/December)

Now that you've seen what I've been up to, hopefully you'll give me a pass for not posting more on my blog this summer :) 

I will end this blog post with one of my favorite Bruce Lee quotes:
"If you knew you had to fight for your life tomorrow, would you change your training today?"

Now let's go kick September's ass!

Joe D. 



Ask DeFranco's Gym - episode #20: PEC POPPIN' PUSH-UPS!

Sunday, 06 July 2014 19:04


It's summertime and if you have the pecs of an 8-year-old girl, Joe D. is here to save the day! 

Click the 'PLAY' button below and pay attention, kids. This 4-minute video is about to change your "pec-less" life: 

Joe D. 

PS - If you enjoyed this push-up technique trick, you won't believe the amount of tips, tricks and technical advice that's packed into our new STRENGTH System! Check it out...




Joe D's "3-6-12" Badass Biceps Builder

Monday, 23 June 2014 20:31


Training athletes for performance is definitely my forte, but summertime is here and everyone is talking about getting “shredded abs” and “bigger biceps”, so I decided to address the latter topic. 

On a personal note, I’ve always had shitty biceps - whether it’s because of poor tendon insertion points or some other genetic factor - my biceps were always non-existent compared to my triceps. But, coming from a football background, I never really cared because my lack of biceps development didn’t negatively affect my performance on the field.

But now that I’m a washed-up meathead who’s approaching 40, I finally decided to give some priority to my biceps to see if I could get them to grow. After a few months of experimentation, I stumbled upon something that actually worked for me. Now I’m not saying this is the “be all, end all” of biceps training - and I'm certainly not saying my biceps are going to be mistaken for Arnold's biceps in his prime - but this is the first routine I’ve ever done that’s actually made a noticeable difference. 

The “secret” to this routine’s success is that each of the three exercises overload different points in the strength curve and different heads of the biceps brachii.

Simply put, this routine attacks the biceps from every angle to ensure full development.



1A. Eccentric Chin-ups (close, underhand grip): 3 reps, 10sec. each lowering

1B. 1½ rep Incline Dumbell Curls: 6 reps

1C. Band Curls: 12 reps

*Rest 10-15sec. b/t each exercise. Rest 3 minutes b/t each tri-set.
**Repeat for 2-5 tri-sets. 


Check out the video below and then I’ll explain more about the method behind the madness… 


Eccentric Chins
The purpose of performing eccentric chins is to develop the short head of the biceps. (The short head is stimulated whenever the arm is flexed in front of the body.)


We further increase recruitment by prolonging the time under tension because of the slow (10 second) lowering.


1½ rep Incline Dumbell Curls
The purpose of performing incline dumbell curls is to develop the long head of the biceps. (The long head is stimulated whenever the arm is extended behind the torso.)


We further increase recruitment by prolonging the time under tension by incorporating “1½ rep” sets.


Band Curls
The band curls are performed with the upper arm in a neutral position and a “hammer" grip is used to overload the brachialis.


(If you do not have a band, this exercise can be substituted with regular dumbell hammer curls.)


As you can see, each of the three exercises is performed with the upper arm in a different position. This is an overlooked component of biceps (and triceps) training, but training your arms at different angles is crucial if you’re trying to get them to grow! 

I suggest performing my “3-6-12” biceps workout twice a week (2-3 days apart) for 3-4 weeks. Start with two tri-sets during the first workout and work up to 5 tri-sets by week 3 or 4. (You can perform this routine by itself or as part of a full upper body workout.)


Got YOUR tickets?!



Joe D. 

PS – Like the tee I’m rockin’ in the video & pics? You can pick one up HERE.  



2 [Easy] Tips for a Stronger Bench Press!

Thursday, 12 June 2014 21:05


Q: I recently stopped doing skull crushers because they caused tremendous pain in my elbows. A trainer at my gym told me I should switch over to close grip benches because they caused less elbow strain. They are definitely less painful on my elbows but they kill my wrists!! What else can I do for my tris? I want to get my bench up so I don't want to wuss out and just do cable pushdowns. Any suggestions??? Kyle

A: Kyle,

It sounds to me like your close grip bench press grip is too close. This is an extremely common mistake I see all the time. When I prescribe close grip benches to my guys, I have them put their index finger on the smooth part of the bar (just inside the knurling).


That's as close as I'll have them go. I've found this grip best for both wrist & elbow health, as well as triceps strength and mass.

NOTE: My clientelle consists of larger-than-average guys, so "normal" sized guys (with shorter limb lengths) may be able to go a little closer and put their middle finger on the smooth part of the bar; but that's as close as I'd recommend for anyone.

Wrist & elbow problems are inevitable with this grip

Grip is "narrow", but not too close.
Wrists & elbows are aligned and in a safe, strong position

Hope this helps!

Joe D.


Q: Louie Simmons always talks about the back and lats being the "launching pad" for a big bench and I tend to agree. My question for you is what is your favorite back exercise for specifically improving the bench press? Thanks for your insight coach.


A: Evan,

I don't have one specific favorite upper back exercise for improving the bench press, but my favorite category of exercises would definitely be isometric holds.

Bench pressing properly involves creating torque at the shoulders, while pulling the scapula 'back and down'. I've noticed a tremendous increase in strength & stability on the bench after I started incorporating more isometrics into my upper back programming. Not only will your pressing numbers skyrocket, you'll add size & muscularity to your upper back - without the joint pain and stress that's associated with many other back movements.

Here are 3 of my favorite Upper Back isometrics for improving your bench press:

#1 - Prone Y-W-T's (Hold each position for 10-30sec. Rest 30-60sec. Repeat 3-4X.)


#2 - Double-banded Bent-over Rear Delt hold (Hold for 10-30sec, then rest for 10-30sec. Repeat 3-4X.)


#3 - Face Pull Iso-holds (Perform 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps, but hold each rep in the contracted position for 3-6sec. Rest 60sec. b/t sets.)


Start incorporating these exercises into your program and you'll no longer be embarrassed when someone asks, "How much ya bench?!"

Joe D.

PS - To learn more strength training tips, tricks and techniques, check out our NEW product: STRENGTH - Barbell Training Essentials



Page 1 of 41

Copyright 2014
Site by Yellow House Design