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.

2010 World's Strongest Athlete Contest date has been set!

Sunday, 09 May 2010 21:32


This is the first official announcement for this years World's Strongest Athlete Contest! We've decided to spread the word sooner this year so people have more time to train and make travel arrangements. Below you will find most of the details regarding the contest...I also strongly encourage everyone to check back often for more specific details regarding the actual events and charity info!


-This years event will be held on Saturday, July 17th at 12:00pm at Overtime Sports Facility in Wayne, NJ.

-Once again, there will be FOUR divisions:

High School Athletes (This category includes HS seniors that have graduated and will be enrolling in college in the fall.)

College Athletes (If you just graduated in the Spring 2010 semester, we are still allowing you to compete in this category.)

Professional Athletes (Professional Strongmen & Professional Powerlifters do NOT qualify for this contest.)

Police/Fire/Military Personnel

-If you want to compete in this contest, you MUST register ONLINE on the WSA Website BEFORE June 17, 2010!

-Payment for the contest is due THE DAY OF THE EVENT!! If you don't bring a check or cash, you will NOT be allowed to compete! Period.

-There will be a $10 entrance fee for all spectators.

-This years events are as follows:

600-pound Tire Flip: High School athletes will be required to flip the tire 3x. Police/Fire/Military will flip the tire 4x. College & Professional Athletes have to flip the tire 5x. This is a timed event.


60-Yard Farmers Walk: Athletes will be required to walk 30 yards, turn around a cone, and walk 30 yards back to the starting line. High School Athletes will carry 172 pounds in each hand. EVERY OTHER DIVISION will be carrying 202 pounds in each hand.


Seated Hand-Over-Hand Rope Pull: This event requires the athletes to pull a weighted sled that is attached to a 75-foot rope, hand-over-hand, until the sled reaches them. High School Athletes will be required to pull three 45-pound plates on the sled. Police/Fire/Military will pull four 45-pound plates. College & Pro Athletes will pull five 45-pound plates.


60-Yard Backward/Forward Sled Drag: This event requires the contestants to drag a sled backwards for 30 yards and then turn around and drag it forward for 30 yards to the finish. High School athletes will be dragging four 45-pound plates on the sled. Police/Fire/Military will drag five plates. College & Pro Athletes will drag six plates.


-ALL events will be performed on a FieldTurf surface.

-100% of the profits from this event will goto the National MS Society



I will continue to post info and more specifics regarding the contest on this site as things unfold. But I highly recommend checking out our official World's Strongest Athlete webpage at! This is where you must register for the contest, learn about sponsorships, send in your questions regarding the event, etc.!

This years event is going to be INSANE!! I'll be back with more info soon!

Until next time, take action and REGISTER TO COMPETE NOW!!!

-Joe D.




"Behind the Scenes" - Dynamic / Rep Upper Body Workout

Thursday, 22 April 2010 22:19


Check out "Behind the Scenes" as a couple of our high school athletes perform an upper body workout at our gym!

Here's a copy of the actual workout:


1. Tire Battles: 5x10-20 seconds (Vary time each set)

2. Flat DB Bench Press, palms in: 1xMax reps

3A. Inverted Rows, feet elevated (Thick Double-D handle): 3x10
3B. Underhand grip band pull-aparts: 3x12

4A. Cable Lateral Raises (thick handle): 2x10
4B. Seated DB Clean+Press: 2x10

5. Battling Ropes: 2x30 seconds

6. "Hercules" Hold (w/ entire weight stack): 2xMax time

Check out some highlights of the actual workout...

Let us know what you thought about the workout by leaving your feedback/questions in the comments section below!

-Joe D.


P.S. For those of you that have been emailing me regarding THE LOST SECRETS OF STRENGTH: BUSINESS FILES DVD/CD; I wanted to inform you that they are back in stock on our STORE page!



"Behind the Scenes" - Lower Body Strength/Power Workout

Tuesday, 13 April 2010 22:45


One of the things I'm going to start incorporating into my blog posts are random, "Behind the Scenes" videos of entire workouts at my facility. As my business continues to grow and my plate continues to get fuller and fuller, I haven't had the time to update my blog as often as I would like. (Unfortunately, I need to give top priority to the aspects of my business that actually pay the bills :) But, I've always loved answering questions on my website and providing great content for my website readers. My "ASK JOE" column is something that I plan on keeping around for a long, long time. So I've been thinking of more efficient ways for me to provide content to my site more frequently. Since I still spend the majority of my days in the gym, training athletes, I will periodically film entire workouts and then just post them. I obviously won't show every single set, rep, rest period, etc. What I WILL do is write out the entire program, along with the rationale behind it, and provide a video to tie it all together. This will give everyone a cool look "inside" the gym and see some of the different programming we use with our athletes.

So without further ado, here's a "Behind the Scenes" look at a Lower Body Strength/Power session performed by my 12:00 crew this past Tuesday!


1. TKE's w/ Average Band - 3 x 15

2A. Safety Bar Squats off pins - 5 x 2
2B. Box Jumps - 5 x 3

3. Sled Accelerations - 4 x 15 yards

4. "Big Dog" Swings ( 124lb. KB) - 3 x 12

5. Band-Resisted sit-ups - 4 x 25

The method behind the madness:

**TKE's: I've spoken about the benefits of this exercise on countless occasions. Almost every single athlete with patella tendonitis or general "knee pain" can't believe how much better their knees feel after just 2-3 sets of this exercise. You'd be crazy not to do them! Always conclude your warm-up with TKE's when squatting, jumping or deadlifting. Period.

**For athletes that are only performing 1 lower body 'strength' session per week, starting their workout with a heavy squat or deadlift variation followed by a jump, gives them a great "bang for their buck". In the above workout, I chose Safety bar squats off pins as my "heavy" movement. Notice I said "heavy", not "max". Lifting "heavy" weights excite the CNS and recruit your fast-twitch fibers, without burning you out (like "max" singles often do). This increases neural firing when you perform your jumps. Athletes will notice that they are able to jump higher, with less "effort", during their squat/jump pairing with this workout. (The "technical" term for this type of training is called 'post-activation potentiation'.) Perform at least 5 "supersets" to get the most out of this part of the workout.

**After the squat/jump pairing, you want to try and transfer the high-threshold motor units into a synchronized activity (like acceleration sled sprints). Simply put, while your CNS is in a heightened state, I like to have my athletes perform an "athletic" movement that is more "specific" to their sport. Since the 4 athletes that performed this workout were all football players, I chose a weighted, short sprint. When training for power, I've always felt like this helped "bridge the gap" from the weightroom to the athletic field. I'll give another example to help clarify my point: If you were going to have a boxer or MMA athlete perform this type of workout for the upper body; you may have them start with bench presses and medicine ball throws. Then, your next exercise can be hitting the heavy bag for 4 sets of 10-15 seconds to help transfer/synchronize the motor units that were previously recruited.

**Heavy Kettlebell Swings: I wanted to finish this lower body workout with a hip extension exercise that also had a little bit of a "conditioning" component (since mini camp may be right around the corner for a few of these guys); what better way to hit the posterior chain and finish everyone off than a 124-pound kettlebell?!

**Band-resisted sit-ups: I have to give credit to Brian Cushing for this unique sit-up variation. When he was home last month, he came up with this...we tried it...I loved it...most of the athletes HATED I kept it in the program!!!

Finally, I gotta give props to William Paterson University wide receiver, Joel Rivera. This was his very first workout with us! I threw him to the wolves with some of our longtime 'disciples' to "test" him...and he passed the test!! He definitely earned his DeFranco "wings" after that workout!!

What did you guys think of the workout? Drop us a comment below and let us know your thoughts!

-Joe D.





Hang Cleans vs. Weighted Jumps

Thursday, 25 March 2010 20:40


Q: Hey Joe D I really enjoyed your recent blog post about developing knockout power! The weighted jumping exercises definitely make sense..i'm looking forward to incorporating some of your suggestions into my workouts!! My question is where do hang cleans and power cleans fit into the mix? I'm assuming your rationale behind the weighted jumps is the explosive hip extension(triple extension) involved, correct?? Well aren't cleans the ultimate hip extension power movement? I know you train tons of football players so surely you incorporate them somewhere in your training programs? Any input would be golden coach..THANKS!

Brandon - Baltimore, Maryland


A: Brandon,

I've discussed my stance regarding hang cleans and power cleans many times before on this website. Simply put, I don't feel they are necessary for any class of athlete (with the exception of Olympic weightlifters).

I don't want to bore my readers by re-writing what's already been written, so I suggest you check out the following links:

Olympic lifting debate (again)!

Can you get "explosive" without doing power cleans?

10 Training Myths Exposed! (See "Myth #4)

If you search my website, you'll will find even more posts regarding this topic.


Since many years have past since some of these posts were written, I've decided to provide my readers with a new perspective on this age-old topic. Instead of simply listing the "why's" of why I don't have my athletes perform cleans; I thought that providing some videos would paint a clearer picture.

Let's remember that every coach that advocates hang cleans or power cleans does so because of the "triple extension" involved with these movements. The problem is, you will be hard-pressed to ever find an athlete (besides an Olympic weightlifter) getting a "triple extension" benefit! I did my best to find a good video representation of someone who performs cleans like the majority of athletes out there. (I wanted to find a non Olympic-weightlifting athlete performing the lift. I did not go out of my way to find a really "bad" video, either.) The below video shows what most high school and college athletes look like when they perform cleans. (NOTE: I don't know the person in this video; and I'm not trying to offend him in any way. The sole purpose of this video is to help people 'see' my point.)

One of the reasons I feel coaches believe that cleans are making their athletes "explosive" is because they focus their attention on the barbell, instead of focussing on the athlete during the lift! The barbell bounces around and the weights make loud noises, so everyone thinks something "explosive" is happening! Unfortunately, the only things usually "exploding" are the athlete's lumbar spine, patella tendons and the tendons and ligaments that support their wrists!

I suggest watching the below video three times. The first time focus solely on the athlete's hips. The second time focus on the athlete's knees. And the third time focus on the athlete's ankles. Do NOT watch the barbell!

If you're like me, you probably didn't see any "explosive" hip, knee or ankle extension! Unfortunately, the technique utilized in the above video represents about 98% of what I've seen in my 13+ years in this profession.

The final "clincher" for me this past year was when THREE separate Division 1 college football players entered my program with surgically-repaired wrists due to the "catch" phase of this exercise! All three of these athletes were forced to do hang cleans during their college careers and now their training will be negatively effected forever. FYI, two of the three athletes are now in the NFL and have to deal with an injury that was 100% preventable if their coaches would have provided them with safer, more logical, exercise choices! Speaking of which...

Check out three examples of some of our favorite weighted jump variations. Again, I suggest watching each video 3x. Check out the hips, knees and ankles of each athlete while viewing the videos. Notice the increased range of motion and much more "explosive" extension (compared to the hang clean) at each of the three joints discussed.

This first video shows a bunch of highlights from a workout performed by UFC fighter, Dan Hardy, training at our gym last week. But I've posted it specifically for everyone to check out the first exercise shown - Trap Bar Jumps.

Single leg squat jumps

Seated box jump w/ weight vest

The beauty of these three exercises, as well as all of the weighted jump variations we have our athletes perform, is that you can't perform them without 'triple extension'! All of these exercises are basically fool-proof! I'm also proud to say that I've never seen an athlete get injured while performing any of our favorite jump variations. I've sure as hell never seen torn wrist ligaments or a ruptured disk; two injuries that are all too common during the "catch" phase of hang cleans and power cleans. I'll take an occasional scraped shin every now and then while box jumping any day of the week!


To conclude; I am in no way "bashing" hang cleans or any of the Olympic lifts. As I've stated time and time again, there are no "bad" exercises, just bad technique! I'm sure many athletes enjoy performing hang cleans and have benefitted from them. If you like doing them, go right ahead; it sure as hell doesn't matter to me! But, in my profession, I have to look at the risk:reward ratio of every exercise I prescribe. My job depends on it. There's just too much money at stake for many of my athletes to risk their health in an environment that's supposed to help prevent injury! Their sports are dangerous enough; I sure as hell don't need them getting injured in my weightroom!

And I can tell you - without question - weighted jump variations will make you just as "explosive", if not more, than any Olympic lift variation...without the risk! To me, it's a no-brainer!

-Joe D.

What did you think of this blog post? Gimme your feedback below by leaving a comment.










Page 29 of 42

Copyright 2014
Site by Yellow House Design