Saturday, 06 March 2010 23:08
Q: Hey this email is for Coach DeFranco. can someone please forward it to him? I know your busy coach but I was wondering if you can comment on the internet rumors that your training Dan Hardy for his title fight against Georges St. Pierre?? ive seen this mentioned on a couple different forums but there hasn't been any word from your camp so im thinking its just a rumor?? if im completely off on this i appologize for wasting your time.
now onto my question. in your experience what is the best way a boxer or mma athlete can improve their punching power in the weightroom? Im aware of the importance of technical training with a striking coach but i'd love to hear your thoughts on what exercises/techniques you feel would best compliment the technical training to create an absolute beast with KNOCKOUT POWER!
Mike, Seattle WA
PS - your CAN'T rant was the kick in the ass i needed to get me back in the gym and back to competing!! You touch more people than you will ever realize..keep changing the game coach!!
I'm extremely excited to announce that the "rumors" regarding Dan Hardy coming to New Jersey to train with us are true!!! Here's an excerpt from Men's Fitness UK magazine explaining how all of this came about:
Men's Fitness Fight News 21/01/10
Dan Hardy (on the right here) is training at legendary US trainer Joe DeFranco's take-no-prisoners gym in New Jersey to get ready to face GSP for the UFC welterweight title
Finally, we’re pleased to report that two Men's Fitness UK regulars are teaming up: British welterweight favourite Dan Hardy will be doing the final preparations for his title fight against Georges St-Pierre at Joe DeFranco’s gym in New Jersey, which Men's Fitness UK visited in 2009. ‘When we sat down to plan Dan's title camp, we decided that in order to acclimatise and get used to being back in the US, we wanted to train for three weeks in New Jersey before the fight,’ says Hardy’s regular strength and conditioning coach, Ollie Richardson. ‘Because of my commitments with England and Leicester [rugby union teams] I couldn't afford the time away, so we immediately thought of Joe DeFranco, his team and his gym. Dan and I felt that the environment and intensity that DeFranco's is renowned for was exactly what we wanted in the run up to the title shot. The last few weeks of the camp are critical for Dan's preparation and we are supremely confident that we've made the right choice.’
‘I'm a big fan of Dan Hardy,’ DeFranco told Men's Fitness UK this week. ‘I like how he fights – he's a tough, confident bastard!’
[End Men's Fitness excerpt]
I'm obviously not going to write about any of the specifics of Dan's strength & conditioning workouts. (For all the strength coaches and trainers that are reading this; check out Ollie Richardson's website - FighterStrength.com. Ollie is a super-intelligent rugby and fight coach in the UK with similar philosophies to ours. He is the man responsible for getting us involved with Dan's training camp for this fight.) My team and I are honored that Dan and Ollie put their trust in us to help carry out the final three weeks of Dan's preparation for this title fight. We are going to do everything in our power to make Dan's transition from the UK to the US seamless.
One thing's for sure; EVERYONE involved in this training camp is bringin' their "A" Game!
Now onto your question regarding knockout power:
While reading your question, I remembered answering a similar question regarding punching power not too long ago. So I went back into my 'ASK JOE ARCHIVES' and it turns out, I answered that question 7 years ago!! Man, time flies when you're having fun
I highly recommend that you click on the above hyperlink and check out my answer. I must say that most of my answer has "stood the test of time". With that being said, there is something I've put even more "stock" into since 2003 when I answered that question:
Experience has now proven to me that the #1 way to develop ANY kind of power is through weighted jumping exercises! I don't care if you're talking about punching, kicking, throwing, hitting, sprinting, etc. In my opinion, weighted jumps are - without question - THE foundation for any athlete looking to develop POWER! I will also include the coupling of a strength movement with an un-resisted jump in my category of "weighted jumps". (Example: Performing a low-rep set of deadlifts or squats, resting 10-20sec., then performing squat jumps or hurdle jumps, etc.)
As the years have gone on, we've been using more and more jump variations in our program, and the results continue to speak for itself! There just isn't any strength exercise that can compare to the ability to jump with an external load. The key obviously lies in the fact that when you jump, you don't have to decelerate at all (as opposed to lifting weights). "Releasing" objects - whether it's your bodyweight off the ground or throwing an object - is the most efficient way to develop power.
"The Asshole" performs a 45" box jump while wearing a 60-POUND weight vest!
I suggest cycling different types of jumps with all different types of resistance. Box jumps, squat jumps, broad jumps, hurdle jumps, kneeling jumps, single leg squat jumps and jumps from a seated position are just a few of our favorites at DeFranco's! Vary your resistance by holding DB's, wearing a weighted vest, ankle weights, using band resistance, etc.
Brian Cushing jumps onto a 50" box from a seated position...while wearing a 20-POUND vest!
As I've stated time and time again, a HUGE benefit of jumping is that there is almost no learning curve! In other words, you don't need to spend months, or even days, "learning" how to jump. The benefits of weighted jumps literally start to take place during your very first session!
And if you really want to develop "heavy hands" to KNOCK SOMEONE OUT, make sure you incorporate my favorite "special" exercises along with your weighted jumps! My three favorite "special" exercises for developing knockout power are:
#3 - Medicine ball throws
#2 - Sledgehammer Tire Chopping
#1 - TIRE BATTLES!
NOTE: This blog post is intended for information purposes only. Please don't use the information provided to "Snooki" any innocent bystanders.
Wednesday, 17 February 2010 22:47
Three weeks ago, I had the good fortune of spending the weekend in Miami at the NFL Pro Bowl with three of my clients (and now close friends) - Miles Austin, Brian Cushing and David Diehl. I also got to rub elbows and talk training with many other coaches and players from the NFL's elite group. It was an experience of a lifetime! It was also an experience that would not have been possible if i listened to any of the people who told me what I "can't" do throughout my life! Read on and I'll explain...
Anyone who knows me, knows how much I hate airplanes and how much I hate to fly. But, I must say, the three-hour flight to Miami gave me a much-needed break. It's not often I get three hours free from training sessions, meetings, questions, favors, phone calls, emails and text messages! I basically had no choice but to sit back and relax. It was also the first time since I started my business that I really had a chance to reflect on all that has happened in my life since I took the entrepreneurial plunge!
I have to admit, I started to feel somewhat emotional as I sat on the plane and reflected on the "humble beginnings" of my business. After all, it wasn't long ago that I "rolled the dice" and started training athletes out of a storage closet with no money in the bank and no "Plan B"! In a blur, seven years have already passed, and I was now on my way to go watch three of my clients play in the damn Pro Bowl!
Two of the three Pro-Bowlers (David Diehl & Brian Cushing) were around during my initial "storage closet" years. (For those of you who aren't familiar with my "storage closet" references; when I first started my own business, I didn't have enough money to buy or rent a warehouse, so I rented an old storage closet that was downstairs from a health club. I basically cleaned it out, painted it and equipped it with the 'bare essentials'. So the "storage closet" I often refer to was my first "facility".)
It seems like yesterday that David Diehl walked into the storage closet as a rookie, sat down at the desk that was placed next to my belt squat machine (I called this my "office" ) with a pen & paper, and he officially "hired" me as his personal trainer. It was at this first meeting that we mapped out his training sessions and reviewed his goals - both short-term & long-term. Three of which were: Start every game. Play in a Superbowl. Make the Pro Bowl. He can now put a 'check' next to each one of those initial goals! True Story.
It was during this time that a stud high school athlete was also training with us and making incredible gains on a "modified" version of the Westside Barbell method that I was experimenting with. I was logging all of his workouts and taking notes every single day for an article I was writing entitled, "Westside for Skinny Bastards". I had a feeling that this kid was going to be really good so I wanted to document everything. The kid's name was Brian Cushing and he did turn out to be really good!
As I was reflecting on these - as well as many other stories - I had a flashback of the "advice" a former employer gave me after I told him I was going to start my own training business. Here's what he told me:
Reflecting on that conversation really made me think about how different my life would be if I actually listened to him...
Where would I be right now?
What the hell would I be doing?
Who would I be?
I can't even imagine my life without my gym. The athletes, parents, coaches and cast of characters that walk through my doors each day have become my extended family.
I now speak to individuals all over the world and also have products explaining the "business" of owning and operating your own warehouse or garage gym. People want to know the "secret" behind my gym's success...they wanna know how we increased our revenue by 43% during a friggin' recession...they wanna know what was my "back-up" plan...and they wanna know what was my initial 5-year plan, etc., etc.
The secret is... THERE IS NO SECRET! Truth be told, I had NO back-up plan and NO 5-year plan! And when I first opened the doors of my "gym", I sure as hell wasn't worrying about "profit margins" and "marketable catch phrases" like my old boss was telling me about. And maybe there wasn't any "value" in the old storage closet I converted into my gym. But the financial "value" my old boss was referring to - and the "value" I was trying to create - were two completely different things! You can't put a dollar value on passion, determination and work ethic. And maybe that's why I never had "Plan B" and "what if" never crossed my mind. I was so damn determined to have the most badass gym on the planet - and I loved training athletes so much - failure truly never crossed my mind!! I had this insane "tunnel vision" - my mind literally NEVER strayed from my ultimate goal. Some people call this "bad business" or a "lack of planning"; I call it finding your passion in life, doing what you love for a living, and refusing to settle for anything less! When you find your passion and you combine it with consistent hard work, things have a tendency to "fall into place" and good things start to happen. Trust me on this one!
All this reflecting really made me think about how many athletes out there have been told they "CAN'T" do something:
You can't because you're too short...
You can't because you're too slow...
You can't because you're not good enough...
You can't because you don't have enough money...
You can't because you don't have enough time...
Are you going to listen to "them", or are you going to prove "them" wrong?!
Are you going to let someone else dictate your life?! YOU BETTER NOT!!!
I fuc*ing THRIVE on people telling me I can't do something... and you should too!!
Tell me I can't do something! I dare ya...
*Please leave your comments below and let me know your thoughts on this rant!
Thursday, 21 January 2010 21:10
I'm a high school and future college football player. Over the past two years I've pulled both of my hamstrings a couple of times. They're all healed except one of them kind of lingers. I've done PT and other kinds of stretches and exercises that I have found but it doesn't seem to go away for some reason. The hammy that I'm having trouble with was injured about two months ago and I don't want to have this going into college... I was hoping that you might have some additional tips or video recommendations that might help me. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
If you want to build indestructible hamstrings, there's only one thing you gotta do!! Check out the video below and all your problems will be solved...
Hopefully you sense my sarcasm!!!
Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is most high school kids' idea of hamstring training is to perform a couple sets of hamstring curls at the end of their workout. This is why hamstring pulls are such an epidemic; athletes do not properly prepare their hammy's for the demands of the athletic field! The bottom line is - if you're a serious athlete that's after health & performance - don't model your training after the above video -- and NEVER take training advice from a man whose neck and upper arms are the same size as his wrists!
OK, enough ball-busting...help is on the way. Here is my Fantastic Five list of extremely simple - yet valuable - tips for developing indestructible hamstrings! I have utilized these five tips for over a decade with my athletes with incredible success.
The suggestions listed below are guaranteed to make you feel like you've got a brand new pair of hamstrings! Incorporate them into your training ASAP!!!
Favor hip extension exercises over knee flexion exercises
I never figured out why knee flexion exercises are more popular - especially with athletes - when training the hamstrings?? After all, at what point is knee flexion a prime movement in any sporting activity??? Think about it; sprinting, jumping, throwing, tackling, etc., all involve extension at the hip! Bending your knee so your heel touches your ass isn't required for too many sports. Hopefully you get my point. The bottom line is that your hamstring training should revolve around hip extension movments. Period.
Staples in our program include box squats, deadlifts, reverse hyperextensions, hyperextensions, pull-throughs, band good-mornings, dumbell & kettlebell swings, supine hip thrusts, single leg dumbell deadlifts, etc. I can go on and on, but my point is to show everyone that that are tons of hamstring exercises besides leg curls!
Perform 'Upright' Sled Walks regularly...whether you're "injured" or not...
The 'Upright' sled walk is a hip extension "all-star" because it strengthens your hamstrings without making you that sore or tight. The reason they don't make your hamstrings that sore is because there is no eccentric component to the exercise. Simply put, this exercise will strengthen your hamstrings without “tearing them apart”; this makes this exercise a great choice during the competitive season.
And if you do ever injure your hamstring, this should be the first exercise you do to strengthen it once you start the rehab process! I have had athlete's come to me with pulled hamstrings and this is the first exercise I usually prescribe. It has gotten many athletes back on the field way before their doctors thought it would be possible! Do them year-round and you probably won't have to use them as a "rehab" exercise.
Focus on lengthening the "surrounding" muscles!
Everyone stretches their hamstrings, yet the hamstrings are the most commonly pulled muscle group!? So, logic would tell us that this isn't the way to go. In my humble opinion, athletes should focus more on lengthening their hip flexors and glutes, instead of spending so much time directly stretching their hamstrings. Once you start focusing on these very important "surrounding muscles", you will have much less hamstring tightness and pulls (as well as low back pain). Trust me on this one!
Tight hip flexors create constant tension and "pull" on your hamstrings due to the anterior pelvic tilt that's created when this muscle group is tight. Whenever I see an athlete walking around with their ass out and a huge arch in their lower back (anterior pelvic tilt / hyperlordosis), I see an athlete that's prone to a hamstring pull! These athletes need to make hip flexor and glute/hip rotator stretching (and soft tissue work) a priority in their training ASAP!
While I'm on the topic of "surrounding muscles"; if an athlete does pull his/her hamstring, the worst thing to do is stretch the hamstring!! (Why the hell do so many people do this?? Think about it; "pulling" a muscle means you over-stretched it...so why on earth would you re-stretch it once the fibers start to heal?) Anyway, for the first couple days (or weeks), it's a better idea to stretch the hip flexors and surrounding muscles. Stretching the surrounding muscles will help alleviate the tension and constant "pull" that is placed on your hamstrings due to an anterior pelvic tilt.
In the off-season, perform natural (eccentric) glute-ham raises
The ability to perform this exercise will virtually bullet-proof your hamstrings!! Don't get me wrong, these are not easy and they take a lot of work; but, once you develop the strength to perform this exercise, you can sleep easy knowing that your hamstrings probably won't "let you down" on the athletic field!
If you can't perform the exercise like 'The Asshole' in the video above, just lower yourself as slowly as possible, then push yourself back up. (This is actually the more common way this exercise is performed...there aren't many athletes that can perform the concentric portion of this exercise like it's demonstrated in the above video.) I feel the eccentric portion of this exercise is actually the more "important" portion anyway; this is because it strengthens the hell out of your hamstrings while they're lengthening. This is great for preventing hamstring pulls that occur during the foot strike when an athlete is sprinting. This exercise is also an all-star in its ability to improve your sprinting speed!
The "natural" glute-ham raise, as well as glute-ham raises performed with a special glute-ham bench, are the only 2 knee flexion exercises I have my athletes perform.
Don't perform knee flexion exercises during the competitive season
I've never liked the idea of perform leg curls, glute-ham raises, or any knee flexion exercise for that matter, during the competitive season. I know many strength coaches will disagree with me on this; but the fact of the matter is I've had tremendous success for over a decade following this rule. Besides my personal experiences, I've also had the good fortune of meeting and speaking with thousands of high-level athletes that don't train at my facility. Whenever I meet athletes that have pulled their hamstrings, I always inquire about their training. Granted, I realize there are many other factors (warm-up, hydration, nutrition, etc.) involved, but the one trend I've noticed the most is that athletes that perform a lot of leg curls seem to pull their hammy's the most. My conversation with these athletes usually goes like this:
Me: "Before you pulled your hamstring, were you incorporating leg curls into your program?"
Athlete with pulled hammy: "Yeah! That's the thing, yo...my hamstrings are strong as hell. I make sure to do leg curls every time I train lower body! I can do the whole stack on the leg curl machine yo...that's why I can't believe this happened and shit!"
Timing is everything when it comes to knee flexion exercises. In my opinion - if you're going to do them - save them for the off-season. I just feel like they have a tendency to "tighten" your hamstrings and increase your chances for a pull when coupled with the demands of your sport.
One final award for Cush to conquer!!!
Brian called me today from L.A. and personally asked me to post a "thank you" to our website readers for your support of him throughout the season. You guys obviously supported him with regards to the Defensive Rookie of the Year & Pro Bowl voting...both Brian and I appreciate your time and support!
Well, it turns out that Cush has one more award to conquer in order to score the "hat trick" for this storybook rookie year. He's going to the Pro Bowl and he's earned the Defensive Rookie of the Year...but now he is nominated for the "overall" Rookie of the Year. He is currently one of five rookies nominated for the 2009 Pepsi Rookie of the Year!
So - one last time - I'm going to ask you guys to help one of the hardest-working, blue-collar athletes in the NFL, get what he deserves! It will literally take 5 seconds...just click on the picture below and then vote for Cush one last time!
Thanks again for the help!
Friday, 15 January 2010 20:04
Here is a quick, easy-to-read article that was just posted on EliteFTS.com. I thought it would be of interest to our readers who own - or aspire to own - a private training facility. Check out the article by clicking on the link below...
Page 29 of 41
Site by Yellow House Design