I saw on your website you were doing dumbbell bench presses on a stability ball for high reps, (22 I think it was). Why do you do these? For balance, tendon strength, endurance, muscle hypertrophy? Do you think they are useful to a football athlete like me, because it seems kind of opposite from doing the explosive bench press.
Also, when I bench press my elbows
flare out to a 90-degree angle. Is
that a problem?
Thanks for your time and knowledge,
You’re correct. Dumbbell benches on a stability ball for high reps are the opposite of explosive/ballistic benches. They both have different purposes in training. I usually cycle the high-rep dumbbell benches on the stability ball into my routine about every 8-10 weeks. I’ll perform 3 sets to failure with a sub-maximal weight and minimal rest between sets. I’ll do this once a week for 3 weeks and try to perform more repetitions each week. This exercise would replace my “max-effort” exercise on my heavy upper body day for 3 weeks. You can definitely benefit from this lift as well. Here’s why:
As for your second question, your elbows are flaring out at 90-degrees because you are a “pec bencher”. This is usually because your triceps and upper back aren’t as strong as they should be. Your upper arms should be at a 45-degree angle in relation to your upper body when the bar is on your chest in the bottom position of the bench press. Get those triceps strong by performing more dips, dumbbell and barbell extensions, rack lockouts and close-grip benches. The best exercises for your upper back are chin-up variations and barbell, dumbbell and cable rowing.
Train like a madman!
I’m a high school freshman basketball player and I’m obsessed with my vertical jump. I’ve read all of your articles, programs and comments on vertical jumping and I’m very impressed. You’re very knowledgeable. My question for you is how much does your diet affect how high you can jump? I’m no stranger to fast food and the lunch they serve at school isn’t healthy (cheeseburgers, pizza, french fries, pretzels). I want to dunk by the time I’m a senior!
Sometimes pictures can tell a thousand words. Below you will see two of my dedicated athletes. They are both 17-year-old high school basketball players here in New Jersey. John is 6’01” and Jake is 6’02”. They can both dunk a basketball in their sleep!
John Iannuzzi – 37” vertical jump
Jake Podhurst – 35” vertical jump
Do either one of these kids look like they eat fast food? Of course not! It’s also not a coincidence that both of them can jump through the roof. They have achieved such great results in their training because they have made sacrifices. If you don’t want to be average, you must also make sacrifices. This means that you shouldn’t be eating like an average high school kid. Be a leader – NOT a follower! If your school doesn’t serve a healthy lunch, make your own lunch! If all of your friends are going to Burger King after school, go home and make yourself a healthy lunch and then meet up with them.
If you want to be explosive and jump through the roof, you can’t be built like the Pillsbury doughboy. Clean up your diet, hit the weight room and out-work all of your teammates on the court. You’ll be dunking in no time.
White men can jump!
Q: What exercises
do you credit for rehabbing Dhani Jones' knee?
I didn’t do the initial rehab, I did Dhani's "post"-rehab. There’s a difference. I met him after the doctor who performed the surgery gave him the "green light" to workout. When I met him his leg was still weak/unstable. Sometimes the physical therapy that follows the initial knee rehab is too “generic” to get the job done – especially for an advanced athlete. When Dhani came to me the VMO of the knee he had surgery on was non-existent and still very weak. I knew it was time to take the “rehab” to the next level.
Although the program I designed for him was very in-depth and contained strength, speed, flexibility and plyometrics, I'm assuming you want strength exercises. The BIG 2 that I felt made the biggest difference were:
These 2 strength exercises were key components in getting muscle back on his VMO and getting him back on the field.
I have looked at a lot of websites over the years and this is maybe the
best/most informational one I have encountered. I have a lot of questions but I'm sure you're busy so I'll just ask this one.
What does a normal week look like for your athletes in terms of lifting and running? How many days a week do your guys train (training frequency)? Do you lift full body together or do you use an upper/lower split and how often? How does the frequency differ in the off-season as opposed to the in-season?
Thanks a lot.
Your question is very general. The training frequency and the training split are different depending on the level of the athlete, the athlete’s sport and the time of year (in-season vs. off-season). I’ll give you some general guidelines, though.
Obviously you have to cut down on the total volume of your training during the athletic season. This is because most of your time and energy must be spent on the technical component of your sport (a.k.a., practice). You shouldn’t neglect training altogether, though. Like I’ve said time and time again, “What good is it to be big, strong and fast in the off-season, if you are going to let yourself get as weak as an 8-year-old girl when it counts the most (during the season)? I usually cut most of my athlete’s training volume down to 1-2 training sessions a week during the season. The duration of these sessions is shorter as well. The sessions usually last anywhere from 15-45 minutes during the season. I usually perform full body workouts during the season with my athletes. No extra running/conditioning is performed with me because most of my athletes get enough conditioning during practice and games.
During the off-season, most of my athletes strength-train 4 times a week (2 upper body and 2 lower body sessions), work on flexibility 3-6 times a week and either run once a week or not at all. Nutrition/supplementation is also addressed and taken very seriously during this time. Six to eight weeks out from the season, we cut back slightly with the strength training (usually 3X a week) and start running/conditioning 3-5 times a week. “Double-sessions” are performed on certain days to get all the workouts in.
Remember that these guidelines are VERY general. Hopefully it paints a little clearer picture of what I do here with my athletes. If you have any more specific questions, let me know.
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