Q: Hey Joe,
I want to start by saying
bad-ass website and video!
Anyways, my question is about in-season leg training for track. Right now I’m at the beginning of track season where I run the 100-meter dash and mile relay. Before school I hit the weightroom 4 days a week to get my lifting in and I follow your example of a leg program on Tuesdays and Thursdays. However, recently during track practice I’ve really noticed a lot of early fatigue in my legs. I don’t want to quit lifting and lose any leg strength, especially since my main sport is football. So I was wondering if you could give me ANY tips or examples on what kinds of lifts and reps I should be doing.
Thanks for your time.
It sounds like you’re following my example leg program for the off-season. I wouldn’t lift legs twice a week during the season. I would lift upper body twice a week and lower body once a week. You can maintain your leg strength during track season with one productive leg workout a week. Try to perform the one leg workout as far away from your track meets as possible. For example, if your track meets usually fall on Mondays and Thursdays, you should lift legs on Friday.
Make sure you cut down on the volume as well. I would perform only 2-3 exercises per workout. Start with a squat or deadlift variation for multiple sets of low reps (For example, 5-7 sets of 2-5 reps). This is more neural training and it won’t make you too sore. I would then move onto a single leg movement with a more traditional set/rep scheme (For example, step-ups for 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps). I would finish your leg workout with a hip extension movement for 2-3 sets (For example, reverse hypers, pull-throughs or sled dragging).
By the way, stay away from knee flexion exercises such as leg curls during the season. I like them better for the initial stages of the off-season, not during the season. They have a tendency to tighten the hamstrings and may increase your risk of pulling a hamstring during a race.
Q: I saw
article on T-mag.com. Everything was great and
believable until I read the part on your father doing
STRICT hammer curls. But from the photo it can be
seen that he is cheating. The poundage he is using
is too much for him, thus he is cheating. The one
elbow has moved way too much forward to be considered
strict form. Please can you change this info? Otherwise
I have doubts about the rest of the people's performances
on your site.
I apologize. You are correct. I took out my protractor and measured the angle of my dad’s elbow. It is slightly forward, therefore making it an unproductive exercise. Gaining your respect means a lot to me. Therefore, I will change the caption under his picture. Below I have posted the picture with a more suitable caption. I hope you approve.
|George DeFranco performs a set of not-so-strict hammer curls. Although George has been criticized on his hammer curl form, he still possesses incredible forearm and grip strength. George regularly utilizes his forearm and grip strength to choke the shit out of pencil neck geeks who criticize his hammer curl form.|
Hopefully you approve of the new caption.
Q: Dear Joe,
Thanks for the very informative
I want to develop more power and was thinking about incorporating deadlifts into my routine. I’m going to start out with the trap-bar variation you recommend but have concerns of getting that blocky look a lot of powerlifters have. I notice that your athletes still have very defined mid-sections even though they use such lifts. Is this more a diet/genetics concern or just myth?
Deadlifts do not give you a “blocky” look. That’s a gym myth.
Your statement would be the equivalent of saying you wouldn’t play basketball because you don’t want to grow taller. My point is that basketball doesn’t make you taller; tall people gravitate towards playing basketball. The same holds true for powerlifting. The reason that a lot of powerlifters have that “blocky” look is because a lot of short-limbed, “blocky” people gravitate towards powerlifting. Because of their shorts limbs and increased leverages, they tend to participate in strength related sports.
And yes, diet does play a big role in your appearance. If you’re eating a “clean” diet and you’re not carrying a lot of bodyfat, deadlifting won’t make you look blocky. What deadlifting will do is help you pack on quality muscle mass and burn a ton of calories in the process!
Q: I don't have an inquiry; I just wanted to give you Kudos for your T-Mag.com interview. I'm going to print off a special copy and leave it lying around the "personal training" gym where I work. Hopefully some of the dipshits at the gym pick it up, read it and recognize that you are talking about THEM.
A: No, thank you! I am honored that you are helping me inform people at your gym that they are dipshits.
Spread the good word, my man!
on T-mag. I trained at Westside in the late 80's.
I never wanted to be a powerlifter, but learn what
I could from the guys there & incorporate their
techniques into my routines. I am a personal trainer
who believes in the basics. All of my clients squat,
bench & deadlift. I tell them up front that I
don't really use Swiss balls, bands or gimmicks. Hard
work & sacrifice gets results. The gym I work
at would freak out if I attached bands or chains to
Anyway on to my question... You recommended 3 -5 grams of L-tyrosine, 30 minutes before your workouts. I am curious as to what are the advantages to taking it? I already picked some up & started using it. During my leg workout the weights seemed lighter than normal. . .
Thanks in advance for your input.
L-Tyrosine is an amino acid that became popular due to its “stimulating” effect. This is not the nervous/jittery stimulation you get from caffeine or ephedrine, though. You see, L-Tyrosine is a pre-curser to many of the “feel-good” neurotransmitters in your brain (epinephrine, norepinephrine, etc.). L-tyrosine also helps increase nerve transmission from the brain to the muscle, activating more motor units and creating more strength when you lift. (Remember that the nervous system is the most overlooked component of strength training. If the nerve doesn’t activate the muscle, the muscle can’t contract and you can’t lift heavy weights!) This is why the weights “seemed lighter” when you took L-tyrosine before training.
By the way, L-tyrosine works much better when taken on an empty stomach or with a high protein / low carbohydrate meal.
Give it a try!
I found your ideas on complex training very interesting. Would you use complex training in-season and for how long of a phase?
I don’t use complex training in-season. It is too neurologically taxing on the athlete. I use complex training to peak an athlete for training camp or a competition. I usually start it 3 - 4 weeks before the date of competition.
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