First of all, I wanted to thank everyone for their support! This is the 75th installment of my ASK JOE column… In just 3 ½ short years, this website has grown from an “underground” website with about 3 dozen subscribers to an internet powerhouse that boasts over 10,000 subscribers from around the world. I will continue to provide my readers with cutting-edge, no-nonsense, entertaining training information and hopefully all of you will continue to spread the word about defrancostraining.com!
Let's make it a healthy & strong 2007!
I also wanted to take a minute to CONGRATULATE one of our most popular
Last year I wrote a lot about this “unknown” kid from little Monmouth University that I was training. I even conducted an entire seminar entitled, “The Miles Austin Project”. From his bleu cheese addiction to his 40-yard dash time, anyone who follows my website got an inside look at this kid’s life while he was preparing for his (long) shot at the NFL. Well, not only did Miles make the roster of an NFL team, he ended up STARTING for the Dallas Cowboys by mid-season! Above he is pictured running back a kickoff for a touchdown during the Cowboys playoff game against the Seahawks. To say that I’m proud of this kid would be the understatement of the year.
Your Super Strength DVD is awesome - can't wait to implement it in my routine. The first question is regarding your warm-up routine; what is the reasoning to static stretch the pecs before lat movements and static stretch the lats before pec movements (such as benching) and not to stretch the pecs on bench days? The last question is what is the low down on the ammonia bottles on your video and when should it be used?
Thanks for your time Coach,
The reasoning behind static stretching the antagonistic muscle group is as follows - I have found this to alleviate shoulder pain during these movements because you are basically creating less “friction” in the joint during the movement. Basically, lengthening the antagonistic muscle allows for a less painful range of motion for many people. (This has worked for me & many of my athletes for the past 10 years.) I don’t like performing long, static stretches on the prime movers of the first exercise of a workout because this can temporarily weaken the muscle and decrease force production, as well as increase your risk of injury, during the exercise.
As far as ammonia is concerned, this is an old trick to “wake you up” and stimulate yourself before a big lift or athletic event. (Ammonia capsules are very common at powerlifting meets and even on the sidelines of NFL games). Although I don’t condone sniffing ammonia regularly, it can be a big help for older athletes to “take a hit” before a big lift.
*Disclaimer to all kids: Do NOT go sneaking through your mom's cleaning supplies and start sniffing the ammonia! It is NOT "good" for you! It is just something that older, advanced athletes use VERY SPARINGLY to stimulate their central nervous system & increase their aggressiveness before a big lift.
Q: Coach DeFranco,
I saw on elitefts.com you mentioned the fullback from UConn that you were training for the NFL Combine. Can you give us some insight on his training and how his diet is going? Is he this years Miles Austin? After hearing how you trained Miles at the Syracuse Strength Spectacular last year, it was really cool to watch him develop right in front of my eyes on TV! (I’m a huge Cowboys fan!!) I love your real world approach to training and I would love to get the inside scoop on this years NFL ‘project’.
Keep doing what you do coach. You are an inspiration.
The UConn fullback that you’re referring to is this year’s resident freak, Deon Anderson. Mention this kid’s name to anyone who has ever played against him and you will see a look of fright come over them. Deon has to be the most respected, and feared, college football player that I have ever trained. Besides his football accolades, he has been a tremendous asset to my program. I’ve never had a kid bring more positive energy into my gym than Deon. His energy & intensity is contagious and every athlete in the gym feeds off of him. He has also turned out to be a great “student” and he’s picking up the techniques to the Combine tests very well. Here’s an update at how he’s progressed in just 2 short weeks…
Deon’s electronic 10-yard sprint time has dropped from a 1.93 to a 1.77!
Deon is pictured here finishing off his 2nd EASY rep with 585 lbs. in the
*Deon has vertical jumped over 30 inches & he consistently broad jumps over 9’
*Deon has already added 2 reps to his 225 lb. bench press rep test
*Deon’s bodyweight has finally “stabilized” and we’re looking for him to show up at the NFL Combine at a JACKED & SHREDDED 238 lbs.!
Pictured above is our nutrition guru, Tom Bilella, educating Deon and some of our other NFL hopefuls on proper nutrition & supplementation.
(Also pictured are Notre Dame cornerback Mike Richardson, Buffalo tight end Chad Upshaw, UConn tight end Dan Murray & Miami of Ohio safety Joey Card)
I will keep everyone posted on Deon & introduce you to the rest of this year’s crew in the weeks to come.
Coming Sunday’s next fall. Check your local listings…
After a difficult day in the weight room with my "wonderful" young athletes, I decided to sit down and send you a "Thank You" e-mail. I truly believe you have done a magnificent job getting the correct training message out to the public. I have been in this field for over 25 years and your message of building a base of strength and form is sorely needed and more than not ignored. It has been enjoyable reading everything on your website. One of my friends had ordered some of your energy bars and I enjoyed one - they are excellent. I plan on ordering all your dvds and some energy bars for my powerlifting team at school. I hopefully will make arrangements in the future for you to speak to my athletes; this is something I believe they will enjoy immensely. So continue the excellent work and ''spit '' in the faces of your detractors. I hope you and your family have lasting health.
M.S., Exercise Physiology
My body doesn’t produce enough saliva to spit in the faces of all my detractors!
But, I appreciate your feedback and kind words.
This might be a stupid question, but are there any other upper back exercises that you can recommend besides chin-up variations, lat pulldown variations and row variations? The scarecrows in your video look really cool but my school doesn’t have a cable crossover unit to perform them. Is there anything similar I can do? I’m a wrestler and I know the importance of the upper back so I’m always looking for new ways to develop these muscles.
I suggest that you invest in a pair blast straps. They are a great training investment and extremely convenient to bring to your high school weightroom or local gym. There are countless bodyweight exercises you can do with them which makes them especially valuable for wrestlers. Pictured below you will see the starting position and finish of the bodyweight “scarecrow” with the blast straps. This exercise has become a staple in our program and I highly recommend it.
Start by placing your feet in front of your body and leaning back with your arms straight. (Your body should be at a 45-degree angle in relation to the floor.)
Keep your arms straight & initiate the movement by pulling your arms apart and pull your body forward (while keeping your feet in place). Hold the rep at the top for a second and then slowly lower yourself to the start position (while keeping your arms straight.)
Gotta have a strong back!
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