I wanted to make an announcement regarding our training videos that I have been posting on YouTube as well as this website…
For the next 2 months, I will only be posting videos that were taken when the documentary camera crew was NOT at the gym. I’m doing this because I want all of the footage that will be used in the documentary to be 100% authentic! The production company, cameramen and everyone else involved in this project are working their butts off to create an incredible documentary and I don’t want to take away from their efforts. If the first 2 weeks of shooting are any indication of how this project will turn out, I think people are going to be blown away when they see it! I don’t want to say too much more.
THIS WEEKS TRAINING VIDEOS!
Another long-standing record gets destroyed!
About a year-and-a-half ago, Miles Austin set the box squat record in our College Division, under 220-pound class with a 515 lb. squat. At the time, I thought that was pretty impressive for a 218 lb. college wide receiver. Well, as they say, records were meant to be broken! Last week, Miles’ impressive box squat record got smashed by another freak in our program. This kid is a 216 lb. college football safety and he’s only going into his sophomore year!! He is re-writing the record board at our facility!
Check out his 545 lb. box squat…
New event added to our strongman training!
The Honda Civic pull has been added to our strongman training! Check it out…
I am a high school football coach and I have some boys getting pretty strong but I want to increase their explosiveness. I have always been told that this is accomplished through using Olympic lifts such as power cleans, snatches, etc.
I just finished reading your answer about Olympic lifts stating, "they are not necessary or I would have included them."
What do I do for explosiveness if I don't do Olympic lifts?
It’s amazing to me that people still have such a hard time letting go of the Olympic lifts. For some reason, when coaches hear the word “explosiveness”, they automatically think ‘Olympic lifting’. We must start thinking “outside of the box” in terms of our programming for athletes!
To me, the Olympic lifts are kind of like a distant cousin…although you never see or talk to this cousin, you feel obligated to invite him/her to family parties, weddings, etc., because he/she is “family”. Like distant cousins, the Olympic lifts won’t go away because coaches feel obligated to “invite” them into any training program where “explosiveness” is one of the goals. The reason that most coaches feel obligated is because that’s what the coach before him/her did; and it’s what the coach before that coach did; and it’s what two coaches before that coach did. Hopefully you get my point. Well, it’s time to get out of this rut that we’ve been in for so many years and try something new. There are so many other options to develop “explosiveness” in athletes. Let’s start incorporating some other options! Hell, while we’re at it, let’s stop inviting distant family members that we barely even know to family parties and weddings!
Sorry for that little rant, but this is a topic that really bothers me and it just won’t go away. Anyway, here are just a few examples of exercises that we use to build explosiveness in our athletes…
Dynamic box squats using 45-70% of the athletes 1 RM for 2-rep sets. Focus on moving the weight as fast as possible. (You can accommodate resistance using bands and/or chains with your more advanced athletes.)
Box jumps (double leg, single leg)
Hurdle Jumps (Jump over hurdle and land on ground)
Overhead medicine ball throws
*All jump variations can be performed wearing a light weighted vest or holding light dumbbells.
I know people like “real world” examples, so I will end this question by showing our most popular training video…AGAIN.
Remember that this kid added 14 inches to his box jump in only 5 months and he has NEVER performed an Olympic lift. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that if I had him perform Olympic lifts, not only would he suck at them, he would still be stuck at a 40” box jump!
Here’s another classic example…
Miles Austin showed up on my doorstep as one of the most explosive athletes that I ever met. As advanced as he was, he still improved his vertical jump from 37.5” to 43” on my program without ever performing an Olympic lift!
I literally have hundreds of similar success stories; we see HUGE improvements in “explosiveness” every single day with kids that are on our program. (That’s why I get so frustrated with this topic!!)
The bottom line is that the Olympic lifts are not magic. Start incorporating jump training & sprinting into your athletes program in conjunction with your strength training and enjoy the same results that we have been getting with our athletes for years!
Q: Defranco -
i don’t get it everyone emails you and kisses your ass all the time. wats the big deal you have videos and pictures of guys yelling screaming and liftin heavy weights. you guys are nothing more than a bunch of primitive animals- how does that make u an expert???
A: “Primitive animals”?
Thanks for the compliment!!
Q: COACH DEFRANCO,
I have been using WS4SB Program for 1 year with GREAT RESULTS!!!!!!!!!!!! Could you please give me some advice on setting up a WS4SB program training 3 days straight? My work hours have just changed, I am a policeman now working 4 days straight (16 hour shifts). Thank you very much for all your assistance and your bars are fantastic - especially at 2am just before getting into a foot pursuit chasing a robbery suspect!
If you have to train 3 days straight, here's what I recommend...
DAY 1 - Combine Max-effort with Rep training for Upper Body
Here's a sample workout...
A. Barbell floor press - work up to 3RM
B. Incline DB bench - 2 sets of max reps
C1. Lat pulldowns - 3 X 10
C2. Rear delt flyes - 3 X 10
D. Weighted abdominals
DAY 2 - Accessory Upper Body
Here's a sample workout...
A. Barbell curls - 4 X 8
B. Incline DB curls - 3 X 10
C1. DB shrugs - 3-4 X 10
C2. DB lateral raises - 3-4 X 10
D. Forearm/Grip work
DAY 3 - Combine Dynamic-effort with Max-effort Lower Body
Here's a sample workout...
A. Box Jumps - 5 X 3
B. Box Squats - work up to 3RM
C. Barbell reverse lunges - 3 X 10
D. 45-degree back raises - 3 X 15
E. High rep abdominal circuit
I have been following your program for the past few months and I really enjoy it. I used to be a football player so I love the strength that comes with this kind of program, but now I am getting involved with MMA and I was wondering if this program can be applied to that? If so is there any adjustments or changes that should be made specifically for MMA? Also what agility or conditioning drills would you recommend for MMA?
If you fight competitively, you would have to make major adjustments to my program as you get closer to a fight. On the other hand, you wouldn’t have to make too many adjustments if you didn’t have a competitive fight coming up. You stated that “you love the strength that comes with this kind of program”; my suggestion would be stick with the 3-day template during the times of year that you’re not competing. (If your body starts feeling run down, switch to a 2-day template – max-effort upper & lower body day). During the “non-competitive” time of year, focus on your strength in the weight room and get your conditioning during your specific fight training or on a separate day.
As you get closer to a fight, your focus in the weight room will have to shift. This is where you have to make drastic changes to the program. As a fight approaches, conditioning becomes of utmost importance (but you want to try and maintain your strength). During this time, I feel weight room circuits using exercises that require strength will work the best. This type of conditioning helps to maintain strength while improving upon your conditioning. For example, let’s say you were training for a fight that consists of three 5-minute rounds with 1-minute rest between rounds. I suggest supplementing your specific fight conditioning with 2 weight room sessions a week. These weight room sessions should be circuit-based, but don’t perform just perform any old circuit! Incorporate exercises that require strength!
Here’s a sample circuit…
1A. Tire flip/shadow box combo – Have athlete flip a heavy tire, shadow box for 10 seconds, flip tire again, shadow box for 10 seconds, etc. Do this for 1 minute straight then move onto “1B”.
1B. Sandbag loading/unloading – Pick up a heavy sandbag off of the ground and place it on a box or table. Then, pick up the sandbag from the table and place it back on the ground. Repeat this continuously for 1 minute. Immediately move onto “1C”.
1C. Jump rope – Jump rope for 1 minute straight. Immediately move onto “1D”.
1D. Bear hug a heavy sandbag – Stand up and hold onto a heavy sandbag (bear hug style) for 1 minute straight. Immediately move onto “1E”.
1E. Heavy bag or Punch mitts – Throw continuous punches into a heavy bag or punch mitts for 1 minute straight.
After the athlete performs all 5 exercises in a row, he can rest for 1 minute. Repeat the same circuit 2 more times or your can perform three different 5-minute circuits. The exercise possibilities for the circuits are endless!
I would suggest starting with 1 circuit and working your way up to three. Incorporate some form of dynamic strength (tire flipping), isometric strength (sandbag bear hug hold) and specific fight conditioning (throwing punches) during each circuit.
Hope that helps.
Q: What kind of kettelbell training do you implement with your athletes?
We have started using kettlebells much more at my facility but I am definitely NOT obsessed with them like a lot of other coaches. We’ve been using them mainly for conditioning purposes. We incorporate kettlebell swings into our warm-up and we also do them in between sets of Prowler sprints and/or sled dragging for a killer conditioning workout. We occasionally throw in some “bottoms-up” shoulder presses, floor presses and some other moves for variety. But, in my opinion, when we are trying to develop pure strength in our athletes, nothing can beat barbells, dumbbells & strongman equipment.
Simply put, I like them more for conditioning than for strength training.
Q: Coach DeFranco,
I have been reading your website and following your work for over 2 years and I must say you are one of the best out there. Everything you say makes perfect sense and I have reaped the benefits from your program. My one question is if you prescribe enough back work in your program. It seems as if most of your workouts start with a bench press variation but isn’t the back of utmost importance for all athletes? I’m sure you have a reasoning behind your methods. Thanks for your time.
I appreciate your support and your kind words, but I need to ask you a question… “Are you friggin’ blind?!” I’m asking you this question because if you read my website as closely as you say you do, you would see that all of my programs provide a TON of upper back & lat work! You are correct in that I usually start my upper body workouts with a bench press variation, but if you look at the rest of my workouts, you will see that we do a tremendous amount of volume for the upper back and lats. It’s funny because most of the athletes that actually train with us complain that we don’t do enough “chest”! Walk into my gym on any given day and you will see most of the following exercises being performed – chin-ups, lat pulldowns with every kind of bar imaginable, seated cable rows with every kind of bar imaginable, dumbbell “power cleans”, scarecrows, face pulls, dumbbell rows, rear delt flyes, T-bar rows and the list goes on and on.
I suggest you go back and read over some of my sample workouts from this website and questions I have answered on EliteFts.com.
Do these athletes look like they’ve been neglecting their backs?
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