This week at DeFranco’s…
Documentary camera crew films our Monday morning FREAKSHOW group of athletes
Another one bites the dust!
Trap bar deadlift record falls…again!
The above video is of a 216-pound college athlete absolutely destroying 635 lbs. in the trap bar deadlift. He is the current record holder in our College Athlete, Under 220-pound Division.and he left some room to spare!
Q: Mr. DeFranco –
Before I ask my question, I want to say that I have read your entire website and I know your thoughts regarding females and strength training. I appreciate how you have dispelled all the myths out there about why females shouldn’t worry about “bulking up” when they lift weights. But I was wondering if you train any female athletes that don’t want to gain weight – regardless if it’s lean tissue or not. I’m asking because I train more female athletes than males and they are all worried about weight gain even if it’s “good” weight. You seem to be the master at resolving these types of concerns so I was wondering how you “comfort” your female athletes when they are worried about gaining weight. Basically I have some girls that won’t push themselves in the gym because they don’t want to gain weight. Do you have any experience with this?? I want these girls to push themselves a little! Please help!
Los Angeles, CA
Unfortunately, I have had to deal with your situation many times in my career. Females are just so damn high maintenance! Haha!
The bottom line is that if they trust you and do what you say, they will eventually SEE the results for themselves. Once they actually experience what you’re trying to tell them, they will become believers for life! But, as we both know, we need to figure out ways to put their minds at ease and get them to work hard enough so that they will actually experience these positive results!
The first major obstacle is to get your female clientele to forget about their scale weight. As most of us know, our scale weight does NOT tell the entire story. For example, let’s say that you were able to get one of your female athletes to lose 5 pounds of fat and gain 7 pounds of muscle. Although this would mean that she “gained” 2 pounds, I guarantee you that she would look smaller and more “toned”. Isn’t this what most females want?? Here’s an analogy that I usually use with my female athletes when I’m trying to get them to focus more on how they look & feel, as opposed to what they weigh…
…I compare gaining muscle & losing fat to cooking a hamburger on a George Foreman Griller… Let’s say you take a big handful of ground beef, mold it into a hamburger and then place it on the griller. After it’s done cooking, is it going to be bigger or smaller? Obviously, the hamburger shrinks after it’s fully cooked. Why did it shrink? It shrunk because it lost the fat and kept the “muscle”. Basically, the end result of having muscle without a lot of fat is a smaller, leaner burger! The same holds true for humans!! If we can gain or maintain muscle while losing fat, we are going to look leaner (and females will usually look smaller). To add to this concept, it’s important for females to know that muscle takes up less space than fat in your body. For example, 5 pounds of muscle takes up less space than 5 pounds of fat! So if you can get your females to loss fat and gain an equal amount of muscle, they really will be SMALLER (even though their scale weight will not change).
Also, don’t forget to remind your female athletes that muscle is metabolically active and it requires energy just to maintain itself. Simply put, muscle burns calories at rest. This means that the more muscle you have on your frame, the less likely you are to get fat from eating because muscle burns calories throughout the day (even in your sleep). Fat, on the other hand, just sits around in your body and takes up precious space!
I can go on and on regarding this topic. If your female clients don’t give a sh*t about my hamburger analogy, I have a real world example that may help win them over.
Check this girl out…
The above athlete has been training with me for 3 years. Would you believe me if I told you that she has GAINED 30 pounds during this 3-year period? Yes, you read that right…she is 30 pounds heavier now than when she first started training with me in 2004! (Does she look 30 pounds heavier? I think NOT!)
During the past 3 years, she has increased her strength ten-fold, she’s gained a ton of muscle and she is now “lean & toned” instead of just being skinny! I don’t think anyone will argue that her muscle gain has made her too big or bulky!
You can’t argue real world results!
I am going to say it one last time…
Don’t be afraid to lift weights!!!
I noticed in some of your pics and your writings that you sometimes have your athletes bench press while laying on the floor. Is this strictly to limit the range of motion, kind of like a rehab exercise? Or is there something else I’m missing. Thank you for this great website.
The exercise that you’re referring to is called a floor press. There are many benefits of doing this lift…
Yes, you can use the floor press as a “rehab” type of movement when you want to limit the range of motion in the bench press. But, we mainly use the floor press as one of our special exercises on max-effort day to improve upper body strength. The 2 main differences between floor pressing and regular bench pressing are as follows…
#1 – Floor pressing builds a tremendous amount of starting strength because it prevents “bouncing” the weight in the bottom position. All too often, athletes will use their chest as a “spring board” when performing a max-effort bench press. A proper floor press will eliminate bouncing because most floors don’t have much “give”! In other words, if you try to “bounce” your triceps off of the floor while holding a heavy weight in your hands, the only thing in between the weight and the floor are your forearms! This gives new meaning to being “stuck between a rock and a hard place”! If you don’t want to break your forearm, you must perform this exercise with strict form! When floor pressing, we have our athletes lower the barbell under control until their triceps touch the floor; then, the athlete pauses on the floor for a split second and presses the weight up explosively. This exercise helps with the bottom & mid portion of a regular bench press and it’s an awesome triceps builder!
#2 – Lying on the floor when bench pressing also takes away from your leg drive. Basically, more load is placed on your upper body because it’s harder to push off with your legs while lying on the floor.
This exercise has been a staple in my program for years. Give it a try.
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