Men's Health Magazine has named DeFranco's Training Center one of "The 30 Best Gyms in America!"
You can check out the "best gyms" article in the March 2008 issue of Men's Health. (We are listed on page 132.) We are very excited to have achieved this honor because the gyms were chosen solely on RESULTS! It is very cool that the "mainstream" public has recognized us as one of the best in America without us having to compromise our image, training philosophy or the atmosphere of our gym.
You can check out the '30 Best Gyms' online by clicking on the magazine cover below.
Congratulations Ajda Dotday!
Hawthorne High School track standout and DeFranco's Training client, Ajda Dotday, recently received a full scholarship to Monmouth University!
Ajda has cut her 200-meter time down from 25.8 seconds to 25.2 seconds since joining our program! She has also run a 12.1 in the100-meter dash!
Ajda also holds two records at our gym in the 'High School Girls' division - she has the chin-up record with 15 (dead-hang) chins and the vertical jump record with a 25 ½" jump!
Monmouth University is gettin' a good one! Congratulations Ajda.all your hard work is paying off!
Q: Coach DeFranco,
You seem to be a big advocate of the barbell squat. What stance do you prefer your athletes take when they squat - narrow, medium or wide? I know that Westside Barbell advocates an extremely wide stance with their powerlifters but do you ever let your athletes squat narrow? Thank you in advance for this info.
We coach our athletes to take a medium to wide stance when squatting, but we never go as wide as the powerlifters at Westside. Remember that the goal of a powerlifter is to shorten the range of motion as much as possible so they can lift the most amount of weight - this is one of the reasons that they squat so wide. You must also remember that all powerlifters wear protective gear (squat suits, briefs, etc.) that help protect their hips and groin during ultra-wide-stance squatting. If an athlete were to squat as wide as powerlifters, he/she will most likely end up with groin and/or hip problems.
With the above being said, we DON'T have our athletes squat with a narrow stance! Coaches that say a narrow squat stance is more "sport-specific" are full of shit! First of all, we are firm believers in getting our athletes STRONG; squatting with a narrow stance does NOT make your wide stance squat stronger, yet wide stance squatting WILL make a narrow stance squat stronger. I will always choose the lift with the most carry-over! Also, a narrow stance will not strengthen the external rotators of the hip (which are usually weak) and places far too much stress/shearing forces on the patella. A wider stance DOES address the often-overlooked external rotators of the hip, hamstrings and places MUCH LESS stress on the patella if you "sit back" properly. If a wide-stance squat works MORE muscle while placing LESS stress on your knees, why the hell would any coach have his/her athletes squat with a narrow stance? Is a pyramid built with a narrow base? I think not!! The bottom line is to squat wide, but don't go to the extreme!
Below is a video of Corey Smith (currently with the Los Angeles Angels) box-squatting. Corey is one of MANY athletes that complained of knee problems before he started training with us. The first day I trained him he told me he couldn't squat because he had "really bad knees." After teaching him how to box squat with a medium/wide stance, he hasn't had any knee problems since!
The above video shows Corey box-squatting an EASY 465 lbs. off of foam! FYI, the foam makes the bottom portion of the squat much harder because you "sink" in, which in turn makes you much stronger when you return to "regular" squatting. (Corey put 20lbs. on his regular box squat after a 4-week cycle with the foam.)
Q: Joe - do you see any drawbacks to having your athletes use a "thumbless" grip when benching? Do you have a specific grip you prefer or does it not matter? Thanx coach. Dan
We coach our athletes to wrap their thumb around the bar and squeeze the bar tight when benching. We also coach them to keep their wrists as straight as possible and their forearms perpendicular to the floor as they lower the barbell to the bottom of their sternum. This is the safest and strongest way to have your athletes bench!
Oh yeah.you asked if there are any drawbacks to benching with a "thumbless" grip. Hmmm.let me think for a second.OK, here's one drawback that comes to mind.
By the way, that did NOT happen at my gym! (That wouldn't be good for business.)
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