Speed/ Plyometrics/ Conditioning

How to Develop KNOCKOUT POWER!!!


Q: Hey this email is for Coach DeFranco. can someone please forward it to him? I know your busy coach but I was wondering if you can comment on the internet rumors that your training Dan Hardy for his title fight against Georges St. Pierre?? ive seen this mentioned on a couple different forums but there hasn’t been any word from your camp so im thinking its just a rumor?? if im completely off on this i appologize for wasting your time.

now onto my question. in your experience what is the best way a boxer or mma athlete can improve their punching power in the weightroom? Im aware of the importance of technical training with a striking coach but i’d love to hear your thoughts on what exercises/techniques you feel would best compliment the technical training to create an absolute beast with KNOCKOUT POWER!

Mike, Seattle WA

PS – your CAN’T rant was the kick in the ass i needed to get me back in the gym and back to competing!! You touch more people than you will ever realize..keep changing the game coach!!

A: Mike,

I’m extremely excited to announce that the “rumors” regarding Dan Hardy coming to New Jersey to train with us are true!!! Here’s an excerpt from Men’s Fitness UK magazine explaining how all of this came about:


Men’s Fitness Fight News 21/01/10


Dan Hardy (on the right here) is training at legendary US trainer Joe DeFranco’s take-no-prisoners gym in New Jersey to get ready to face GSP for the UFC welterweight title


Finally, we’re pleased to report that two Men’s Fitness UK regulars are teaming up: British welterweight favourite Dan Hardy will be doing the final preparations for his title fight against Georges St-Pierre at Joe DeFranco’s gym in New Jersey, which Men’s Fitness UK visited in 2009. ‘When we sat down to plan Dan‘s title camp, we decided that in order to acclimatise and get used to being back in the US, we wanted to train for three weeks in New Jersey before the fight,’ says Hardy’s regular strength and conditioning coach, Ollie Richardson. ‘Because of my commitments with England and Leicester [rugby union teams] I couldn’t afford the time away, so we immediately thought of Joe DeFranco, his team and his gym. Dan and I felt that the environment and intensity that DeFranco‘s is renowned for was exactly what we wanted in the run up to the title shot. The last few weeks of the camp are critical for Dan‘s preparation and we are supremely confident that we’ve made the right choice.’

‘I’m a big fan of Dan Hardy,’ DeFranco told Men’s Fitness UK this week. ‘I like how he fights – he’s a tough, confident bastard!’

[End Men’s Fitness excerpt]


I’m obviously not going to write about any of the specifics of Dan’s strength & conditioning workouts. (For all the strength coaches and trainers that are reading this; check out Ollie Richardson’s website – FighterStrength.com. Ollie is a super-intelligent rugby and fight coach in the UK with similar philosophies to ours. He is the man responsible for getting us involved with Dan’s training camp for this fight.) My team and I are honored that Dan and Ollie put their trust in us to help carry out the final three weeks of Dan’s preparation for this title fight. We are going to do everything in our power to make Dan’s transition from the UK to the US seamless.

One thing’s for sure; EVERYONE involved in this training camp is bringin’ their “A” Game!


Now onto your question regarding knockout power:

While reading your question, I remembered answering a similar question regarding punching power not too long ago. So I went back into my ‘ASK JOE ARCHIVES’ and it turns out, I answered that question 7 years ago!! Man, time flies when you’re having fun Laughing

I highly recommend that you click on the above hyperlink and check out my answer. I must say that most of my answer has “stood the test of time”. With that being said, there is something I’ve put even more “stock” into since 2003 when I answered that question:

Experience has now proven to me that the #1 way to develop ANY kind of power is through weighted jumping exercises! I don’t care if you’re talking about punching, kicking, throwing, hitting, sprinting, etc. In my opinion, weighted jumps are – without question – THE foundation for any athlete looking to develop POWER! I will also include the coupling of a strength movement with an un-resisted jump in my category of “weighted jumps”. (Example: Performing a low-rep set of deadlifts or squats, resting 10-20sec., then performing squat jumps or hurdle jumps, etc.)

As the years have gone on, we’ve been using more and more jump variations in our program, and the results continue to speak for itself! There just isn’t any strength exercise that can compare to the ability to jump with an external load. The key obviously lies in the fact that when you jump, you don’t have to decelerate at all (as opposed to lifting weights). “Releasing” objects – whether it’s your bodyweight off the ground or throwing an object – is the most efficient way to develop power.

“The Asshole” performs a 45″ box jump while wearing a 60-POUND weight vest!

I suggest cycling different types of jumps with all different types of resistance. Box jumps, squat jumps, broad jumps, hurdle jumps, kneeling jumps, single leg squat jumps and jumps from a seated position are just a few of our favorites at DeFranco’s! Vary your resistance by holding DB’s, wearing a weighted vest, ankle weights, using band resistance, etc.

Brian Cushing jumps onto a 50″ box from a seated position…while wearing a 20-POUND vest!

As I’ve stated time and time again, a HUGE benefit of jumping is that there is almost no learning curve! In other words, you don’t need to spend months, or even days, “learning” how to jump. The benefits of weighted jumps literally start to take place during your very first session!


And if you really want to develop “heavy hands” to KNOCK SOMEONE OUT, make sure you incorporate my favorite “special” exercises along with your weighted jumps! My three favorite “special” exercises for developing knockout power are:

#3 – Medicine ball throws


#2 – Sledgehammer Tire Chopping



NOTE: This blog post is intended for information purposes only. Please don’t use the information provided to “Snooki” any innocent bystanders.


Thank you.

-Joe D.



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