Speed/ Plyometrics/ Conditioning

POWER!, Weight Gain and Recovering from Surgery

Q: Just watched the Power DVD and there are some really great exercises on the DVD. How would I incorporate Power exercises with Built Like a Badass? Would I still do my normal upper and lower body workouts and then add 2 power days? Keep up the good work!


A: Trav,

I wouldn’t “add” more days to the ‘Badass’ Program. The whole point of that program is efficiency, less time in the gym, etc.

For the Lower Body Day, there is already a POWER exercise incorporated into the program. (We did this to improve overall athleticism, as well as excite the CNS before the heavy squats or deadlifts.) So you really don’t need to make any changes to the template. What you can do is rotate some of the new exercises you learned in the POWER! DVD into the Badass Program. In other words, you can change “Exercise #1” every two to three weeks to one of the jump variations you learned in the POWER! DVD. (Just make sure you choose your jumps intelligently. Start with the basics and progress to the more advanced variations as the weeks go on.)


Incorporating POWER! into the Upper Body Workouts on the ‘Built Like a Badass’ Program is easy. I suggest concluding your warm-up on ‘Day 3’ with 3-5 sets of a medicine ball throw variation or another upper body POWER drill that you learned from the DVD. Once again, make sure you progress properly, as outlined in the dvd.

(Keep ‘Day 1’ exactly as outlined in the Built Like a Badass Program.) 

Hope that helps! 


Q: Joe, I know you’ve had at least 5 back surgeries so I thought you may have some input. I herniated my L5-S1 and had surgery 7 days ago. I may have re-herniated again today while sneezing seated (worst pain ever). Any recovery advice? What to do? More so, what not to do while recovering from surgery/surgeries.

Thanks for any advice you can give.

A: Brad,

Sorry to hear about your back surgery! (No one knows better than me how bad back surgery SUCKS!) I’m also well aware that all herniated disks and other back problems were not created equal — everyone’s problem/surgery/pain is individual to them. I can’t tell you how many “experts” have given me advice that was supposed to be “tried & true” for the lumbar spine and I ended up getting WORSE! So without knowing your personal case, I won’t give you specific advice, but I will give you some general guidelines that may help. 

Even “successful” surgery is traumatic to your body. You must take the necessary steps to ensure your surgery does the least amount of damage to your body as possible. 

First of all, let your doctor know about your “sneeze incident”. I know that “sneeze pain” all too well (and boy does it F-ing hurt) but you may not have “re-herniated” anything. Make sure you have your doctor examine you to put your mind at ease. With that being said, I also strongly encourage you to make your doctor give you specifics of what you should and shouldn’t be doing (movement wise). You obviously don’t want to overdo anything, but you can “under-do” it as well. Your doctor needs to explain what type of pain is bad and what type of pain needs to be worked through. More specifically, find out how much stretching, bending, rotating you should and shouldn’t be doing. You don’t want to do too much too soon, but if you don’t bend/stretch/rotate enough, you can develop very strong scar tissue that can be crippling if it develops around any nerve roots. (I speak from experience on this one!)

Speaking of scar tissue, start supplementing with a high dose of Bromelain! There is evidence that this supplement can prevent scar tissue from forming, or “eat away” at existing scar tissue, if you start taking it early enough. (I recommend starting it a few days after any surgery and then stay on it for a few months — depending on the severity of the surgery.) Bromelain is a natural anti-inflammatory so it’s a great supplement for anyone with injuries, arthritis, or any kind of pain. Keeping inflammation to a minimum should be your top priority, so I strongly encourage you to supplement with Omega-3 fatty acids as well. (This should be a staple in your diet whether you’ve had surgery or not!) Speaking of diet “staples”, make sure you’re drinking enough water, especially post-surgery! Don’t under-estimate the power of water and it’s ability to speed up the healing process, as well as flush out the “poisons” of surgery! 

Finally, anyone who is having surgery should always supplement with probiotics pre & post surgery; this will help combat the mega-doses of antibiotics that are given to patients during and after most surgical procedures. 

Hope this answer was of some help.


Q: I have read both of your past articles on developing KnockOut Power in the weight room. I’ve been following the guidelines & feel they’ve been working out GREAT for me. Not only more powerful, but I have more muscle definition as well. However, I’m also trying to gain about 5 more lbs in lean muscle mass without losing any speed/explosiveness. To do this do I just need to up my calorie intake? Or should I adjust the workouts as well? If so, how?

I appreciate you time, thank you.

Sergio B.

A: Sergio,

I don’t think you should change a thing, training-wise. (If it aint broke, don’t fix it.) I always look to an athlete’s diet (before training) when it comes to gaining or losing weight. In your case, you need to create a slight caloric “overspill” in order to gain your weight. I suggest shooting for a solid pound a week. (When an athlete gains weight gradually, he/she has a much better tendency to keep the weight on.) Since there is 3500 calories in a pound, I suggest adding an extra 500 calories a day. You don’t need to go crazy counting calories, either. Just keep eating exactly how you have been and add one small meal or shake in addition to what you’ve been eating. This can be 2 scoops of protein powder with a tablespoon of almond butter before bed, or just a slight increase in portion size during your regular feedings. 500 calories is not a lot of calories to add to your diet each day. But, a few extra calories each day will go a long way after a month or two. You’ll have 5 solid pounds on your frame before you know it! 

Keep kickin’ ass!

-Joe D. 



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