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Ask DeFranco's Gym - episode #20: PEC POPPIN' PUSH-UPS!

Sunday, 06 July 2014 19:04


It's summertime and if you have the pecs of an 8-year-old girl, Joe D. is here to save the day! 

Click the 'PLAY' button below and pay attention, kids. This 4-minute video is about to change your "pec-less" life: 

Joe D. 

PS - If you enjoyed this push-up technique trick, you won't believe the amount of tips, tricks and technical advice that's packed into our new STRENGTH System! Check it out...




Joe D's "3-6-12" Badass Biceps Builder

Monday, 23 June 2014 20:31


Training athletes for performance is definitely my forte, but summertime is here and everyone is talking about getting “shredded abs” and “bigger biceps”, so I decided to address the latter topic. 

On a personal note, I’ve always had shitty biceps - whether it’s because of poor tendon insertion points or some other genetic factor - my biceps were always non-existent compared to my triceps. But, coming from a football background, I never really cared because my lack of biceps development didn’t negatively affect my performance on the field.

But now that I’m a washed-up meathead who’s approaching 40, I finally decided to give some priority to my biceps to see if I could get them to grow. After a few months of experimentation, I stumbled upon something that actually worked for me. Now I’m not saying this is the “be all, end all” of biceps training - and I'm certainly not saying my biceps are going to be mistaken for Arnold's biceps in his prime - but this is the first routine I’ve ever done that’s actually made a noticeable difference. 

The “secret” to this routine’s success is that each of the three exercises overload different points in the strength curve and different heads of the biceps brachii.

Simply put, this routine attacks the biceps from every angle to ensure full development.



1A. Eccentric Chin-ups (close, underhand grip): 3 reps, 10sec. each lowering

1B. 1½ rep Incline Dumbell Curls: 6 reps

1C. Band Curls: 12 reps

*Rest 10-15sec. b/t each exercise. Rest 3 minutes b/t each tri-set.
**Repeat for 2-5 tri-sets. 


Check out the video below and then I’ll explain more about the method behind the madness… 


Eccentric Chins
The purpose of performing eccentric chins is to develop the short head of the biceps. (The short head is stimulated whenever the arm is flexed in front of the body.)


We further increase recruitment by prolonging the time under tension because of the slow (10 second) lowering.


1½ rep Incline Dumbell Curls
The purpose of performing incline dumbell curls is to develop the long head of the biceps. (The long head is stimulated whenever the arm is extended behind the torso.)


We further increase recruitment by prolonging the time under tension by incorporating “1½ rep” sets.


Band Curls
The band curls are performed with the upper arm in a neutral position and a “hammer" grip is used to overload the brachialis.


(If you do not have a band, this exercise can be substituted with regular dumbell hammer curls.)


As you can see, each of the three exercises is performed with the upper arm in a different position. This is an overlooked component of biceps (and triceps) training, but training your arms at different angles is crucial if you’re trying to get them to grow! 

I suggest performing my “3-6-12” biceps workout twice a week (2-3 days apart) for 3-4 weeks. Start with two tri-sets during the first workout and work up to 5 tri-sets by week 3 or 4. (You can perform this routine by itself or as part of a full upper body workout.)


Got YOUR tickets?!



Joe D. 

PS – Like the tee I’m rockin’ in the video & pics? You can pick one up HERE.  



2 [Easy] Tips for a Stronger Bench Press!

Thursday, 12 June 2014 21:05


Q: I recently stopped doing skull crushers because they caused tremendous pain in my elbows. A trainer at my gym told me I should switch over to close grip benches because they caused less elbow strain. They are definitely less painful on my elbows but they kill my wrists!! What else can I do for my tris? I want to get my bench up so I don't want to wuss out and just do cable pushdowns. Any suggestions??? Kyle

A: Kyle,

It sounds to me like your close grip bench press grip is too close. This is an extremely common mistake I see all the time. When I prescribe close grip benches to my guys, I have them put their index finger on the smooth part of the bar (just inside the knurling).


That's as close as I'll have them go. I've found this grip best for both wrist & elbow health, as well as triceps strength and mass.

NOTE: My clientelle consists of larger-than-average guys, so "normal" sized guys (with shorter limb lengths) may be able to go a little closer and put their middle finger on the smooth part of the bar; but that's as close as I'd recommend for anyone.

Wrist & elbow problems are inevitable with this grip

Grip is "narrow", but not too close.
Wrists & elbows are aligned and in a safe, strong position

Hope this helps!

Joe D.


Q: Louie Simmons always talks about the back and lats being the "launching pad" for a big bench and I tend to agree. My question for you is what is your favorite back exercise for specifically improving the bench press? Thanks for your insight coach.


A: Evan,

I don't have one specific favorite upper back exercise for improving the bench press, but my favorite category of exercises would definitely be isometric holds.

Bench pressing properly involves creating torque at the shoulders, while pulling the scapula 'back and down'. I've noticed a tremendous increase in strength & stability on the bench after I started incorporating more isometrics into my upper back programming. Not only will your pressing numbers skyrocket, you'll add size & muscularity to your upper back - without the joint pain and stress that's associated with many other back movements.

Here are 3 of my favorite Upper Back isometrics for improving your bench press:

#1 - Prone Y-W-T's (Hold each position for 10-30sec. Rest 30-60sec. Repeat 3-4X.)


#2 - Double-banded Bent-over Rear Delt hold (Hold for 10-30sec, then rest for 10-30sec. Repeat 3-4X.)


#3 - Face Pull Iso-holds (Perform 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps, but hold each rep in the contracted position for 3-6sec. Rest 60sec. b/t sets.)


Start incorporating these exercises into your program and you'll no longer be embarrassed when someone asks, "How much ya bench?!"

Joe D.

PS - To learn more strength training tips, tricks and techniques, check out our NEW product: STRENGTH - Barbell Training Essentials



STRENGTH has arrived!!!

Monday, 09 June 2014 20:17

The wait is over! 

After a full year of hard work (over 40 re-writes on the book!), and too many sleepless nights to count, our STRENGTH System is available and ready to change your training forever!

Whether you're a coach, an athlete, or a lifter who loves to train and hit PR's in the gym, the new Strength System is perfect for you!  

Here's what STRENGTH will do for YOU...

Whether you want to build muscle, gain strength, get more athletic, or improve your performance on the field, EVERY program you'll ever be on will have some variation of the bench press, squat, and/or deadlift.  That is a fact. They are the fundamental barbell training exercises, and if you want results, you will be incorporating them into your workouts. Because of this, you must learn how to perform them properly in order to get the most out of your workouts. STRENGTH shows you how! 

To stay injury-free when you start adding more weight to the bar, you need the ability to maintain really good form during your work sets. In the new STRENGTH book and 3-DVD set, we teach you step-by-step our PROVEN methods for perfecting YOUR technique for the bench press, squat, and deadlift. These methods are guaranteed to add years to your lifting career. 

We realize that not everyone is going to be "perfect" all the time. That's life. That is why in STRENGTH, we took the most common technical flaws when performing the bench press, squat and deadlift and we show you HOW TO FIX THEM! Our troubleshooting sections just may be the most valuable aspect of this unbelievable resource.  

Smitty and I put our heart and souls into this new product because we know it's going to help a lot of people reach their goals. 

STRENGTH is one of those resources that you will have - and use- for a lifetime

Check out what WWE superstar and life-long lifter, Triple H, had to say about STRENGTH...


"The lifetime of knowledge and research in this book will help any athlete or lifter reach their strength and athletic potential, while keeping them as injury-free as possible. 

Because I believe this system can take anyone to a new level of athleticism, I have built our programs at the WWE Performance Center around the STRENGTH methodology and teaching model. 

The reason I believe in this STRENGTH system so much is because I've done it and experienced the benefits first-hand." 

To purchase STRENGTH, click the link below:

STRENGTH: Barbell Training Essentials

-Joe D. 



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