10 Questions With Joe Defranco!

Conducted by Frederick C. Hatfield II, MS, MFS, CSCS

1. Joe, you work out of New Jersey, but your website reaches far more athletes. Is there one single piece of advice you can give to athletes who can’t train under you?

Yeah, here’s my advice; if you’re getting the majority of your training advice from internet sources, make sure you’re getting it from reputable sources! In other words, if you want to get strong, only read articles written by authors that are strong themselves or they have gotten other people strong! If you want to improve your sprinting speed, only take advice from fast coaches or coaches that have made other athletes fast!

I feel that the internet has become an incredible resource for sharing & expanding our knowledge; ironically, I feel that it has also ruined training! This is because ANYONE can have their own website and ANYONE can write an article. It amazes me how many overnight “gurus” there are out there. Be selective where you are getting your advice!

2. I must admit I haven’t reviewed much of your material. That will change! But aside from reading your website weekly, I studied your Combine tape. I thought it was pure brilliance! Have you had any feedback on that tape? Has it made a difference?

The feedback that I’ve gotten from that video has been overwhelming! We have literally sold thousands of videos worldwide. I think the video has now sold in over 8 different countries! (Copycat videos have already started to surface!)

Has the video made a difference? HELL YEAH, it has made a difference! Combine performance numbers have gone to a whole new level ever since the video became public. Coaches from all over the world have purchased the video and it has changed the way we now train for these tests. Unfortunately, the NFL scouts got a hold of the video and many testing rules at the NFL Combine changed drastically this year because of my teachings. That’s ok, though; I will always stay one step ahead of the people administering these tests. My athletes will always come out on top!

3. Let’s suppose I’m an athlete in your area. I’m a football player who has a chance to start on a Div I or Div IAA team. You accept me and are willing to help. What can I expect?

First off, you can expect to work with a staff that is going to give you a 100% effort…and we expect the same from you! We have kicked more than one athlete out of our program if we didn’t feel that they were giving us the same effort that we were giving them. At my facility, it’s not all about the money…it’s about producing the best athletes in the world! We make this very clear from day 1. There is no grey area; you are either on the same page or you can go somewhere else.

Some other things an athlete can expect is a kick-ass atmosphere, incredible training partners and they can expect to show up for camp in the best shape of their life. Oh yeah, they can also expect their coach to accuse them of being on steroids! (We get that accusation a lot because of the transformation that most of our athletes go through on our program.)

4. Same scenerio…. But instead, I’m a female Volleyball Player. Or a basketball athlete, or any other athlete. I see a lot of football players on your site, but what about others?

It is a big misconception that we only train football players. Nothing can be further from the truth. I think we have athletes from just about every sport at my facility on any given day.

As far as specific training is concerned, I am obviously a HUGE proponent of strength training for ALL athletes. Although there are many different variables that must make up an athlete’s training program, I feel that strength builds the foundation for all other aspects of training. So to answer your question, the one thing an athlete can expect when they enter our program is to get stronger!

We also offer speed training sessions, flexibility sessions, conditioning sessions and nutritional counseling, but we feel that strength is the key ingredient for almost every athlete that walks through our door. There may be some coaches and trainers out there that disagree with me, but I know through experience that most athletes, regardless of how good they are at their sport, are weak as shit when they first walk through our door! Most training facilities try to make a name for themselves by using catch phrases like “functional” training, “stability” training, “sport-specific” training, biomechanical sprint analysis and a bunch of other bullshit. Well guess what? You can’t improve any of the above mentioned attributes if you are working with a weak athlete! Getting your athletes strong will make all other aspects of your training that much easier. Enough said!

5. Let’s talk training equipment. My father and I went to Colorado to work with Doc Kries and designed many pieces of equipment, all with the athlete in mind. I imagine that if I asked you what equipment is necessary, you’d give the same answer as I would. Bumpers and a bar! But other than that, what are the pieces of equipment you’d like to see in more gyms?

Here were my bare essentials when I started my business and I was training athletes out of a 550 square foot storage closet. (Ironically, most of the equipment that I list below cannot be found in your average “fully equipped” health club.)

  • Power Rack w/ chin-up bar & adjustable bench
  • Barbells – Olympic bar, safety squat bar, thick bar, cambered squat bar, trap bar
  • Dumbells
  • Glute-ham raise
  • Adjustable box (used for box squats, step-ups & box jumps)
  • Bands & chains

That was all I had and I still got GREAT results. The different barbells, along with the bands & chains, enabled me to come up with a huge variety of different exercises without needing a lot of space. Anyone who thinks you need a lot of space with a lot of fancy equipment is missing the boat! In fact, I feel that a lot of time a big, fancy training facility is just a cover-up for a clueless trainer!

6. Do you take on clients that are not athletes? If so, what do you do with them?

We only train athletes at my facility.

7. As mentioned before, I’ve only seen your combine tape, and I thought it was brilliant. But from the Joe DeFranco library, what else should a coach, athlete or strength trainee see or read? You have a new DVD in the works, right?

Yes, we are currently shooting a new dvd that will cover my strength system for all athletes, male & female, high school to the professional level. It is going to kick ass! The cool thing about this dvd is that all of the training footage is from “real” workouts with “real” athletes. Nothing is rehearsed or staged. Basically, we’re keeping a video camera in the gym and we have been taping certain exercises as they happen. This is what people want to see…I get emails all the time from people wanting to SEE how we really train our athletes, not just read about it. Along with all of the training footage, I will explain how we manipulate the max-effort method, dynamic-effort method & repeated-effort method with our high school, college & professional athletes. I truly believe that this is going to be a product that everyone should have in their library.

I also have my original manual (The 40-Yard Dash, Advanced Speed & Strength Methods) available on my website. This manual is one of a kind. I literally dissect the 40-yard dash as if it were an Olympic event in this manual. It covers everything you will ever need to know about running this race and it’s a great compliment to the 40-yard dash segment of my Combine dvd.

8. How are your guys doing? Do they stay in touch?

All of my guys are doing great, and yes, they do stay in touch. Unfortunately, many of them are now subjected to poorly designed NFL strength & conditioning programs. (For those of you that are misinformed, many NFL strength coaches are NOT the best in the industry. Unfortunately, it’s not WHAT you know at the professional level; it’s WHO you know!) I apologize for my little rant, but it pisses me off every time my guys come back to train with me and they are weaker, slower and smaller than when they left! It’s sad, but very, very true!

Anyway, the guys that I prepare for the NFL Combine always come back and train with me during the end of June & the 1st 3 weeks of July when they are not required to train with their team. This is when I help prepare them for NFL training camp which starts the last week of July.

9. (Please read this as if the Godfather was saying it)…. I understand you have a protein bar. I’d like to hear more about it, and wish you the best of luck, as long as your interest doesn’t conflict with mine! (Godfather voice done!) Prowpower doesn’t have a protein bar, but you seem very excited about yours. I will be looking to try it out! But Joe, protein bars are a dime a dozen? What’s different about yours?

No shit, protein bars ARE a dime a dozen! THAT is the exact reason why I decided to formulate a protein bar that would stand out from the rest and actually work!

Seriously, I developed this bar out of NECESSITY! The true reason that I created this bar was because I was sick and tired of settling for the “best of the worst” when I bought a protein bar. Also, I never had an answer when my athletes would ask me, “What is the best protein bar to eat before I work out?”

Finally, I just said, “Screw it, I’m going to develop the best pre-workout energy bar on the planet! I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I accomplished my goal! There is NO other bar on the market that contains an ADEQUATE amount of the amino acid L-Tyrosine, an ADEQUATE amount of protein, low sugar AND just enough caffeine to get you jacked up without giving you the “jitters”. This bar has it all! Oh yeah, the thing tastes like a piece of iced chocolate cake! I’ve already tested this bar on over 300 athletes; ALL of them said it was the best-tasting bar that they have ever eaten and EVERY athlete experienced an increase in strength and/or speed after eating the bar 30 minutes before they worked out! This thing is incredible! I don’t need to hype it up anymore. The thing will speak for itself! Trust me, I’m going to be saying, “I told you so”, a lot in the upcoming months!

(Although there have been a lot of delays and I’m hesitant to give a release date, I’m very confident that these bars will be available on my website in early August. Our goal is to also have them in the Vitamin Shoppe & GNC shortly after.)

10. Plug time…. Give me your website address, contact number, list of services and tell my readers what I already know: Why should folks have a look at your website?

You can visit my website at www.DeFrancosTraining.com. I feel that my website is one of the best sources of training information on the net because everything that I write about is based on REAL WORLD experience! There are a lot of internet gurus who make a living writing articles…I make a living TRAINING ATHLETES! My articles and my Q&A are also totally free so there’s no reason not to check it out!

I may also be offering private seminars in the fall where I will come to your facility for a day and give you and your staff a private seminar in which YOU pick the topic. If you’re interested, you can email me at joe-d@defrancostraining.com.

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