Today’s guest is Joe DeFranco, owner of DeFranco’s gym. Joe was one of the first coaches I remember reading and learning from in the world of performace training, and his adaptations of the Westside system to athletes make up some of my earliest memories of performance training. Joe, and DeFranco’s gym has become wildly successful, training many top combine performers and draft picks, as well as branching out into MMA and professional wrestling.
Many know Joe, but not many know of his beginnings in the industry, and what made his original 500 square foot storage unit gym stand out against the big speed training players in the area. How Joe took this gym to such a level of success carries with it lessons that any coach, or athlete can find useful.
I love talking to coaches like Joe DeFranco, because they have an “in-the-trenches” mentality, are straightforward, genuine, and are fantastic at finding their answers “In the gym”. Today’s coaching field is utterly dominated by the era of the internet which means that coaches are always looking over their shoulder at what others are doing, continually measuring themselves against peers, or scrambling to read that latest article on training.
It is unfortunate that there is a large number of coaches fail to truly be present in the gym and in their training sessions to the point of continual growth. There are also a large number of coaches who are present, but fail to adapt and evolve their system over time as Joe has. In speaking with Joe, you realize what has allowed him the success he has achieved with his athletes and his business, and this was a truly enjoyable interview. In today’s chat, Joe shares this mentality, as well as the story of his early gym setup and training techniques, as well as other topics of training, such as upper body training for athletes, foot training, and even 50 rep rhythm squats.
Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more.
- The story behind Joe DeFranco’s legendary “storage closet” gym, and how Joe got started in the sports performance industry
- How having less equipment to train athletes make one a better coach
- Some of Joe’s earliest mentors in the sport performance field
- Things that have allowed Joe to become as successful as he has in this field
- The formation and evolution of Joe DeFranco’s training methods of the Westside and Westside for Skinny Bastards programs
- The biggest differences between the Westside style program and Joe’s combine performance programming
- Lightning Round Questions: Upper body for athletes, foot training, 50 rep rhythm squats, core training, hamstring training
“(Being in a 500 square foot storage closet gym) It made me a much better coach and trainer, because you have to think a lot more, since you don’t have access to that much, so you have to make the best of what you have “
“Before there was anything known as a Crossfit box, I had my 500 square foot training facility”
“Most people fail because they try to be whoever they look up to… you need to be yourself, and that’s the easiest way to separate yourself in this industry”
“All the answers lie in the gym”
“You can be the smartest coach in the world, but if you can’t speak to different athletes with different personalities, you aren’t going to make it”
“Be great at today, and those days will add up, (your success) will come”
“You can’t beat experience, to me it is the best teacher”
“One of the original tweaks to the Westside program was that after we squatted, we always did some sort of unilateral variation”
“The further away you get from the ball in football, (Cam) is having those guys do their max effort work unilaterally” (44:30)
“(Barefoot warmups) are so beneficial because (modern shoes) act like a cast for your foot, and because of that the muscles and tendons atrophy”
Here is a photo from Joe’s original 500 square foot gym
About Joe DeFranco
Joe DeFranco is the founder and owner of the world-famous DeFranco’s Gym. For the past two decades, athletes from around the world have hired Joe because of his remarkable ability to improve strength, speed, power, mobility, agility and sport-specific endurance. Joe’s training techniques have been featured in and on ESPN, Spike TV, NFL Network, WWE Network, Men’s Health Magazine, Men’s Fitness Magazine and in the NY Times best-selling book, The 4-Hour Body. His resume includes NFL players from all 32 teams, Major League baseball players, WWE superstars, UFC fighters, Olympic athletes and college All-Americans
Joe is currently focusing on “paying it forward” as he’s spending more time consulting trainers and gym owners worldwide. He also hosts the Industrial Strength Show – a top-ranked weekly podcast dedicated to training for peak performance, mindset and living your passion.