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Defrancos Training Systems:

**ALL INFORMATION AND PHOTOS WAS TAKEN FROM JOE DEFRANCOS SUPER STRENGTH DVD**

Defrancos Training Systems: Super Strength

Russian Conjugate Method:


Conjugated periodization basically means taking several different training abilities and coupling them together
while training them all year long. This type of periodization is much different than the popular linear
periodization where different training abilities are trained in blocks and are separated throughout the year.
An example of linear periodization would be an athlete training in 4 week blocks, while each block would
emphasize a different goal (hypertrophy, maximal strength, explosive power, etc.). The problem with linear
periodization is you negate what you worked on during the previous phase by losing some of the progress you
gained from that previous phase or block. With conjugated periodization you do not run into this problem
because several different training abilities are trained together throughout the year.

The Russian Conjugate Method is composed of 3 basic training styles:


1) Max-Effort Method
2) Dynamic-Effort Method
3) Repeated-Effort Method

Max-Effort Method: This method usually means training with weight representing 90% or above an athletes
1RM to develop strength. This method can also be described as lifting a maximal load (exercising against
maximal resistance).
Dynamic-Effort Method: This method deals with training with submaximal weights for low reps but trying to
move the weight as fast as possible in order to develop explosive force. This method can also be described as
lifting or throwing a non-maximal load with the highest attainable speed.
Repeated-Effort Method: This method deals with training with submaximal weights for higher reps to develop
muscle size and muscular endurance. This method can also be considered as lifting a non-maximal load to
failure; during which the muscles develop and produce the maximum force possible in a fatiguing state.

Warm-Up
It is absolutely essential for an athlete to warm-up their body before they begin any type of strength training.
A properly performed warm-up has shown to improve performance as well as prevent injuries. The purpose
of the warm-up is to increase core temperature, increase the range of motion of the muscles that are going to
be used in the session, lubricate the joints and stimulate the central nervous system so you can move heavy
weights. So it is vital to warm-up properly and perform all exercises in a full range of motion.
The following warm-ups shown below are considered stationary warm-ups, meaning you dont need a lot of
space to perform these exercises. These warm-ups are fairly short and should only take 10-15 minutes to
complete.

Lower Body Warm-Up

Basic Back Bridge


o Initiate the movement by having the athlete squeeze their glutes and pushing their heels
through the ground
o Perform 6-12 reps
Supine Straight Leg Raise
o Purpose of this exercise is to warm-up and increase the range of motion of the hamstrings and
also activate the hip flexors
o Perform 6-12 reps each leg while trying to increase the range of motion each rep
Bent Knee Iron Cross
o With the knees bent at 90, have the athlete drop their knees while turning their head in the
opposite direction
o This is a great way to increase the mobility and flexibility of the low back
o Perform 6-12 reps
Roll-Overs to V-Sits
o Great exercise for improving an athletes mobility
o Have the athlete roll back and try to touch their toes to the ground which will stretch out their
low back. Then roll forward while spreading their legs into a V and reach forward to the floor
o Great stretch on the low back with you roll back and a great stretch on the hamstrings as well
as the groin on the way down
o Perform 6-12 reps

Bird Dogs
o Have the athlete position themselves on all fours with their knees directly under their hips and
their hands directly under their shoulders
o Brace the abdominal wall by pulling their belly button to their spine or often times called
drawing in
o The athlete should push one leg back while raising the opposite arm forward
o Have the athlete perform this exercise in a slow and controlled manner
o Perform 6-12 reps on each side
o This is a great exercise to stimulate and warm-up the abdominal region as well as the low back,
glutes and hamstrings
Fire Hydrant Circles
o Have the athlete stay on all fours. From here, have the athlete act as if they were drawing a
circle with their knee
o Perform 6-12 reps forward each side, trying to draw a larger circle each time. After the reps are
complete, have the athlete reverse the motion and draw backward circles with the knee
o This is a great exercise to stimulate the deep rotators of the hip as well as lubricate the joint
before the workout
Scorpions
o Have the athlete lie on their stomach and spread their arms out to the side
o From here, the athlete will take the heel of one foot, reach and try to touch it to their opposite
hand
o Great exercise to improve the dynamic flexibility of the hip flexors as well as active your glutes
and hamstrings
Mountain Climbers
o Athlete will get into a push-up position with their hands a little closer than normal and perform
mountain climbers
o Have the athlete try to drive their knee outside and in front of their arm while sinking the back
leg
o This is a great exercise to develop the mobility and flexibility in the hamstrings and the groin
Groiners
o The athlete will stay in the push-up position
o From here, have the athlete take both knees and drive them outside of their arms while sinking
the hips down for a split second and returning the starting position
Static Hip Flexor Stretch
o This exercise is a Defranco Training Systems favorite
o Its important to have athletes stretch their hip flexors before they begin a lower body workout
because tight hip flexors can pull the athletes forward and mess up their form in certain
exercises
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o Have the athlete perform a static hip flexor stretch and hold it for 1-2 sets of 15-30 seconds.
Always have the athlete perform this exercise before any lower body strength training workout

Central Nervous System Excitement Exercises


o After the static hip flexor stretch, an exercise is performed to excite the CNS
o An example would be:
Box Jumps 1 set of 5 reps
Lower Body Wideouts 1 set of 12 reps
Weighted Calf and Achilles Tendon Stretch
o Always have the athlete perform this exercise at the end of every lower body warm-up
o Tight calves and Achilles tendons can do what tight hip flexors can which is pull the athlete
forward during exercises like squats and deadlifts which can make these exercises harmful on
the low back and knee
o The athlete can perform this exercise with either a straight or bent knee
o Have the athlete hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds on each leg

Upper Body Warm-Up


Start the warm-up with basic bodyweight squats to increase core temperature

X-Jumping Jacks Seal Jumping Jacks Regular Jumping Jacks


o Seal, Crossover, and Regular Jumping Jacks are a great exercise to improve flexibility and the
dynamic mobility of the chest and shoulders
Band Shoulder Dislocations
o Have the athlete grab a band with a wide grip while keeping their arms straight
o Have them slowly take the band overhead, behind your back and back to the starting position
o This is a great exercise to lubricate the shoulder joint, increase mobility and stretch out the
many different muscle fibers of the pecs
o After a couple of reps, have the athlete move their hands closer to increase the stretch
Static Lat Stretch
o Only perform this exercise if the athlete is starting their workout with a bench press variation
o Do not perform this exercise if the athletes upper body workout beings with a chin-up or row
variation
Static Pec Stretch with Band
o Do not perform this exercise if the workout beings with a bench press variation
o Perform this exercise on days where workouts start with a chin-up or row variation
Internal Rotation Stretch
o Always include this exercise before all upper-body workouts
o Most athletes are extremely tight in this region and performing this exercise drastically
improves the athletes shoulder mobility as well as alleviate the shoulder pain in many athletes
o Have the athlete hold this stretch for 20-30 seconds but be careful because this puts your
shoulder in a very vulnerable position.
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o Be sure to perform this exercise on both sides


Dynamic Central Nervous System Stimulating Exercises
o Clapping Push-Ups
Anyone can do this exercise to stimulate the CNS
Med-Ball Chest Pass Into Wall
o This is another great exercise to perform before performing any bench variation
Light Lat Pulldowns
o If your athlete is going to start their workout with a chin-up or row variation, it is a good idea to
conclude the warm-up with some light lat pulldowns
o Focus on pulling the weight down as fast as possible and controlling it on the way up
o Perform 1-2 sets of 5-6 reps

The Maximal-Effort Method


The Max-Effort method is the superior method for developing strength because the only way to get strong is
to lift heavy weights. Heavy weights refers to weight that represents the athletes 1RM - 5RM range. Lifting in
this fashion stimulates the nervous system and also places great demands on both intramuscular and intermuscular coordination. These demands force the body to greater adaptation and this adaptation is what is
responsible for strength gains. There is one problem with max-effort training and that is the athletes body
can only lift heavy weights for so many weeks before progress decreases or plateaus. The way to resolve this
problem is to have the athlete rotate Max-Effort exercises every couple of weeks. With advanced athletes,
rotate exercises every 1-2 weeks and with beginners, rotate exercises every 3-4 weeks.
The key to Max-Effort training is to have your athletes always try to break a record on their Max-Effort training
days. For example, an athlete bench presses 300 lbs. for 3 reps on week 1. On week 2, the athletes goal
would be 305 lbs. for 3 reps. So every week, have your athletes strive to break their personal records. So
remember: ALWAYS TRY TO BREAK RECORDS and ALWAYS TRY TO GET STRONGER. With advanced athletes
you will have to rotate Max-Effort exercises more often so they will not plateau and continue to break
personal records while beginners can take a little longer until their exercise changes, usually 3-4 weeks. The
rep range is determined by the athlete training age, the time of year (offseason, competition, etc.), and the
goal of each session. So know your athletes and choose your rep ranges wisely.
Lower Body Max-Effort Exercises

Barbell Squat
o With regular Barbell Squatting (when a box is not used), we have our athletes take a more
narrow stance
o Have the athlete take a narrow stance, keep an upright posture, and try to sink to below
parallel
o Have the athlete work up to a 1-5 reps with the heaviest weight possible on their Max-Effort
days
Box Squat
o Barbell Box Squats are a favorite Max-Effort lift here at Defrancos Training Systems
o Have the athlete take a wider than normal stance, usually arm-pit width or wider
o Make sure the athlete focuses on initiating the movement by sitting the hips back then
breaking at the knees as they lower themselves. Also, have the athlete force the knees out as if
they were performing a groin stretch
o Make sure they keep their back arched and their head up
o Make sure the athlete eases down onto the box then explode up as fast as possible

Box Squats + Chains


o Chains can be used during Max-Effort days to accommodate resistance and work with the
athletes natural strength curve
o As the athlete sits back onto the box, they are at their weakest point and the chains ravel onto
the ground
o As the athlete comes off the box, their leverage increases and the chains ravel off the ground
which increases the weight at the top potion of the lift where the athlete is the strongest. This
is essentially how the chains work with the athletes natural strength curve
Box Squats + Bands
o The bands tend to pull the athlete down and actually accelerate the eccentric portion of the lift
which stimulates the stretch reflex and allows the athletes muscles to contract harder and
faster than if they were just lifting normal weight
o As the athlete raises the weight, the band stretches out which will increase tension at the top of
the lift
o The bands works with the athletes natural strength curve similar to chains. Bands are a great
way to build strength and explosive power
Reverse Band Box Squat
o With this exercise, the bands are choked at the top of the squat rack which actually helps the
athlete accelerate the weight out of the bottom portion of the lift which is where the athlete is
at their weakest
o The athlete will then have to lock out the actual weight at the top
Safety Bar Squat
o The safety bar is a great bar to use as variety in any training program
o The safety bar alleviates stress on the shoulders because the athlete does not have to for their
shoulders into external rotation to hold the load on their back
o The bar is also great for variety because it places the load more in front of the athlete as well as
higher, so it works the muscles of the upper back and quads more than a regular Barbell Box
Squat
Cambered Bar Box Squat
o The cambered bar is also another great barbell to use to give any training program more variety
o The barbell places the load lower than a regular barbell and really overloads the muscles of the
low-back, glutes and hamstrings
o The cambered bar also alleviates stress on the athletes shoulders because they do not have to
force themselves into external rotation to hold the barbell on their back
Trap Bar Deadlift
o The Trap Bar Deadlift differs from the Straight Bar Deadlift in that the athlete is able to stand
inside the bar which places the load more throughout the midline of the athletes body instead
of out in front of their body. This makes the Trap Bar Deadlift a little easier on the lumbar spine
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Trap Bar Deadlifts off Boxes


o By standing on top of boxes, the range of motion of the lift is increased which will improve the
athletes flexibility and mobility while also stimulating the glutes and hamstrings to a greater
degree
Trap Bar Deadlifts + Chains
o As with box squats, athletes can also use chains in the Trap Bar Deadlift to accomdate
resistance and work with the athletes natural strength curve
Straight Bar Deadlift
o Once an athlete is able to perfect the Trap Bar Deadlift, the Straight Bar Deadlift can also be
incorporated into Max-Effort training days to strengthen the low-back, glutes and hamstrings
Rack Pulls
o Rack Pulls are another great Max-Effort lift for the lower body
o Set the pins of the squat rack about an inch below the athletes knees
o From here, have the athlete perform the exercise in the same manner as a regular Straight Bar
Deadlift
o This exercise is great for strengthening the low back, glutes and hamstrings

Max-Effort exercises do not have to be limited to what can be done in the weight room

Tire Flip
o Tire Flipping is a great Max-Effort exercise to improve an athletes overall strength

UPPER BODY MAX-EFFORT EXERCISES

Barbell Bench Press


o Most of us know the Bench Press is a great upper body movement to improve an athletes
upper body strength and power
o Have the athlete dig their shoulder blades into the bench to create a great foundation to lift the
heavy weight
Close Grip Bench Press
o The Close Grip Bench Press is a great variation of the Bench Press to further overload the
triceps
o The biggest mistake athletes make with this exercise is they put their grip too close which
places a lot of stress on the wrist and elbows
o Have the athlete place their index finger on the smooth part of the bar

Barbell Bench Press + Chains


o Chains can be used during upper body Max-Effort training days to accommodate resistance and
work with the athletes natural strength curve
o As stated before, the athlete lowers the bar to his chest which will force the chains to ravel
onto the ground so when the athlete is at their weakest the weight will be at its lightest
o Once the athlete begins to lift the bar off their chest, the chains will ravel off the ground making
the increasing the weight of the bar at the top portion of the lift where the athlete is at their
strongest
Barbell Bench Press + Bands
o The bands accommodate resistance much like the chains accommodate resistance but the
difference is the bands will accelerate the eccentric portion of the lift
o With the athlete lowering the bar quicker than normal, the stretch-reflex will be stimulated
which enables the athlete to explode up and produce more force during the concentric portion
of the lift
Reverse Band Bench Press
o Like the Box Squat, the bands will be choked at the top of the squat rack which will help the
athlete accelerate the weight off their chest
o The assistance from the bands will help the athlete build momentum so the athlete can lock out
a heavier weight at the top of the lift
Weight Releaser Bench Press
o Weight releasers allows the athlete to use heavier weights during the eccentric portion of the
lift while also allowing the athlete to use a lighter weight on the concentric portion of the lift
o Perform 5 sets of 1 rep with 3-4 minutes rest
Barbell Floor Press
o The Barbell Floor Press is another great variation of the Bench Press
o The Barbell Floor Press helps the athlete develop static-overcome-by-dynamic strength
o The athlete will lower the weight in a controlled manner, pause and rest their triceps on the
floor and immediately explode the weight up as fast as possible
o This exercise can be performed with the knees either bent or straight
Incline Barbell Bench Press
o The Incline Barbell Bench Press is another old standard that can be implemented in Max-Effort
training to develop upper body strength and explosive power
Board Press
o The Board Press is another great variation of the Bench Press to overload the top portion of the
bench press
o This exercise really gets the triceps strong
o Have the athlete lower the weight onto the boards in a controlled manner, let the boards sink
in slight, then explode up as fast as possible
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Rack Lockouts
o Rack Lockouts are another great variation to develop static-overcome-by-dynamic strength
because the athlete has to take dead weight and overcome that dead weight to lock it out
o This is a great exercise to get the triceps extremely strong
Weighted Chin-Ups
o Upper body Max-Effort training does not have to be limited to bench press variations
o Weighted Chin-Ups can also be used to develop strength in athletes
o This exercise is especially good for baseball players and wrestlers to incorporate this lift into
their training

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The Dynamic-Effort Method


The Dynamic-Effort Method can be defined as lifting submaximal weights with the greatest speed possible.
This method is used to improve an athletes rate of force development and their explosive force. If an athlete
only lifts heavy weights year in and year out, it is possible for the athlete to become both bigger and stronger
while also becoming slower. With this in mind, it is very important to incorporate the Dynamic-Effort Method
into an athletes training regimen.
There is one exception which applies to younger athletes. Younger athletes should focus more on building
muscle and strength. Muscle and strength will help these younger athletes become more explosive in their
beginning years of training. Once these athletes become more advanced, the Dynamic-Effort Method can
then be implemented into their training regimen.
Most of the training during Dynamic-Effort Method can be done in the weight room, using weights that
represent 40-60% of an athletes 1RM. These percentages are determined by the level of the athlete, the
exercise, and whether or not chains/bands are used to accommodate resistance. Also know that DynamicEffort exercises do not necessarily have to be traditional barbell and dumbbell exercises. Medicine balls and
bodyweight exercises can also be used in Dynamic-Effort training. Be creative and feel free to choose any
number of exercises you like.
Although you will see numerous exercises that can be used effectively during Dynamic-Effort training days,
one thing you will not see are Olympic lifts. For some reason Olympic lifting has attained the reputation for
being the only way to get an athlete explosive in the weight room. This is far from the truth. The goals of
Dynamic-Effort training can be achieve when an athlete uses submaximal weight of any exercise and lifts
explosively which will not only make the athlete explosive but also increase the athletes rate of force
development. Remember that Olympic lifting is a sport in and of itself. There are many Olympic lifters that
train their entire lives trying to perfect their form and some are still unsuccessful in perfecting them. So if you
are training a non-Olympic Weightlifting athlete, do not feel that it is necessary to spend a lot of time trying to
teach athletes the technicalities of these lifts.
Dynamic-Effort Lower Body Exercises

Box Jumps
o When performing Box Jumps, make sure the athlete lands softly and then steps down off the
box before performing their next jump
Single-Leg Box Jumps
o Single-Leg Box Jumps can also be incorporated during Dynamic-Effort training days
o This exercise is obviously a more advanced version of the regular Box Jump and should only be
performed by advanced athletes
o Have the athlete balance on one foot for a split second before jumping onto the box
o Upon landing, have the athlete stick the landing and remain motionless
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Vertical Jumps
o Vertical Jumping are not only used for testing
o Vertical Jumping can also be used as a Dynamic-Effort lower body movement
Broad Jump
o Like Vertical Jumps, the Broad Jump can be used for more than just testing
o This exercise can be used as one of the main exercises in Dynamic-Effort training days for any
athlete
Depth Jump onto Box
o Depth Jump onto a Box is another advanced version of the Box Jump
o This type of Jump exploits the stretch-shortening cycle and creates higher, more explosive
jumps
Box Squat into Box Jump
o Box Squats in Box Jumps are another advanced version of the Box Jump
o Basically, the athlete will perform a Box Squat, pause for a split second, then explode and jump
onto a box
o This exercise builds the athletes static-overcome-by-dynamic strength
o The intensity can be increased by having the athlete wear a weighted vest or have the athlete
hold a light pair of dumbbells
Box Squat
o Dynamic Box Squats are performed in the same manner as Max-Effort Box Squats, except the
athlete will be working with weights that represent 50-60% of their 1RM
o Have the athlete lower themselves fast while also raising faster on the way up
Box Squats + Chains
o Chains can also incorporated into Dynamic-Effort training
o The reason behind using chains is to accommodate resistance and work with the athletes
natural strength curve
o With Dynamic Box Squats with Chains, have the athlete use 40-50% of their 1RM
o Have the athlete lift the weight as fast as possible
o The goal is to increase the athletes rate of force development
Box Squats + Bands
o Dynamic Box Squats with bands is another great dynamic exercise for advanced athletes
o The bands are great for Dynamic-Effort training because they accelerate the eccentric portion
of the lift and help the athlete generate more force during the concentric portion of the lift
o Again, the goal of Dynamic-Effort training is to increase the athletes rate of force development
and enable them to lift the weight as fast as possible. The bands are a great tool for this reason
Tire Flip
o Tire Flipping is not only a Max-Effort exercise
o With a lighter tire, sets of 2-3 reps can be performed on the athletes Dynamic-Effort days
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Dynamic-Effort Upper Body Exercises

Med-Ball Chest Pass into Wall


o This exercise is a favorite at Defrancos Training Systems for Dynamic-Effort training days
o Have the athlete try to get as many passes into the wall as possible in a certain amount of time
Med-Ball Chest Passes for Distance
o Med-Ball Chest Passes for Distance is another great variation to use on any Dynamic-Effort day
o Have the athlete perform chest passes but instead of going for speed, have the athlete throw
the ball as far as humanly possible
Plyo Push-Ups
o There are many ways to implement Plyo Push-ups into Dynamic-Effort training days
Med-Ball Chest Passes + Plyo Push-Up
o This is another version of the medicine ball chest passes
o In this variation, have the athlete cat a medicine ball, throw it back to his partner or against a
wall as hard and as fast as possible
o From here, the athlete will perform a Plyo Push-Up before receiving the ball
Ballistic Bench Press
o Have the athlete use a weight that represents 50-60% of their 1RM
o Have the athlete perform 3 reps as fast as possible
o The athlete should lower the bar somewhat under control and reverse the weight right before
it touches their chest, pressing the weight up as fast as possible\
Ballistic Bench Press + Chains
o The Ballistic Bench Press + Chains is performed in the same manner as the regular Ballistic
Bench Press except now chains are used to accommodate resistance at the top of the lift
o When using chains, have the athlete use a weight that represents 40-50% of their 1RM
Ballistic Bench Press + Bands
o The Ballistic Bench Press + Bands is one of the more advanced versions of the Ballistic Bench
Press
o Again, the bands accelerate the eccentric portion of the lift which in turn allows the athlete to
move the weight very fast
Ballistic Bench Press + Weight Releasers + Bands
o The Ballistic Bench Press with Weight Releasers and Bands is the most advanced version of the
Ballistic Bench Press
o Have the athlete lower the first rep under control
o When the weight releasers release off the bar, have the athlete perform 3 explosive reps as fast
as possible

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The Repeated-Effort Method


The Repeated-Effort Method can be described as lifting submaximal weight for high reps. This is a great way
for packing on muscle mass. It is important to remember that the bigger a muscle, the more potential it has to
becoming a stronger, more powerful muscle. For this reason alone, Dynamic-Effort upper body days can be
substituted with the Repeated-Effort Method upper body days for younger, inexperienced athletes.
Dave Tate once said You cant flex bone. This basically means that a skinnier, less experienced athlete with
no muscle mass will have a hard time becoming a stronger more explosive athlete until they fill their
foundation/frame with muscle mass. The Repeated-Effort Method is a great way to promote hypertrophy and
get athletes more muscular. The Repeated-Effort Method is not only good for young, inexperienced athletes.
Here at Defranos Training Systems, many college and professional football players use this method of training
during the initial stages of their offseason for a couple reasons.
The goal to the Repeated-Effort Method is to always get more reps on a given exercise. This differs from the
Max-Effort Method where the athletes are always trying to lift a heavier weight. For example, an athlete
performs Flat Dumbbell Bench Press with 50 lb. dumbbells. The athlete would warm-up and proceed to do 3
sets of max reps or close to max reps. In the 1st and 2nd set, the athlete will perform as many reps as possible
while leaving 1-2 reps in the tank and resting 1-3 minutes in between sets. In the 3rd and final set, the athlete
will perform as many reps until failure. After all sets are complete, add up the total number of reps from the
1st, 2nd, and 3rd sets. In the following week, have the athlete use the same weight but try to beat the total
number of reps performed in the last week.
The rest interval mentioned earlier is determined by the level of the athlete. The more advanced athletes who
are lifting heavier weight should usually rest for 3 minutes, never getting any higher than 3 minutes on Rep
day. The younger or female athletes who are lifting lighter should rest between 1-1.5 minutes. Also, just like
the other methods, rotating exercises is a must. With advanced athletes, you can rotate the exercises every
1-2 week while rotating exercises every 3-4 weeks for younger athletes.
Another way to incorporate the Repeated-Effort method is with timed sets, it does not always have to be a set
number of reps. Timed sets can be described as performing as many reps as possible in a certain amount of
time. For example, take an athlete performing Push-Ups. The athlete will perform as many Push-Ups as
possible in 30 seconds, rest, another set of max Push-Ups in 30 seconds, rest, and their last set of as max PushUps in 30 seconds. Again, add all the reps performed by the athlete and have the athlete try to beat that
number the following week with the same amount of time and the same amount of rest. Once the athlete
stops progressing, rotate the exercises.

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Repetition-Effort Exercises

DB Presses on Swiss Ball


o Due to the instability of the ball, this exercise obviously increases the difficulty of this exercise
as opposed to performing presses on a flat bench
o Remember, have the athlete leave 1-2 reps in the take and not go to complete failure on the 1 st
and 2nd sets. While on the 3rd set, have the athlete perform as many reps as possible, going to
complete failure
o Rest 2-3 minutes in between sets
o This is the fashion in which most of the Repetition-Effort upper body exercises will be
performed
Barbell Bench Press
o The regular Barbell Bench Press can also be used as an upper body Repetition-Effort exercise
o Have the athlete perform this exercise with a weight that represents 50-60% of their 1RM
o The athlete will perform as many reps as possible while leaving 1-2 reps in the tank, rest,
perform a 2nd set while leaving 1-2 reps in the tank, rest, and then perform a 3rd set of as many
reps as possible
o Add all repetitions performed in all 3 sets and have the athlete beat that number in the
following week
2-3-4 Board Press
o The 2-3-4 Board Press is a favorite Repetition-Effort upper body exercise here at Defrancos
Training Systems
o Have the athlete start off by performing reps off of the 2-Board
o When the athletes bar speed starts to slow down, his partner will remove the 2-Board and
immediately replaces it with the 3-Board. This will decrease the range of motion and allow the
athlete to perform a couple reps more than he would be able to with the 2-Board
o After the athlete starts to tire out on the 3-Board, have their partner remove the 3-Board and
replace it with the 4-Board, letting their partner pump out as many reps as possible
Dips
o Dips are a bodyweight exercise that can be incorporated into Repetition-Effort training days
o If the athlete can perform 30 reps, have them perform this exercise with either a weighted vest
or a weight belt around their waist for 3 sets
Barbell Push-Ups
o Barbell Push-Ups are great variation of the Push-Up that can used on Repetition-Effort training
days
o To set this exercise up, simply lay a barbell at the bottom of a squat rack and perform Push-Ups
o Performing Push-Ups in this manner increases the range of motion and also produces less stress
on the wrist which you usually encounter when performing Push-Ups from the floor

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Barbell Push-Ups + Bands


o Once regular Push-Ups with the athletes bodyweight do not become a challenge anymore,
increase the intensity of the exercise by placing a band around the back and then perform the
exercise with the addition of the resistance of the band
Suspended Push-Ups
o Suspended Push-Ups are a great advanced version of the regular Push-Up
o This exercise is performed by having the athlete use special straps (Blast Straps) that hang from
the top of a squat rack or chin-up bar in which the athlete will perform a regular Push-Up
o The intensity of this exercise can be increased by having the athlete perform this with their feet
elevated
Chin-Ups
o Chin-Ups should be a staple in an athletes program
o If an athlete is strong enough to perform a lot of Chin-Ups, incorporate them in their RepetitiveEffort training days

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Unilateral Lower Body Training


Single-leg exercises are of upmost importance for athletes because they develop balance, coordination, and
flexibility. Also, it is important to understand that all exercises are performed in a full range of motion and are
considered strength exercises, predominately with a quad strength emphasis.
As of lately, the posterior chain, which consists of the low back, glutes and hamstrings, have been emphasized
to a great deal in the fitness industry. With the importance of the posterior chain increasing, the importance
of having a balanced body, which include other aspects of leg strength, has decreased.
With athletes, strength and conditioning coaches really need to emphasize quad strength because most sports
are played in a short distance, where most athletes never reaching their top speed on the playing field. These
athletes play in sports which are consisted of predominately 10-30 yard bursts of speed and change of
direction.
When an athlete accelerates, the mechanics are much different than the mechanics of an athlete at topspeed. When an athlete is at top-speed, their body is in an almost upright position as opposed to an athlete
accelerating, where their body almost has a 45 lean. When an athlete runs with this forward lean, their
quads are stimulated to a greater degree while also moving through a greater range of motion. With this being
said, it takes a lot of quad strength for an athlete to go from a stop position to a start position while also
accelerating at the same time. So, to train the quads is to the upmost importance not to just develop balance,
coordination, flexibility, and single-leg strength but to also allow the athlete the ability to run faster.
Unilateral Lower Body Exercises

Single-Leg Squats
o Single-leg squats are one of the most basic unilateral movements that can be used in any
program
o Simply have the athlete have their foot elevated by placing their foot on a bench, keeping an
upright posture, sitting down, and standing up
o Make sure that the athletes heel of the front foot stays in contact with the ground at all time
when performing this exercise
Single-Leg Squats Front Foot Elevated
o By elevating the front foot of the on the Single-Leg Squat, the difficulty of the exercise increases
by increasing the range of motion
o This exercise is a great way to develop dynamic flexibility in an athletes hip flexors
Single-Leg Squats Holding One Dumbbell
o This exercise is another great variation of the Single-Leg Squat, where the athlete performs a
Single-Leg Squat while holding one dumbbell instead of two
o This challenges the athletes balance more than having the athlete hold 2 dumbbells while
performing the exercise
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Single-Leg Speed Skater Squats


o This Single-Leg Speed Skater Squats are an advanced version of the Single-Leg Squat which
strengthens and increases the endurance of the vastus medialus or the teardrop muscle of the
quad
o To perform this exercise, the athlete will first go all the way down, come halfway up, back
down, and all the way up
o 1 reps will equal 1 rep in this exercise
Suspended Chains Single-Leg Squats
o The Suspended Chains Single-Leg Squats is the most advanced version of the Single-Leg Squat
o By suspending chains from the bar, the athletes balance is challenged while also overloading
the athletes core musculature
o Athletes should progress from a basic Single-Leg Squats to Suspended Chain Single-Leg Squat
which is considered the most advanced
Barbell Reverse Lunge
o Have the athlete perform Barbell Reverse Lunges in a very specific manner
o Coach the athlete to break at the knee of the stationary leg first to initiate the movement
before stepping back with the opposite leg
o While the athlete is breaking at the knee, also have the athlete incline their upper body forward
as they are reaching back with the back leg
o This technique places less stress on both the knees as well as overload the musculature of the
quads
Barbell Reverse Lunge + Knee Lift
o This is another variation of the Barbell Reverse Lunge
o By adding a knee lift, the athletes hip flexor is stimulated to a further degree than an athlete
performing regular Barbell Reverse Lunges
Barbell Reverse Lunges Front Foot Elevated
o This is another great variation of the Barbell Reverse Lunge
o By having the athletes front foot elevated, the intensity of the exercise is increased by
increasing the range of motion of the exercise
Barbell Step-Ups
o Barbell Step-Ups are another great exercise to include in any training program
o To add additional variety to this exercise, have the athlete perform this exercise on different
box heights and/or use a different barbell (safety squat bar, cambered bar, etc.)
Barbell Step-Ups + Knee Lift
o The intensity of the Barbell Step-Ups can be increased by adding a knee lift of the opposite leg
o This is a great exercise for improving the sprinting speed of an athlete because the exercise is
very sprinting specific
o During the exercise, one leg is extending while other opposite leg is flexing which is the same
mechanics of sprinting
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Forward Sled Drags


o The Forward Sled Drag is another great exercise to improve an athletes quad and glute
strength
o Have the athlete keep a 45 angle and keep their knees in front of their toe
Backward Sled Drags
o The Backward Sled Drag is another great exercise to develop an athletes quads
o Have the athlete grab the sled ropes, point their toes slightly out and take short quick steps
with the sled
Cross-Over Sled Drag
o The Cross-Over Sled Drag is a great exercise to develop the lateral quadriceps muscle, the
vastus lateralis
o When performing this exercise, have the athlete keep their toes straight during the entire
movement while crossing their legs in front of one another

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Posterior Chain Training


The low back, glutes, and hamstrings make up the posterior chain, which is considered the engine of the
athlete. The posterior chain is where the athlete produces all of their power. With this being said, an athlete
cannot be a great, powerful athlete while having weak posterior chain, so these muscles need to be trained.
Unfortunately, a lot of athletes neglect training these muscles which can potentially be very detrimental to an
athletes performance and power. Train the posterior chain and the results will speak for themselves.
Lower Body Posterior Chain Exercises

Glute-Ham Raise
o Every weight room should have a glute-ham bench
o This is considered one of the best exercises to develop the calves, hamstrings, glutes, and lower
back
o An athlete must do this exercise to strengthen their posterior chain
Reverse Hyperextensions
o The Reverse Hyperextension is one of the best exercises to develop the pure hip extension
o This is a great exercise to develop the hamstrings, glues and lower back
o In order to develop a great posterior chain, an athlete must do this exercise
45 Back Raises
o 45 Back Raises are a great exercise to develop the low back, glutes and hamstrings
o This is a very easy exercise to teach an athlete
o The intensity of the exercise can be increased by:
1) Holding a weight
2) Having a barbell behind your back
3) Using bands
Pull-Through
o Have the athlete perform this exercise with a squat variation
o Here the athlete will actually squat down by bending their knees a little bit more than they
would when they perform a Regular Pull-Through
o This makes the exercise less strenuous on the athletes lumbar spine
o This is a great exercise to develop an athletes posterior chain
Bent-Knee Back Bridge
o This is an excellent bodyweight exercise to develop an athletes posterior chain
o Have the athlete bend their knees while placing their heels on a bench
o From here, have the athlete thrust their hips forward while squeezing their glutes together
Single-Leg Back Bridge
o This is a simple way to increase the intensity of the Regular Bent-Knee Back Bridge
o Here the athlete will perform this exercise one leg at a tiem

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o Have the athlete perform this exercise in the same manner as they would perform a Regular
Bent-Knee Back Bridge

Straight Leg Back Bridge


o Another way to increase the intensity of the Back Bridge is to have the athlete perform the
exercise with straight legs
o Again, the athlete can be performed with either using both legs or one leg
Swiss Ball Back Bridge + Leg Curl
o The Swiss Ball Leg Curl develops both isometric and dynamic strength
o Have the athlete perform this exercise by holding their hips in the air with their feet on top of
the Swiss Ball, then have the athlete perform a Leg Curl, brining the ball in towards the athlete
Upright Sled Walks
o By having an athlete drag a sled with a more upright posture, the athletes hamstrings are
stressed to a greater degree than having the athlete drag a sled using with their body at a 45
angle

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Uncommon Upper Body and Abdominal Exercises

Barbell Bench Press Crunches


o Barbell Bench Press Crunches are a great way to add resistance to an athletes abdominal
training
o Have the athlete perform this exercise by holding a barbell over their chest as if they were
about to perform a Bench Press
o From here, with their arms extended, have the athlete crunch up and push the barbell to the
ceiling by bringing their shoulder blades off the bench
Sprinter Sit-Ups
o Sprinter Sit-Ups are a great ground based abdominal exercise
o Have the athlete initiate this movement by bringing their body up as if they were going to
perform a Sit-Up
o At the last second, have the athlete fire one arm forward while bringing the opposite knee up
towards their chest as if they were performing a sprinting motion
o Have the athlete lay all the way down and repeat the same movement with their opposite arm
and leg
Barbell Russian Twists
o To set up Barbell Russian Twists, place the bottom of a barbell in either the corner of a room or
the corner of a power rack
o Have the athlete grab the top of the barbell, lower the barbell to one side while looking straight
ahead, then bring the barbell back to the center, and lastly, lower the barbell to the other side
Low Pulley Swiss Ball Crunches
o Low Pulley Swiss Ball Crunches are another great exercise to add resistance to any abdominal
training
o Have the athlete grab a low pulley rope and position themselves on a Swiss Ball so that their
lower back is supported during the eccentric portion of the movement
o From here, have the athlete perform a full Sit-Up
Hip Flexor Band Pull-Ins
o Hip Flexor Band Pull-Ins are a great exercise to strengthen the athletes abdominals and hip
flexors
o Simply choke a band around a secure piece of equipment
o From here, have the athlete drive their knees up towards their chest while holding their head
off of the ground
o This exercise can also be performed on a low cable pulley
Scarecrows
o Scarecrows are great a exercise to strength the often overlooked muscles of the upper back of
an athlete
o This exercise is also a great way to get a dynamic stretch on an athletes pecs and shoulders
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Face Pulls
o Face Pulls is another great exercise to develop an athletes posterior deltoids, rhomboids, and
the upper back musculature
o Have the athlete grab a rope attached to a high pulley
o From here, have the athlete pull the ropes toward their face while flaring out their elbows,
squeezing the muscles of their upper back
Kneeling J Pulldowns
o Kneeling J Pulldowns is a great exercise to add variety to any lat and upper back training
program
o Have the athlete kneel down and grab a rope that is attached to a high pulley
o Once the athlete is in this position, have the athlete initiate the movement by pulling the ropes
straight down and then hooking the ropes in towards their stomach as if they were making the
letter J
Seated Dumbbell Power Cleans
o Seated Dumbbell Power Cleans dynamically strengthens an athletes external rotators of the
humorous as well as their upper back musculature
o Have the athlete perform this exercise with fairly light dumbbells
o The athlete will initiate this movement by shrugging their shoulders up towards their ears
o From here the athlete will then dynamically externally rotate their arms at the top of the
movement
o Please note that the athletes elbows should be at a 90 angle at the top of the movement and
the athlete lowers the dumbbells, during the eccentric portion of the movement, under control
L-Lateral Raise + External Rotation
o L-Lateral Raise + External Rotation are less strenuous on an athletes shoulder joint than a
regular Lateral Raise due to creating a more mechanical advantage by shortening the lever arm
of the movement
o The addition of the external rotation to the movement enables an athlete to strengthen the
often overlooked muscles of an athletes external rotators
o This combination movement is great for athletes with shoulder problems and/or athletes who
throw often
Bradford Presses
o The Bradford Press is a exercise that combines a military press from behind the neck as well as
in front of the neck
o Have the athlete press the weight high enough to clear the top of their head, then have the
athlete lower the weight behind their head to ear level
o To complete the movement, have the athlete press the weight high enough to clear the top of
their head and return the weight to the starting position
o Pressing the weight in front of the neck and behind the neck equals 1 rep
o Only athletes with healthy shoulders should perform this exercise
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Dumbbell Side Presses


o The Dumbbell Side Press is practically a Single-Arm Dumbbell Military Press
o Having the athlete work unilaterally, one side at a time, allows for a less strenuous effect on the
athletes shoulders
o Have the athlete lean slightly to the opposite side of the working arm and simply press the
dumbbell overhead
Seated External Rotation Elbow on Knee
o This exercise strengthens 2 of the most overlooked muscles in an athletes body:
Infraspinatus
Teres Minor
o These external rotators are often stretched out and weak due to daily activities as well as
athletic bouts
o Needless to say, it is important to add various exercises to strength these often overlooked
muscles
Dumbbell Floor Presses
o The Dumbbell Floor Press is a great way to develop strength as well as static-overcome-bydynamic strength in the triceps and upper body
o Have the athlete lower the dumbbells under control
o Once the athletes triceps rest on the floor, have the athlete pause for a split second then
explode the dumbbells up as fast as possible
o This exercise can be performed with athletes legs straight or bent
Alternate Dumbbell Bench Presses
o The Alternate Dumbbell Bench Press is a great variation of the Dumbbell Bench Press
o This exercise is an excellent way to increase an athletes shoulder strength as well as an
athletes shoulder stability
o Have the athlete perform a Dumbbell Bench Press 1 arm-at- a-time while keeping the nonpressing arm extended in the starting position
Incline-Elbows Out- Triceps Extensions
o The Incline-Elbows Out-Triceps Extensions is a great exercise to overload an athletes triceps
o Have the athlete hold the dumbbells with their arms extended as if they were about to perform
an Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
o From here, have the athlete flare their elbows out while lowering the dumbbells to their upper
chest
o Once the dumbbells reach the athletes chest, have the athlete lift the dumbbells upward while
extending their arms

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Rolling Triceps Extensions


o Rolling Triceps Extensions is basically a combination of a Dumbbell Bench Press with a neutral
grip (palms facing eachother) and a Dumbbell Triceps Extension
o Have the athlete lower the dumbbells to their chest as if they were going to perform a
Dumbbell Bench Press
o Once the dumbbells have reached the athletes chest, have them roll the dumbbells back
behind their shoulders
o From here, have the athlete shoot their elbows forward while extending their arms
Band Piston Pushdowns
o Piston Band Pushdowns are a great exercise to incorporate during the season due to the fact
that this exercise puts very little stress on an athletes elbows and joints
o Choke 2 bands at the top of a squat rack or cable crossover machine
o Have the athlete perform a Triceps Pushdown 1 arm-at-a-time
o High reps are recommended for this exercise
Zottman Curls
o Zottman Curls is a great exercise to develop an athletes elbow flexors and forearms
o Have the athlete start this movement by performing a regular Dumbbell Curl with their palms
up (supinated)
o At the top of the movement, have the athlete turn the dumbbells so that their palms are facing
the ground
o From here, have the athlete lower the dumbbells slowly while keeping their elbows in and their
wrists straight
Iso-Hold Dumbbell Curls
o Iso-Hold Dumbbell Curls is a great exercise to develop both isometric as well as dynamic
strength
o Have the athlete perform this exercise 1 arm-at-a-time
o While having one arm performing an isometric contraction with their elbow locked at a 90
angle, have the athlete perform Dumbbell Curls
o Once all reps are completed on one side, have the athlete switch responsibilities
Thick Bar Holds
o Thick Bar Holds are a great way to develop an athletes grip and forearm strength
o Have the athlete grab a thick barbell with an overhand grip (pronated) and hold the bar as long
as possible
o Perform this exercise at the end of the workout in a timed set fashion
BNS Wrist Roller
o The BNS Wrist Roller is a special strap that attaches either end of a barbell and allows an
athlete to overload their forearms without their shoulders giving out first

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Hex Dumbbell Pinch Gripping


o Hex Dumbbell Pinch Gripping is a another great way to develop an athletes grip and forearm
strength
o Have the athlete grab the tops of a pair of hex dumbbells with their fingertips and hold them as
long as possible
o Perform this exercise at the end of a workout in a timed set fashion

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