Strength Coach Interview – Joe Meglio – Part II

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I’m back with another round of interview questions with Coach Joe Meglio, head coach at the Underground Gym in Edison, NJ, and one of the top rising stars of the fitness industry. If you missed the first interview, make SURE you check it out here.

All right, let’s get right into it!

Isaac: Awesome, man. If you had to pick one “bang for your buck” exercises for busy people who still wanted to get strong and athletic but maximize their time in the gym, what would you choose?

Joe: My # 1 lift would be trap bar deadlifts with high handles. This exercise works every muscle in the body and is a great builder of strength.

While I love traditional deadlifts, most people don’t have the proper mobility to get into the proper starting position so that’s why I recommend the trap bar for the masses out there.

Isaac: What are your thoughts on developing speed? Can you get substantially faster, or is speed one of those “you’re born fast or you’re not” things?

Joe: You can absolutely get faster. While not everybody can be as fast as Usian Bolt, you can certainly shed some time off your 40-yard dash or become faster on the playing field.

Where many coaches and athletes go wrong is their approach to getting faster. In order to get faster, you have to improve your rate of force development. The more force you can produce and display quickly, the faster you will run, the higher you will jump the more explosive you will be.

Sounds pretty simple but how do we improve rate of force development? It all starts with building a solid foundation of strength. Think about your body as an engine, the stronger you physically are, the more horsepower you will have in your engine. The more horsepower you have, the more potential you have to throw harder, jump higher and run faster.

This is the exact reason why all my athletes get faster without doing any sprints or “agility drills” with me. Instead we focus on building a solid foundation of strength first through bodyweight training. Once a high level of relative body strength is achieved, we will introduce external loads to help build maximal strength and strength endurance. Throughout this whole process we are focusing on creating more horsepower in the engine.

Once an athlete is strong and has a solid foundation of strength, we can then focus on adding in jumps, medicine ball throws and sprints, as these are the best developers of speed and power.

Another way to get faster is to improve your body composition. Is it any wonder why NFL running backs and wide receivers are the fastest guys on the field? Compared to the other athletes they have a better body composition and also have a extremely high level of relative body strength. There is a reason why NFL linemen don’t run a 4.5 40 yard dashes.

Isaac: I agree with everything you just said on speed development. Force is King. Do you do any dedicated flexibility and mobility work with your athletes?

Joe: In any given week, I have 2-3 hours max to work with my athletes. With that said we don’t spend 45 minutes doing mobility and flexibility work BUT it is an important part of the training session.

In order to maximize the time of each training session we address flexibility and mobility during 3 different parts of the training session.

1- The warm-up
2- As active recovery in between sets
3- At the end of the workout before the athlete leaves.

Zach Even-Esh said it pretty well, we are NOT physical therapists and we don’t try to be. With that said, it is our job as a coach to educate each athlete on where they need to work on their mobility and flexibility and show them a few drills to do on their own to address these tight or inhibited areas.

Awesome stuff there. Joe’s right in line with my philosophies on that stuff. The take home: Get strong and lean, work on mobility, but focus on the stuff that really matter. Don’t major in the minor, so to speak.

All right, I’ll be back next week to finish off this great interview with Joe. Stay tuned!



Joe Meglio is a performance coach at the Underground Strength Gym in Edison, New Jersey. Joe is a former college baseball player and has competed in powerlifting. He has been named the # 1 Rising Star in the Fitness Industry and STACK.com Expert Of The Month. For more information on Joe check out http://joemeglio.com/

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PS If you’re looking for a fun and ass-kicking 12-week program from Joe, check out Lift Like a Man!

PPS 2-P.P.S Want more awesome muscle and strength building tips from Joe? Click here to get your FREE report

Pings on Strength Coach Interview – Joe Meglio – Part II

October 24, 2012

Comments on Strength Coach Interview – Joe Meglio – Part II Leave a Comment

October 25, 2012

Joe Meglio @ 2:52 pm #

Thanks for posting this Isaac. If you guys have any questions or comments I would love to hear them!

November 3, 2012

Ashley @ 5:48 pm #

I loved Joe’s thoughts on getting faster, I’m a sprint runner and my most recent coach touched on this with me and I’m seeing some great improvements on my 40 yard.

November 4, 2012

I’m wondering what the active recovery in between sets are? Typically I’ll rest for about 90 seconds in between each while stretching and catching my breath. I know lots of people have a different idea of active recovery though…

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