Triple H's strength coach outlines the eight most effective exercises you can do in the gym 3 years ago

Triple H's strength coach outlines the eight most effective exercises you can do in the gym

Joe DeFranco enjoys a reputation as one of the world's most sought-after strength coaches.

The New Jersey man has been Triple H's personal trainer for a number of years, helping the former WWE Champion get back to full fitness after a series of debilitating injuries.


DeFranco has even gone on to coach HHH's wife Stephanie and WWE chairman Vince McMahon.

As well as his work in the wrestling world, DeFranco has trained a whole host of elite-level athletes and general gym fanatics.

There are few better judges of what builds muscle and strength most effectively. In the latest episode of his Industrial Strength Show podcast, DeFranco outlined what he deems to be the eight most effective exercises of all time.

They are:

  1. Goblet Squat / Goblet Box Squat
  2. Rear-Foot Elevated Split Squat
  3. Prowler Push / Drags
  4. Push-Ups [all variations]
  5. Floor Press
  6. Single-Arm Dumbbell Row
  7. Iso-hold YWT
  8. Farmer's Walk

How to perform each of these exercises:


Goblet Squat

  • Grip the side of the kettlebell handle. If you're using a dumbbell, hold it vertical with palms under the top portion
  • Hold it as close to your chest as possible
  • Squat as low as you possibly can, to the point where your hamstrings are almost touching your calves
  • This exercise forces you to keep your chest up and your back straight

Rear-Foot Elevated Split Squat

Image via @Ray_Buckton
  • The split squat, also known as the Bulgarian Squat, is one of the most underrated lower body exercises around
  • Hold two dumbbells by your side with palms facing inwards
  • Stand in front of a bench or box, with the top of one foot placed on the bench behind you
  • Slowly lower until your knee on the front leg is parallel to the floor
  • Keep your back straight and abs tight

Prowler Push / Drag

  • Load up the prowler with around half your body weight
  • Drive through your glutes and push off from your toes
  • Try not to arch your back, keep it as straight as possible
  • Aim for time, not reps - e.g. 20 seconds prowler push followed by 20 seconds prowler drag


  • Start with arms shoulder-width apart and locked out
  • To take the stress off your shoulder joint, keep your elbows tucked in
  • Lower your torso to the floor while keeping your back straight
  • Pause at the bottom and hold for 1-2 seconds
  • Press back up

Floor Press

Image via strengthcamp [YouTube]
  • The Floor Press is essentially a Bench Press from the floor - this can help reduce the impact and flexion on the lower back
  • Otherwise, you'd perform it like a typical Bench Press
  • Grip the barbell with hands shoulder-width apart
  • Bring the bar down to your lower chest, pressing back up in an upwards curve motion

Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

  • Grip the end of a bench with your left hand, and place your left knee on the same side of the bench
  • Your right foot should be firm on the floor
  • While keeping your elbow tucked in close to your body, row the dumbbell towards your hip - not just upwards
  • Contract your lats and try and avoid swinging to get the dumbbell up

Iso-hold YWT

  • DeFranco is seen here performing this exercise; we recommend viewing the video on his Youtube channel
  • Lying face down on a gym mat, squeeze your shoulder blades and then raise your arms above your head in a Y position
  • Keep your thumbs pointed up
  • Return to the beginning with arms by your side, then move upwards again but with elbows creating a W position
  • Repeat again but with your arms horizontal, creating a T shape. This exercise works the mid and lower traps, which are often neglected by most gym exercises

Farmer's Walk

Exercises Farmer's Walk

  • Similar to the Prowler Push, the Farmer's Walk should be performed for time rather than reps
  • Each side handle should be loaded with a weight that's comfortable [but ideally over 50% of your body weight]
  • Keeping your back straight and chest up, walk in as straight a line as possible for around 20-30 seconds
  • Turn around and walk back to the start for the same duration