Contrast Training For Increased Power and Explosive Strength

back squats contrast training

Contrast Training is great way to build more power and explosive strength, which is key to improving your athletic performance.

Contrasts consist of alternating a heavy resistance exercise such as a heavy barbell squat with a biomechanically similar explosive plyometric movement such as the jump squat.

The benefit is increased power output and faster force production, both of which are essential for MMA, martial arts and combat sports.

contrast training
Contrast training improves neuromuscular efficiency with a post-activation potentiation (PAP) effect in which the muscle force is greater after performing the initial strength exercise because the signal from the central nervous system to the muscle has been optimally activated.

Neural drive increases, allowing for greater power output in the ballistic exercise.

There is also evidence that better energy production in the muscles contributes to the enhanced performance because nutrient levels are more available so the muscle works better.

Additionally, when you perform contrast workouts, you excite fibers (use ones that you have not used) they will tear. They will grow once you have torn them and the cross section will have increased (this type of training will still create functional hypertrophy although is falls under the relative strength parameters).

Contrast Training Set Up

For each contrast set, the weight heavy lift should be 75-90% of 1RM, depending on the exercise. You should perform 1-5 reps of the heavy exercise followed by3-8 reps of the high velocity movement.

When you keep the rep volume low during the heavy lift, this will lessen fatigue and allow for maximum force during the explosive movement, which will maximize the effects of PAP.

The rest period between the two exercises may vary from 5-30 seconds again depending on your goals and the specific contrast training set up.

After the set of exercises are done you can rest between 45 seconds and 3 minutes…again depending on the set up

Always make sure you perform warm up sets prior to starting complex training to get the blood flowing

Complex training exercise pairing can also include supersets, triceps and even quad sets of exercises.

➢ Complex training involves alternating biomechanically similar high load training and plyo-exercises- set for set within the same workout
➢ Complex training should follow a periodized model which requires an athlete to possess functional strength and participate a preparatory base strength phase
➢ Complex training needs to be biomechanically and velocity specific to sport
➢ Rest can vary from 15 seconds to 4 minutes
➢ More time efficient workouts
➢ Lots of sets
➢ Very high intensity, Never over 5 reps

Contrast Training workout Routine

In the workout below we out together an upper body push superset complex with two exercises and a lower body hip dominant complex using three exercises.

Upper Body Chest Workout

Dumbbell Chest Press 3 Reps (90-95% load)
MMA Push Ups – 6 Reps
Rest 45 – 1 minute and repeat for 4-5 sets

Explosive Power – Contrast Training – Hip Dominant Lower Body

Trap Bar/Barbell Deadlifts – 5 Reps (75-80% load)
Resistance Ban Rocket Jumps – 10 Reps
Med Ball Jumps – 5 Reps (10-30lbs)
Rest 45 – 1 minute and repeat for 4-5 sets

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