Contrast Training for Maximal Explosiveness

Developing explosive strength is an important component of nearly every sport. Being able to produce more force, more quickly can provide athletes with a noticeable advantage over opponents. Whether, your sport is netball, football, swimming, cycling, and many more: Greater Power = Greater Success.

There are multiple aspects of power output which play a role in determining how explosive you can be as an athlete. These being: total force production, and rate of force production. Obviously being able to produce a heap of force is beneficial but being able to apply force more quickly (at a higher rate) is more important for maximum explosiveness.

The ‘French Contrast Method’ is a training modality which incorporates a combination of traditional power focussed exercises, and plyometric movements to target rates of force production.

This training method involves athletes completing a complex superset of a specific sequence of exercises. These being:

1) High load complex exercises (e.g., Heavy Squats, Deadlifts, Bench Press, Chin Up etc.)

2) Traditional Plyometric movement (e.g., Body weight jumps, hops, or throwing light implements like medicine balls)

3) Explosive, low load (30% 1RM) exercise (e.g., Weighted Jumps, Power cleans, bench pull etc.)

4) Assisted plyometric movement (assisted explosive push up, assisted jumps, or hops etc.)

An example program could look like:

Front squat (@75-85% 1RM) 3×6,4,4

Triple Hop plyometric 3x2ea.

Trap Bar Deadlift countermovement jump (@30% 1RM) 3×4

Band assisted vertical jump 3×6.

There are many options you could use for each exercise; however it is important that you keep consistent with what part of the body you are training, i.e., upper or lower, for each exercise. Create your own combination and give this a go. This type of program can also act as a primer prior to competition if completed within 48 hours of the game/event.