Contrast Training: Every Athlete Should Know This Technique
What if I told you that you could become stronger, more explosive and leaner, all while spending less time at training than you currently do? Would you be interested? Enter contrast training. Contrast training is simple: You perform a strength exercise and pair that with an unresisted to lightly-resisted power movement similar to the strength movement you performed. Examples are a Deadlift paired with a Broad Jump, or Bench Press paired with a Medicine Ball Chest Pass. How Does Contrast Training Work? Contrast training allows for increased muscle recruitment for your primary movement, allowing you to lift heavier during your sets. When you perform a heavy set of Deadlifts and then perform Broad Jumps, you're telling your brain to send more help. When you send more support, you're improving the movement pattern, which will increase strength and allow your body to handle a heavier load. If contrast training is so great, why not use it all the time? As human beings, we adapt to whatever is thrown our way. We prefer to hold onto energy and not expend it. So, if we keep sending the same signal to our brains, we won't continue to get the same effect. That's why programming and planning is an essential aspect of training. We'll eventually adapt, and if we want to keep making progress, we need to send different signals The Three Keys of Contrast Training In review, contrast training can be an excellent way to increase strength, muscle mass and explosive power. But to unlock the full benefits of contrast training, there are three keys you must respect and follow.
1. Make Sure You Build the Foundation First If you can't move properly, there's a chance you'll hurt yourself during contrast training. Build a proper movement and strength foundation before you try this technique. If you've already been training consistently and lifting heavy for several consecutive months, you should be ready to take on constant training (as long as your form is also correct throughout the range of movement and you have experience with the moves you'll be using in your contrast training). 2. Move With Intent Whether it's the strength or power movement, you need to move with a purpose. You cannot expect to go through the motions with contrast training and still see big results. Move the bar as fast as you can and jump as high or far as you can. 3. Be Smart Challenge yourself but stay within yourself. Consistent progress is still progress, so don't make huge jumps set to set or week to week. Be smart with your weights and be smart with how you program your contrast training. Once you've completed a 3- to 4-week phase of contrast training, don't revisit it too quickly again. I'd suggest waiting at least another eight weeks before beginning another phase of contrast training. Kyle Andersen - Kyle Andersen is the Head Performance Coach at Athletic Movement Protocol in Syosset, New York. He graduated from SUNY Cortland with a Bachelor's degree in fitness development. He then went on to receive his CSCS and Pn1 Nutrition Coach Certification. Kyle is focused on the long-term athletic develo