04 Jun CONTRAST TRAINING
This week at #CityStrongman we’ve looked at contrast training. What is it and why should you care?
Well firstly you shouldn’t care. It’s Friday. You should be thinking about the beer garden. But we think it’s important you understand why we’re telling you to do things and that unlike many bootcamps we’re not just winging it with random exercises. Ben and Dave are currently putting together fully periodised month long programmes for all the city strongman workouts so you can guarantee you’ll see progression across the board whatever your level.
Contrast training consist of a heavy resistance exercise (e.g. tyre flip) paired with an unweighted explosive exercise (plyo bound onto tyre). The two exercises share a common movement pattern
Performing near-maximal muscular contraction (make it really heavy) before an explosive movement causes post-activation potentiation (PAP), which makes the explosive movement more powerful.
The concept isn’t new — researchers have been studying it since the 60s and coaches have been using it with athletes ever since but you won’t see it in your average bootcamp.
So why should you care? It’s all very sexy but if it doesn’t make your muscles bigger, faster, and stronger, and burn body fat it’s pointless.
You’re recruiting more motor units than you ordinarily would for the power exercise. We also tweaked this in our sessions by adding more reps than you usually would for the power exercise. This slightly dilutes the ‘contrast’ component but it adds more volume. Since we don’t have too many Olympic athletes doing our classes…yet…this means you still develop explosive power but you also build muscle. Win frickin’ win.
Contrast training helps us increase the total amount of work we do by recruiting more motor units for high-speed body-weight exercises. That has a greater metabolic effect than you would get from straight sets of these exercises without PAP. If you avoid post workout pie consumption you’ll shred weight quicker than Ben sheds his top in holiday pictures.