Thursday, April 18, 2024

Improve performance with contrast sets

One of the goals of athletic performance training should be to increase athletes’ work capacity while improving (reducing) their recovery time. Contrast training is a highly effective method for improving many physical attributes involved in athletic performance, including strength, power, speed (acceleration) and agility — if implemented properly.

Contrast training involves performing a set of a heavy resistance exercise, immediately followed by a set of a biomechanically similar power exercise (for example, a barbell back squat, immediately followed by a squat jump). Complex training is a similar approach, which involves performing 3-4 sets of heavy resistance training followed by 3-4 sets of the biomechanically similar power exercise.

The benefits of contrast training include:

  • Effective in producing results
  • Highly efficient
  • Allows for high work density
  • Time effective
  • Allows athletes to complete fewer training sessions in order to yield the same or greater results
  • May have implications for injury prevention

Here’s an example of a simple contrast model for athletes to build explosive power:

Barbell Back Squat — 1 rep 65-80{75938b698c062a5f9d56a28bed7ead9ebf7938f0edec05c365aaf340748e7078} 1RM + Box Jump — 1 rep; rest 15-20 seconds
Barbell Back Squat — 1 rep 65-80{75938b698c062a5f9d56a28bed7ead9ebf7938f0edec05c365aaf340748e7078} 1RM + Box Jump — 1 rep; rest 15-20 seconds
Barbell Back Squat — 1 rep 65-80{75938b698c062a5f9d56a28bed7ead9ebf7938f0edec05c365aaf340748e7078} 1RM + Box Jump — 1 rep; rest 15-20 seconds
Barbell Back Squat — 1 rep 65-80{75938b698c062a5f9d56a28bed7ead9ebf7938f0edec05c365aaf340748e7078} 1RM + Box Jump — 1 rep
Rest 2-3 minutes, then repeat for a total of 2-4 sets

Incorporate this superset into your workout for speed development:

Hex Deadlift — 1 rep 65-80{75938b698c062a5f9d56a28bed7ead9ebf7938f0edec05c365aaf340748e7078} 1RM + Hurdle Hop — 1 rep; rest 20 seconds
Hex Deadlift — 1 rep 65-80{75938b698c062a5f9d56a28bed7ead9ebf7938f0edec05c365aaf340748e7078} 1RM + Hurdle Hop — 1 rep; rest 20 seconds
Hex Deadlift — 1 rep 65-80{75938b698c062a5f9d56a28bed7ead9ebf7938f0edec05c365aaf340748e7078} 1RM + Hurdle Hop — 1 rep; rest 20 seconds
Hex Deadlift — 1 rep 65-80{75938b698c062a5f9d56a28bed7ead9ebf7938f0edec05c365aaf340748e7078} 1RM + Hurdle Hop — 1 rep
Rest 2-3 minutes, then repeat for a total of 2-4 sets

And finally, a superset using two explosive/plyometric exercises:

Squat Jump — 25-30{75938b698c062a5f9d56a28bed7ead9ebf7938f0edec05c365aaf340748e7078} (body weight) load + Depth Jump — 1 rep; rest 15-20 seconds
Squat Jump — 25-30{75938b698c062a5f9d56a28bed7ead9ebf7938f0edec05c365aaf340748e7078} (body weight) load + Depth Jump — 1 rep; rest 15-20 seconds
Squat Jump — 25-30{75938b698c062a5f9d56a28bed7ead9ebf7938f0edec05c365aaf340748e7078} (body weight) load + Depth Jump — 1 rep; rest 15-20 seconds
Squat Jump — 25-30{75938b698c062a5f9d56a28bed7ead9ebf7938f0edec05c365aaf340748e7078} (body weight) load + Depth Jump — 1 rep
Rest 2-3 minutes, then repeat for a total of 1-3 sets

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Steve Hare
Steve Harehttp://www.ohiovarsity.com
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes OhioVarsity.com, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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