The key to building good workouts is logical variety and harnessing techniques that work with your body’s natural physiology. Every time you move, your body recruits an amount of muscle fiber proportional to the movement. For example, if you pick up a cup of water, the muscle fiber recruitment is low because you don’t need much strength to lift it. If you pick up a boulder, the muscle fiber recruitment is high in order to accommodate the heavier-than-normal movement. The more muscle fiber you recruit, the greater potential for power you have!
Once your body has lifted something heavier than what occurs during normal daily activity, your musculoskeletal system “resets” from normal for a short period of time to prepare to lift another heavy item again. Your body anticipates you lifting something else heavy again by increasing its fiber availability before you move again. That short window of time of increased activation is called post potentiation activation. This physiological phenomenon occurs after you lift a heavy weight regardless of what the next movement is. When used as a training technique, this is called “Contrast Method”. Contrast Method is a training technique that combines a strength movement with an athletic, dynamic movement in order to increase power output.
To take maximal advantage of this from a training standpoint, you simply superset a strength-based movement with an athletic-based movement. For example, you perform 3 reps at 75% of 1RM of a trap bar deadlift and immediately go and perform 3 box jumps. Your body will produce more force on the box jumps than normal because it’s anticipating you lifting another heavy trap bar deadlift resulting in higher, more powerful jumps.
Another important programming factor is to not perform the athletic movement to failure. The goal is power, not conditioning. If you perform 20 box jumps instead of 3, power goes down to accommodate the prolonged activity. Best practice is to perform multiple sets with lower volume. 5 sets of 3 for each, 6 sets of 2 for each, etc. In theory, if you perform this technique enough, you teach your body to consistently apply more force to the athletic movement you perform resulting in increased speed and power.
There are literally limitless examples of how to perform Contrast Method. Pair bench press with plyometric push-ups. Box squats with tuck jumps. Kettlebell swings with broad jumps. For my Olympic lifters, deadlift with a clean. The concept is simple and powerful. Pair a heavier strength movement with a lighter, athletic movement to harness the window of potentiation.
Then ensure you take advantage of your workout by pairing it with Barbell Brigade Pre-Workout
for maximal intensity. The concept is again, simple but effective: make the most out of every minute of your workout. Research shows caffeine can help your body increase power, endurance, and focus if taken in the right dosage. Plus there are a ton of other goodies Barbell Brigade has packed into this pre-workout to ensure you are pumped and primed to fully dominate your workout.
Elite Sports Performance Coach