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What is French Contrast Training?

Includes an excellent workout for power and speed based on the principle.

What is French Contrast Training and could it help you in your training journey? Shea Pierre, professional Strength and Conditioning Coach, helps us answer these questions.

French Contrast Training generally involves four exercises:

  1. Strengthening exercise worked at the top of the force-velocity curve.
  2. Slow stretch shortening cycle exercise, which includes power exercises such as jumps.
  3. Power exercise with a little bit of weight.
  4. Fast stretch-shortening cycle exercise or any exercise that shortens ground contact time, which includes any highest velocity movements that you can do.

French Contrast Training is a combination between complex and contrast training methods created by French track coach Gilles Cometti.

It is said to take advantage of an increase in muscle performance after a muscle contraction (Post-Activation Potentiation or PAP) by combining four contrasting loading styles:

  • heavy compound lift
  • plyometric activity (complex training)
  • powerful movement carried out with load of 30% (contrast training)
  • accelerated or assisted plyometric activity

This concept establishes that “a more powerful muscular contraction can be achieved if that contraction is preceded by a strong muscular contraction.”

As such, it can increase power production & endurance and has been shown to be great for peaking methods. In other words, the idea is to use these four exercises to induce physiological responses of the athlete and train along the force-speed curve.

15 minute fat burning home workoutSource: Karsten Winegeart / Unsplash

Full French Contrast Training Workout for Horizontal Power Production

This workout will work on your speed, power, acceleration and broad jump capacity.

Activation and warm-up

  • 90/90 hip mobility weighted (6-8 reps)
  • 90/90 hip mobility switches (6-8 reps)
  • World greatest stretch (6-8 reps)
  • Cross Body Pull + Superman + Hamstring Kick (6-8 reps)
  • Ballistic hip hinge (6-8 reps)
  • Hamstring leg swing series (6-8 reps)

Activation and dynamic mobility

  • Banded side steps (lateral monster walks) – 2 sets x 10 yards each way
  • Banded wall hip hyperextension – 2 sets x 15 reps
  • Banded tibialis posterior activation – 2 sets x 20 reps
  • Banded back to wall hip flexion – 2 sets x 10 reps each side

Wall training series

  • Single leg wall piston step – 2 sets x 10 reps each side
  • Single leg wall pull through – 2 sets x 10 reps each side
  • Single leg wall quick switch – 2 sets x 10 reps each side
  • Single leg wall pull through to piston – 2 sets x 5 reps each side

Mechanics

  • Arm mechanics 50, 75, 100% – 2 sets x 10 seconds
  • Hip extension & step with knee drive against band – 3 sets x 5 reps each side
  • 10-yard knee down accelerations – 3 sets x 1 rep each leg

French Contrast Training Workout for Horizontal Power

  • Barbell hip thrust – 4 sets x 3 reps
  • Depth jump to broad jump – 4 sets x 2 reps
  • Kettlebell swing with band – 4 sets x 5 reps
  • Banded hip thrusts with isometric hold – 4 sets x 5 reps

Accessory work

  • Cable rotations – 2 sets x 10 reps per side
  • Single leg Swiss ball hamstring curls – 2 sets x 10 reps each side

Watch all exercises demoed  

Coach Usama Mujtaba takes Shea Pierre through this awesome workout focusing on power production, speed and strength.

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