Contrast And Complex Training For Athletes
Complex and contrast training for explosive power.
Power amongst athletes is an essential component whether it is getting to the ball first in football, generating more ball speed on a serve in tennis or throwing a shot put as far as possible. In every sport, power serves a purpose. The problem however, is in sports during the season. Power can be reduced due to the busy schedule of training vs gym-based work. Contrast and complex training are methods which, can be utilised by athletes to increase power during the off-season and maintain or increase power during the season.
Post activation potentiation
These two training modalities relate to a process known as post activation potentiation (PAP). PAP involves an acute stimulation of the neuromuscular system following an exercise. This stimulation can then lead to immediate increases in power performance of an exercise with a similar biomechanical movement. For example, performing 3 reps of a heavy back squat can lead to an increase in vertical jump height. This PAP effect has been shown effective in movements such as jumping, sprinting and change of direction.
THE VIDEO: Complex and Contrast Training for Explosive Power
Contrast training involves alternating heavy and lighter weight exercises set by set. For example, doing 3 sets of 3 reps on heavy back squats and 3 sets of 3 reps on counter movement jump. You would complete 1 set of the back squat then, 1 set of the counter movement jump, repeating for three sets.
This method involves performing a heavy lift and then, in the same session completing a lighter more explosive movement. For example, completing 3 sets of 3 on hip thrusts then, completing 3 sets of 3 on 10 metre sprints.
Both of these modalities encompass this PAP effect. They just do it in a slightly different way. However, for PAP to take effect, the exercises must follow a similar movement pattern. For example, a back squat involves producing a vertical force, same as a vertical jump. However, the back squat would not potentiate the muscles involved in an upper body explosive movement such as a medicine ball chest pass.
Application of contrast and complex training
Using a contrast and complex training method has been shown to increase power and strength more than training each component individually. When deciding exercises, ensure you are choosing the most relevant ones for your sport and goal. An example being a shot putter. The heavy exercise might be a back squat with the explosive exercise being a seated vertical jump. This exercise would more accurately mimic the sport of shotput as the role is to produce as more force as fast as possible. Whereas, a normal vertical jump would be less like the sport of shotput. Have this in mind when selecting exercises
Between contrast and complex training, neither is better than the other. It is down to personal preference. Just ensure that you are completing a heavy loaded exercise and a lighter more explosive exercise that have similar movement patterns.