As a reminder, we have 2 central training themes that we rotate between in during our strength block programming:
(1) Intensification: Power, Strength, Speed and Explosiveness
(2) Accumulation: Volume, Body Composition and Work Capacity (Endurance)
You get both strength and conditioning in both training themes. But we design our training this way because it's more sustainable and smarter.
We're finishing October's accumulation block where the theme was the German Body Composition Training, where the focus was on building lean muscle mass, improving our work capacities and improving our body compositions.
We're done dealing with the Germans and Russians for now.
For November, we're going to be transitioning into an Intensification block.
Intensification blocks focus on power, strength and speed. The primary focus of this strength block will be to simultaneously get everyone stronger and more explosive utilizing the French Contrast Method (FCM).
To properly understand the French Contrast Method (FCM), you must first have a proper understanding of two distinct styles of training: (1) Complex Training and (2) Contrast Training.
Complex training involves performing a heavy compound exercise followed by a plyometric exercise that is similar in movement pattern. A complex training set can involve a squatting movement pattern and pairing that with a jump at a significant lighter load.
If you recall back to May 2019, we had an intensification strength block known as Complex Training. Complex training integrated strength training, plyometrics and sometimes sport-specific movements. It consisted of an intense strength exercise followed by a plyometric exercise. Strategically selecting explosive exercise to gain Post Activation Potentiation (PAP), which is the driving force behind the complex training method.
What is Post Activation Potentiation?
The term Post Activation Potentiation (PAP) simply refers to an acute excitation of the neuromuscular system following some form of exercise (5RM Back Squat). This acute excitation has been shown to improve subsequent explosive performances such as the counter movement jump and sprint speed. The complex training method has been shown to improve jumping, sprinting, throwing, kicking and even change of direction speed performances.
Theoretical model representing the relationship between post activation potentiation (PAP) and fatigue regarding possible windows of enhanced performance
Contrast training is a heavy set followed by relatively lighter sets over a period of sets. This method is aimed at improving maximum strength, with the use of sub-maximal drop sets. In this case, a front/back squat can be utilized at a higher percentage of workload and followed with a 10% drop set.
The French Contrast Method (FCM) is the beautiful hybrid bi-racial baby of these two training themes.
The combination of exercises increases the amount of muscle fibers that are recruited to perform a movement, as well as the speed at which those fibers are recruited. This increases the speed at which your muscles can produce force (rate of force development), explosive strength and speed endurance.
The French Contrast Method (FCM) places a lot of stress on the individual, which is what makes it such an amazing tool for increasing explosive strength and speed endurance.