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    Improve performance with contrast sets

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    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% 1RM + Box Jump — 1 rep; rest 15-20 seconds
    Barbell Back Squat — 1 rep 65-80% 1RM + Box Jump — 1 rep; rest 15-20 seconds
    Barbell Back Squat — 1 rep 65-80% 1RM + Box Jump — 1 rep; rest 15-20 seconds
    Barbell Back Squat — 1 rep 65-80% 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% 1RM + Hurdle Hop — 1 rep; rest 20 seconds
    Hex Deadlift — 1 rep 65-80% 1RM + Hurdle Hop — 1 rep; rest 20 seconds
    Hex Deadlift — 1 rep 65-80% 1RM + Hurdle Hop — 1 rep; rest 20 seconds
    Hex Deadlift — 1 rep 65-80% 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% (body weight) load + Depth Jump — 1 rep; rest 15-20 seconds
    Squat Jump — 25-30% (body weight) load + Depth Jump — 1 rep; rest 15-20 seconds
    Squat Jump — 25-30% (body weight) load + Depth Jump — 1 rep; rest 15-20 seconds
    Squat Jump — 25-30% (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 Harehttps://www.ohiovarsity.com
    The creator and publisher of OhioVarsity.com, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for IrishIllustrated.com, a member of the Scout.com network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. OhioVarsity.com was created in 2004 and was a member of the Rivals.com network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. 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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