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If you want to lift more explosively, then your training better reflect your goals. “A lot of strength programs in America are built around slow, controlled reps,” says Chris Gray, the senior performance specialist at Ignition APG in Mason, OH. “But to be explosive, you must train explosively, and French Contrast is great for this.” Popularized by strength coach Cal Dietz, the French Contrast Method is used by strength coaches around the world as a way to bolster an athlete’s power output. Below, we outline everything you need to know about this method and how you can implement it in your own training.
The French Contrast Method pairs a heavy compound movement, like a back squat, with a plyometric exercise, like a squat jump. The result is the ability to harness more explosive power.
Heavy lifts recruit more motor units in a muscle. You can parlay this into a temporary boost in your power output for the plyo move. This practice, over time, leads to a net increase in your power.
The French Contrast Method should be performed for a short three- to four-week block before going back to a more traditional strength program.
Perform exercises marked “A” and “B” as a superset, doing a set of one and then a set of the next with no rest between. Rest 60 seconds after each superset.