Workout Routines

Use the French Contrast Method to Build Explosive Power

Learn what it is and how to implement it into your training.

by
Barbell Bench Press
Edgar Artiga / M+F Magazine
Edgar Artiga / M+F Magazine
Duration 60 min.
Exercises 16
Equipment Yes

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.

WHAT IT IS

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.

HOW IT WORKS

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.

WHEN TO DO IT

The French Contrast Method should be performed for a short three- to four-week block before going back to a more traditional strength program.

DIRECTIONS

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.

Lower Body Split

Exercise 1A

Barbell Squat You'll need: Barbell How to
Man Barbell Squat thumbnail
3 sets
2 reps
-- rest
80% 1RM

Exercise 1B

Vertical Jump How to
Vertical Jump thumbnail
3 sets
3 reps
60 sec rest

Exercise 2A

Barbell Split Squat You'll need: Barbell, Squat Rack How to
Barbell Split Squat thumbnail
3 sets
2 reps
-- rest
50% 1RM

Exercise 2B

Alternating Jump Lunge You'll need: No Equipment How to
Alternating Jump Lunge thumbnail
3 sets
3* reps
60 sec rest
*Per side.

Exercise 3A

Romanian Deadlift You'll need: Barbell How to
Romanian Deadlift thumbnail
3 sets
2 reps
-- rest
80% 1RM

Exercise 3B

Broad Jump How to
Get a Jump on this Total Body Workout thumbnail
3 sets
4 reps
60 sec rest

Exercise 4A

Dumbbell Side Lunge You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Side Lunge thumbnail
3 sets
5* reps
-- rest
*Per side.

Exercise 4B

Lateral Broad Jump How to
Lateral Broad Jump thumbnail
3 sets
2 reps
60 sec rest

Upper Body Split

Exercise 1A

Barbell Bench Press You'll need: Barbell, Bench How to
Barbell Bench Press thumbnail
3 sets
2 reps
-- rest
80% 1RM

Exercise 1B

Plyometric Pushup
plyometric pushup thumbnail
3 sets
5 reps
60 sec rest

Exercise 2A

Lat Pulldown You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, Lat Pulldown Bar How to
Lat Pulldown thumbnail
3 sets
5 reps
-- rest
Use heavy weights.

Exercise 2B

General Pullup You'll need: Pullup Bar How to
Pullup thumbnail
3 sets
2 reps
60 sec rest

Exercise 3A

Barbell Overhead Press
Overhead Press thumbnail
3 sets
2 reps
-- rest
50% 1RM

Exercise 3B

Medicine Ball Slam You'll need: Medicine Ball How to
Medicine Ball Slam thumbnail
3 sets
3 reps
60 sec rest

Exercise 4A

Barbell Upright Row You'll need: Barbell How to
Barbell Upright Row thumbnail
3 sets
5 reps
-- rest
70% 1RM

Exercise 4B

Inverted Row You'll need: Barbell, Squat Rack How to
Inverted Row thumbnail
3 sets
5 reps
60 sec rest
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