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A Radically Effective Training Technique

Posted by Joel Marion on June 24, 2009

I’m just getting back from busting my butt in the gym with some Insider Contrast Training!

Insider wha?

Have no fear, I’m about to GIVE you all the details in today’s blog post.

The Technique: Insider Contrast Training

Where it came from: Insider Contrast Training was developed by French sport scientist Gilles Cometti and popularized in the western world by my good friend and Canadian strength Coach Christian Thibaudeau.

What it is: Insider Contrast Training is a unique method in which a particular training variable is manipulated during the course of a set.

Below are two of my favorite Insider Contrast Training protocols:

Variable Load/Concentric Contraction Speed Sets

With this method, the load and concentric contraction speed is varied every two reps. This works to increase strength, size, and power simultaneously.

(For those unfamiliar with the term concentric, it just simply refers to the “lifting”, not the “lowering”, portion of a given exercise)

Because weight changes need to be made as fast as possible, it is recommended that you have a partner and/or use machines that can be easily adjusted when utilizing this method.

If you do not train with a partner, it would behoove you to at least find someone at the gym to lend you a hand during your set-you’ll really be missing out by going solely with machines and neglecting movements like the bench press, squat, and deadlift.

An example set of 8 repetitions would look like:

Reps 1 and 2- max effort contraction @ 80% 1RM*
Reps 3 and 4- explosive contraction @ 50% 1RM
Reps 5 and 6- max effort contraction @ 80% 1RM
Reps 7 and 8- explosive contraction @ 50% 1RM

*1RM = 1 Rep Maximum, so if your max bench press is 200 lbs, 80% 1RM and 50% 1RM would be 160 lbs and 100 lbs, respectively.

Always strive to lift the weight as fast as possible.  That said, explosive reps will be considerably faster then max effort reps because of the much lighter load.

Variable Tempo Sets

With variable tempo sets, the load remains constant throughout the set; however, the speed of both the eccentric (lowering) and concentric (lifting) contractions change every two reps. This is a great technique to stimulate maximum microtrauma (breakdown of muscle tissue) and subsequent muscle growth.

Here’s what it looks like:

Load- 75% 1RM

Reps 1 and 2- 604 tempo
Reps 3 and 4- 20X tempo
Reps 5 and 6- 604 tempo
Reps 7 and 8- 20X tempo

Tempo note: The first number is the time in seconds you should take to lower the weight (eccentric contraction), the second number represents the time you should pause between switching directions, and the third number is the time it should take to lift the weight (concentric contraction). A value of “X” means you should lift the weight as fast as possible.

So there you have it, not one, but TWO radically effective training techniques that you can begin using as early as today if you’d like.  Talk about a fun way to shock your body into new gains in strength and lean muscle!

At least 100 comments and I’ll be back on Friday to give you a complete Insider Contrast workout regimen.

Talk to you in the comments section!



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