Thursday, August 22, 2019

Insider Contrast Method - Christian Thibaudeau





Note: 
This excerpt is (Thank You!) from Chris Thibaudeau's Theory and Application of Modern Strength and Power Methods (2014).

For more outstanding training innovations and lifting wisdom, 
check out his later texts, as well as the links given above. 



Insider Contrast Method

This method comes from the work of Gilles Cometti, a French sport-scientist. It is an adaptation of what's known as contrast training, which refers to alternating between a slow set and a high speed set. This new method is called "Insider Contrast" training simply because you do not alternate between slow and fast sets, but between slow and fast REPS. Read on . . . it's not as crazy as you think! 


Some Logic

We know that slow and fast training can have drastically different training effects. We also know that light and heavy loads promote different adaptations. Fast training has a more important neuromotor component than slow training, and heavy training increases strength more so than light training. 

With the old school method a bodybuilder would alternate periods of various types of training to develop his power, size,and strength. Well, by combining explosive reps with heavy slow reps, and light slow reps you can get it all at once! 

Furthermore, we also know that fast and slow exercises can lead to the recruitment of different muscles. Dr. Tim Ziengenfuss demonstrated that a fast curl increases biceps activation twice as much as brachialis activation, while a slow rep will have the opposite activation pattern. 


The Big Kahuna of Insider Contrast Training

This is my favorite variation of the IC method, because it can develop power, strength, and size all at the same time. You do 2 reps with 85-90% of you max, 3 explosive reps with 60%, and slow reps to failure with the same 60%.

An example would be: 

Bench Press (max 400 pounds)

Rep 1: 360, maximum effort rep
Rep 2: 360, maximum effort rep   

Quickly unload the bar to 240 pounds . . . 

Rep 3: 240, dynamic effort rep
Rep 4: 240, dynamic effort rep
Rep 5: 240, dynamic effort rep

then 240 to failure with a slow tempo reps (313)

This method is very effective for individuals wanting to add size, strength, and power at the same time. With this method 3-5 sets per exercise should be used. 


The Painful Extended Version

This  variation of the IC method is truly an example of masochism! It is a great shock method to stimulate your body out of a plateau, but it should only be used infrequently because it's so hard on the body.

The progression is: 

2 reps at 85-90%, 3 explosive reps at 60%, slow (313) reps to failure at the same 60%, 3 explosive reps at 30%, slow reps to failure at 30%, static hold (sticking point) with the same 30%.

A set could look like this: 

Bench Press (max 400 pounds) 

Rep 1: 360, maximum effort rep
Rep 2: 360, maximum effort rep

Quickly unload the bar to 240 pounds . . . 

Rep 3: 240, dynamic effort rep
Rep 4: 240, dynamic effort rep
Rep 5: 240, dynamic effort rep

Reps 6-12: 240, slow tempo (313) reps to failure

Quickly unload the bar to 120 pounds . . . 

Rep 13: 120, dynamic effort rep
Rep 14: 120, dynamic effort rep
Rep 15: 120, dynamic effort rep

Reps 16-20: slow tempo (313) reps to failure

Rep 21: 120, static hold at your sticking point. 

Obviously the number of reps may change depending on where you reach failure. 

This is a very intense method, one that should be used with care. Only 1-2 such sets are to be performed per exercise. The advantage of this method compared to the Big Kahuna variation is that it will develop a little more muscle mass, strength-endurance, and power-endurance.


The Lazy Man's Insider Contrast Training

This variation is less painful but can provide a very powerful growth stimulus. I recommend this method as an introduction to insider contrast training as it's easier to handle at first. You will still be able to develop good strength, size, and power with this method.

A typical set looks like this: 2 reps at 80%, 2 explosive reps at 50%, 2 reps at 80%, and 2 explosive reps at 50%.

A set could look like this: 

Bench Press (max 400 pounds)

Rep 1: 320, moderate tempo (301)
Rep 2: 320, moderate tempo (301) 

Quickly unload the bar to 200 pounds . . . 

Rep 3: 200, dynamic effort rep
Rep 4: 200, dynamic effort rep

Quickly load the bar to 320 . . . 

Rep 5: 320, moderate tempo (301)
Rep 6: 320, moderate tempo (301) 

Quickly unload the bar to 200 . . . 

Rep 7: 200, dynamic effort rep
Rep 8: 200, dynamic effort rep.

This form of IC training can easily be used for 3-5 sets. It is a good introduction to IC training and can provide for a very pleasing workout. For people simply interested in gaining a bit more strength, size, and power this is certainly the best choice.


Can I Periodize This Approach? 

Yes! A very good training cycle would look like this: 

Week 1: The Lazy Man's insider contrast training (moderate difficulty) for 4 sets of 4 exercises per session.

Week 2: The Big Kahuna extended variation) very high difficulty) for 3 sets of 4 exercises per session.

Week 3: The Painful extended variation (very high difficulty) for 2 sets of 3 exercises per session.

Week 4: Regular training/no insider contrast (low difficulty) for 2 sets of 10 reps for 4 exercises per session.

This is a typical progressive loading/unloading approach that has stood the test of time. It also provides great training variety and LOTS OF PAIN!    


























  

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