top of page
  • thefactory303

Developing Power with French Contrast Training

French Contrast Training (FCT) has been a staple in our programming since day 1. Whether we’re training a group of 9 year olds, or a professional athlete, we use it almost daily.  

Initially developed by French Track & Field Coach, Giles Cometti; FCT is wildly popular in collegiate weight rooms and sports performance gyms across the country. 

FCT training blocks are built around the concept of combining a strength movement immediately followed by a lighter more explosive movement in the same anatomical plane. For example, this could be a back squat or deadlift followed by squat jump or box jump; or a bench press followed by an explosive med ball push-pass.  Image below: Ryder Smith, lineman from Bates university commit, working a contrast set to improve his blocking power.

Post Activation Potentiation (PAP).  PAP refers to the acute excitement of the neuromuscular system which follows a strength training movement.   Once those neuromuscular pathways and motor units are all firing an athlete can move to a sport specific movement and in theory -overcome plateaus and break their personal records.  The key here is knowing the difference between exciting the central nervous system and fatiguing it.  

Check out this Instagram Video showing how we incorporate PAP for baseball

Great for youth and undeveloped athletes.  Most younger athletes have muscles they don’t use.  FCT forces younger/undeveloped athletes to activate these muscle groups before moving in to a more sport specific exercise.  Then hopefully that muscle memory eventually carries over to competition/games. 

Power production. Power = Force x velocity - that’s all most sports are.  Training for power output is wildly underrated when talking about athletic metrics.  There’s a tradeoff when training for absolute strength, you give up speed; and if athletes focus too much on speed they give up the strength they desperately need to compete at the highest levels. 

Balancing the force velocity curve by time of year.  For athletes looking to bulk and gain weight during the off season, using FCT we can maintain power and explosiveness by peppering in some contrast work.  On the flip side, as athletes move towards in-season or who are training in-season, we can tip the scale to speed-strength.  Below shows the Force Velocity Curve, we move further down the X axis as athletes move towards their season and in season.

Elasticity.  Elasticity is the ability and speed of which our muscles &  joints can rhythmically expand and contract.  Anecdotal evidence from training hundreds of athletes has shown us that training for elasticity is more effective when muscles are in the post activation phase.  Below: Jack Perotti, Nevada Baseball commit performing a band assisted jumps after a heavy deadlift. 

Perfect for The Conjugate Method. 

We use a training system called the Conjugate Method that was made popular by Westside Barbell, the industry leader of the Power Lifting community.   Before the Conjugate Method most athletic training programs were linear in nature.  Increase Muscle Mass, get strong, then focus on speed.   With Conjugate, athletes train to improve everything simultaneously.  Our job is to meet each athlete where they are and know when to bias each input based on their goals and time of year.  This is why you’ll see some form FCT in The Factory year around.  

59 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page