Contrast Training – Lower Body Day

“With athletes, contrast training builds strength and power simultaneously. For non-athletes, it’s a great way to tap into high-threshold motor units for hypertrophy, or to boost the metabolism to improve body composition. And while you’re accomplishing those objectives, you’re also changing up your workout in a way that’s fun and challenging.” –Nick Tumminello


As my new program unfolds, Nick, Mark and I have focused on Contrast Training for lower body workouts. The above quote is an excerpt from Nick’s article on Contrast Training which can be found on T-Nation. What I love about contrast training is feeling both strong and athletic in my training session.


A word about contrast training:

  • “Start with a set of heavy lifts, five to 10 reps, and then follow it immediately with an unloaded, explosive exercise using the same movement pattern and the same reps.”
  • “The key to contrast training is post-activation potentiation, or PAP. That is, the explosive capability of a muscle is enhanced after it’s been forced to perform maximal or near-maximal contractions.”
  • “To keep it simple, your nervous system supercharges itself by throwing more motor units — muscle fibers and the nerves that activate them — into the job, and by taking off the brakes that would ordinarily inhibit an expression of all-out power.”


If you’d like to read more about Contrast Training, check out Nick’s article here. He provides a thorough explanation of contrast training plus suggested paired exercises. Again, a great way to increase strength and athletic performance…also known as bigger, faster, stronger. 🙂


The following is our first pair of exercises that we complete on our current lower body training days.

  • Trap Bar Deadlift (4 sets of 8 reps) immediately followed by explosive box jumps (4 sets of 6 reps)



Check back soon as I will give you the next part of this contrast training workout 🙂


8 responses to “Contrast Training – Lower Body Day

  1. Holy smokes! I can barely even jump up 2 feet! How tall is that thing? You rock!

  2. Wow, ditto what April said. That is one tall box! You’re awesome!

    Question – (this may be outlined in Nick’s article which I’m looking forward to reading later) are deadlifts and box jumps done as supersets – 1 set of deadlifts immediately followed by one set of box jumps or are these straight sets – complete all 4 sets of deads then go into the 4 sets of box jumps?

    One more question if I may – what does your pre workout meal look like? I would imagine you’d have to have something substantial in order to have the energy and power to go all out like that.

    Thanks for you time!

    • Hey, thank you both for writing!

      Alexandra, great questions. Answers are:

      1. The deadlifts and box jumps are done as a superset. So – 1 set of deadlifts immediately followed by 1 set of box jumps – repeat 4 rounds 🙂

      2. Preworkout meal could depend on whether or not I was on a competition diet. If I was, I would carb cycle and so I may or may not have a substantial amount of carbs in me… HOWEVER, I am not on a competition diet at the moment, just a very clean diet and so that morning I had the following breakfast:

      –one half granny smith apple chopped into small pieces. Added cinnamon to apples in a bowl. Microwaved for 30-45 sec to get the apples soft.
      — add into bowl 1/3 cup dry oat bran, 1 cup water, microwave 2 minutes (or until oat bran is cooked)
      –stir, add in 1 scoop vanilla protein powder

      Delicious power meal.
      335 Calories
      29 grams protein
      4 grams fat
      44 grams carbs

  3. Hi and thanks for posting such useful information. I am really interested in the idea of contrast training and I had a little go at the gym last night – squats and box jumps 🙂 Can I ask, what would you do as contrast training for back and chest? Would would the explosive move be?

    Thanks in advance. Nicky

    • Hey Nicky, thanks!! Glad you gave it a try and liked it! I find a lot of people like the mix of feeling both strong and explosive.

      We have some great pairs for chest and back and I will use your request and post over the next few days. I hope that is helpful …stay tuned the answers are coming soon!

      🙂 Alli

    • Hi Nicky,

      I haven’t gotten to the Contrast Training chest and back posts as soon as I thought. The videos are however on YouTube and ready to be posted in the next few days. If you are eager to check them out and move forward with contrast training for upper body, check out Alli McKee on You Tube…they are up!!

      Best in health and training, Alli

  4. Thank you! 🙂

  5. wow, very impressive. I’m off to train legs, I’m pumped, gonna give it a go. My goal is to jump as high as you!

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