I believe there is a time and place for everything and some of the French Contrast videos are borderline. I was alerted to the incubated virus of let’s do cool stuff and people are getting out of control. I was first introduced to Cometti in 1997 in Tampa, when I saw the freaky videos of Werner Gunthor on VHS tape. I uploaded the video five years ago just to help keep some of the content from dying off by the new DVDs and youtube stuff. I have three interns asking about contrast and complex training, sparking my gut that it looks like another trend is going our way so I wanted find out what is hip. When I showed Gunthor’s training, my purpose was to show athletic movement with a guy who is 285 and lean. I wanted football strength coaches to rethink the lineman bodytypes and get back to perhaps 315 pound guys with better power to weight ratios. Like most pitfalls, everyone looked at the exercises to copy the method and failed to see how the exercises are performed. When I asked the interns for definitions of complex and contrast methods and research, I got a blank stare. Yes we have work to do.
So how important is Complex and Contrast training? With weightlifting being very minimal to many speed events, one could argue that world records were set without it, so it’s not vital. I agree to that, but many athletes of lesser talents need ways to push the envelope to the nervous system without adding more joint stress, so it can help the more elite athletes who hit a genetic ceiling. So let’s say an athlete improves 1% in one year after doing 9 months of training. Let’s say 1/2 of training is weight training and plyos ( generous) . So 0.5 percent is coming from weight training. How much is contrast training worth in weight training? 10%? So ten percent of .5 is .05% of results. I do have the little things up to the spectacular, but the basics sometimes wash the cool stuff. What about loosing a few pounds and giving up the Five Guys and Fries? I added 2.5 kilos to an athlete and his fly time slowed by over 1 percent to explain that little tricks are sometimes just little results. Long sequences of paired exercises have two considerations. First does the length create fatigue or drop in power? If so why are we training for this? Power endurance is vastly overrated since most athletes need more tomatoes in their ketchup, not more tomato juice. Second is the individuality of exercises, while I am a firm promotion man of designed program for each athlete, exercises must be selected carefully based on the needs of athlete athlete, not because the russian textbook says do depth jumps after isoextremes, or do shock work before squats. Research shows it works, but remember the key is the cumulative effect of training, not one fraction of a session. Finally are the athletes good at all the exercises? With people that look like garbage squatting normally, do we really need to put them in a fatigued environment with faulty technique? So much to think about but let’s calm down and not try to be cute. Before we copy stuff or push stuff from textbooks (I have all of Giles stuff) make sure we have years of experience doing it before we start hyping things.