Volleyball Contrast Training – Increase Your Power Output
At the beginning of every off-season I would come up with a plan of how I am going to enter the next season being a more explosive athlete. I want to be able to hit harder and swing at angles that I never could before. To do this, I know that I need to increase my overall power output.
I would plan out my training phases that would lead me right up to pre-season. This would essentially be a blue print of how to become a more fast twitch, explosive athlete.
The first couple months I am laying down the foundation to my training. The focus is getting a lot stronger and improving any compensation patterns that was developed over the season.
Once I hit month three, I will have made some major strength improvements. By simply getting stronger relative to my body weight, my vertical goes up. I will already be touching a few inches higher.
However, If I want to continue improving at this rate I need to start ramping up the explosive movements in my training. Plyometric exercises, olympic lifts, and med ball tosses start to be strategically scattered into my program.
At the 3 month mark I start adding Contrast Training into some of my workouts. This is one of my favourite training schemes to increase my power output.
Contrast Training is pairing a strength focused exercise (heavy weight and low reps) with an explosive exercise. The two exercises need to focus on a similar movement pattern and engage the same muscle groups.
Here is video of one of my athletes giving you an example of contrast training:
Contrast training has been a very popular training tool for MMA fighters and boxers to increase their power output. Many of the skills in volleyball are very fast twitch explosive movements, much like throwing a punch or a kick. This is why contrast training is also an effective training tool for volleyball players to increase their vertical or to add some extra pace behind their attack.
WHAT IS THE SCIENCE BEHIND CONTRAST TRAINING?
When performing a strength focused exercise (heavy weight and low reps) your body needs to recruit the necessary number of muscle fibers in order to move the weight from point “A” to point “B”. If the load is greater, your body needs to recruit more muscle fibers.
After performing a strength focused exercise your muscle fibers are really charged up and are easily excited. This physiological effect is called Post Activation Potential.
This increased activation potential makes you feel more powerful when performing the explosive body weight exercise. This happens because your body is more efficiently able to activate your fast twitch muscle fibers after performing a strength exercise first.
According to scientist and Supertraining Author Yuri Verkhoshanksy, the effect of Post Activation Potential is like “lifting a half-can of water when you think it’s full.”
Just the other day I performed three heavy reps of back squats and immediately followed it up with 3 Hurdle Jumps. My body felt light as a feather. I felt like I was getting up super high and getting off the ground lightening fast.
You will find that after performing contrast training for a few weeks you will increase your power output that relates to the specific movement. The athlete in the video above wants to improve his vertical. The Trap Bar Deadlift very much mimics the loaded posture of a jump and also focuses on our major muscle groups that are required to jump powerfully (glutes, hamstrings, quads, etc..).
Contrast training is not for everyone. If you are new to training or have any major mobility restrictions, this type of training is not for you. However, if you are a healthy, strong athlete looking to add some inches to your jump or some pace behind your arm-swing adding this type of training a couple days a week can make a major difference.
Get instant access to our complete vertical education series for FREE Here is what you will receive:
Video 1- Learning to Land… Land softer and more efficiently SO THAT you will have less knee and ankle related injuries.
Video 2- Single Leg Jumping… Develop single leg strength and power SO THAT you will be more symmetrically balanced and driving more force into the ground.
Video 3- Multi-Directional Jumping… Jump more efficiently and in multiple directions SO THAT you can become a more athletic jumper.
Video 4- Neurological Training… Recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers SO THAT you can become a more powerful jumper.
Get instant access to our vertical education series by subscribing below. You will also join our emailing list where we give you regular free videos and blogs.