Thursday, 21 March 2013

Pulling Power

It's getting towards the end of the month and time to start thinking about tweaks to my program for April.
For my legs I'm changing the French Contrast to focus on explosive power and increased velocity, this will involve lighter loads, faster movements and slightly modified exercises - more on this in a future blog post.

I am now looking to increase my explosive upper body pulling power, this prompted a discussion with Will Wayland ( about possibly using French Contrast for upper body pulling.

The French Contrast method is best used to increase ballistic power, so it lends itself to jumping or pressing very well.
But upper body pulls tend not to be ballistic or explosive. However I do want to develop explosive ballistic power in my upper body pulls. This power will make muscle ups and Parkour climb ups easier to perform.

The discussion then moved onto how it could be achieved by varying the exercises slightly so as not to completed destroy yourself. Will was of the opinion that weighted pulls ups and variations thereof would be a good start but was concerned that a lack of variation would fatigue the upper body. I wanted to take a slightly different approach and look at using barbell bent over row and kettlebell bent over row in addition to pull up variations to avoid excessive fatigue by just using one exercise.
After some further discussion and different ideas on exercises and contrasts, we settled on what we both think will be an efficient French Contrast method for building upper body pulling power, specifically with regard to the muscle up.

As much as I don't want to turn into a 'one trick pony' the increased power in my legs is phenomenal, so I am going to try French Contrast for upper body pulling during the month of April.

One session per week will be as follows.
3 sets of the following French Contrast circuit:
3x Weighted (high) pull up, 14.5kg
5x fast medicine ball slams (driven by lats)
3x Resistance band speed row
5x band assisted muscle up (on bar)
With 2-3 minutes recovery between sets

Each of the pulling exercises pull will involve taking the elbows back as far as possible, the pull ups will all be chest above bar (I hope)

After this circuit I'll then perform these additional exercises:
3 sets of 10reps 2x 20kg kettlebell bent over row
3 sets of 5reps Bulgarian dips on rings (must not forget top phase of the muscle up)
3 sets of 6 band pull/push (featured in this video)
3x 30 second static hold, chest to bar (top of pull up)
3 sets of 6reps 70kg Barbell overhead press 

That should be enough to blitz my upper body and increase ballistic pulling power.
I'll keep you posted on how it's going.

This is purely me experimenting on myself to see how it works out.
If you want to try it yourself please let me know how you get on

Barbell bent over row can wait until next month

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