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French Contrast Training

At Made 2 Move Charleston, we love exploring and learning about the different types of training our patients and community are doing. One such training method that the Made 2 Move team has been curious about lately is French Contrast training or FCT. Below we will delve into all the nitty gritty details of this interesting training style.

What is French Contrast Training (FCT)?

French contrast training is a method of training that utilizes 4 exercises combined in a superset with 20 seconds rest between each exercise. 3-5 sets are typically performed, with 2-5 minutes rest between sets.

While this sounds like your typical circuit style workout, the FCT method differs from a traditional circuit style workout because each of the four exercises is not randomly chosen, but is specific in its goal. It is not just 4 exercises to get your heart rate up and get you as sweaty as possible. Instead, each movement is preparing you for the next movement. In the words of Joel Smith, MS, CSCS is a NCAA Division I Strength Coach, “French Contrast is two ‘waves’ of potentiation-based training, all rolled into one big complex set.”

The 4 exercises that make up a French Contrast Training circuit are outlined below:

  1. Heavy Strength

The strength movement serves as a primer to make the following plyometric movement as explosive as possible. This strength movement can be a partial range lift or an isometric contraction and should be heavy, but not so heavy that the athlete is too fatigued to be explosive in the subsequent plyo move. Doing partial range or isometric lifts for the strength movement can avoid fatiguing the athlete, as well as keep the athlete in a more sport specific position. In regards to maximal isometric contractions, studies examining bat velocity in softball players have shown increased velocities when primed with an isometric contraction.