5 Training Concepts We Leverage at P360
It’s no secret that rely on the big scientific principles to drive progress for our members.
- Specificity Principle — If you want to get better at something, you need to do it in a structured way.
- Progressive Overload — If you want to see results, you need to methodically increase the level of challenge.
Those are layups, the fabric of our training DNA, but within that framework we have a few concepts that we lean heavily, as well.
What is now commonly referred to as plyometrics started out in Russia as training for Olympic athletes during the Cold War era by a different name: shock method. The idea being behind plyometrics is that we increase strength through the explosive release of elastic energy, stored in the connective tissue during eccentric muscle contraction and released on the concentric portion. In other words we lower down, store energy on the descent, and explode up precisely like a slingshot. A rapid muscle lengthening phase followed by an explosive muscle shortening phase (contraction).
Performed correctly, and plyometrics are an effective way to apply maximum force and muscle power in movements like squat jumps and plyo pushups. It’s a highly effective way to add load without having equipment, so for those of you who think you don’t have any equipment, you do: Your body + plyometrics + gravity = weighted resistance.
Some days we might see plyometrics as a strength movement for maximal force and power, other days we may see low level impact movements in a conditioning format. Both have their place when technique and force application is prioritized.
Isometrics are held positions of maximal muscle contraction for an extended period of time like a plank, squat or push-up hold, while keeping our joint angles constant. A traditional biphasic movement like a squat has an up (concentric) and a down (eccentric), and each of those have different agonist and antagonist muscles that are each working a little more than the other in their respective phases. For example, in a bicep curl your agonist is the biceps (more of the work) and the antagonist is your triceps (some of the work). However, in isometric movements there are no traditional agonist/antagonist because everything is turned on at all times, peak tension, and working at nearly 100% of their capacity if performed correctly. This is why isometric contractions produce greater muscle activation than both the eccentric and concentric portions of a movement.
Isometric pauses at various sticking points of movements are a very effective way to get past those areas of weakness. The last few inches of a push-up, the first few inches out of the hole on a squat, etc. Because movement of the joints are not permitted, the constant state of muscle tension requires an energy expenditure that stimulates enough adaptation in our neuromuscular system to not only support strength, but develop it.
3. Unilateral, Contralateral, and Ipsilateral Training
Unilateral, as in single leg or arm (i.e lunges). Contralateral, as in your opposite arm working with your opposite leg (i.e. deadbugs). Ipsilateral, as in your same arm working with your same leg (i.e. an RDL where you are holding the DB in the same arm as your working leg).
The P360 program design features many movements that force us to train single and isolated parts of our body in this manner and they are beneficial because of the varying stability adaptation they create. Stability is a non-negotiable skill when it comes to getting strong and fit, and to stay healthy under the barbell for years to come. Contralateral and ipsilateral movements force us to stabilize in a much greater level than bilateral movements like squats because only one side is working, and since everything must have an equal or opposite reaction, the force on the stabilizing side is just as significant as the force on the working side. The result of this kind of stability training is an improved ability to maintain good form on the bilateral movements when we return to them. Greater form not only means improved safety, but improved gains.
You like gains, don’t you?
Additionally, there is a sneaky benefit when it comes to building and maintaining muscle. While bilateral movements unquestionably develop greater total loading ability which yield greater strength gains, it is actually unilateral work generally allows for greater ranges of motion and thus, potentially improved muscle activation.
4. Unfamiliar Loading
Unfamiliar loading is simply a loading pattern we’re not used to. As we will harp on anyone who will listen to us, it’s why we don’t and never will believe that all one should do are the big barbell movements. The reason is simple. We adapt. They aren’t hard for our body to do from a movement perspective, so if we want our strength, coordination, and abilities to continue to develop in a well rounded way, we need to ask our body to load things in position we aren’t used to. It’s also important to remember that our own body weight is in fact load, and getting it into trickier angles for movement and isometric holding is a beneficial way to keep our neuromuscular system adapting and getting stronger.
Half rack kettlebell positions, heavy single arm lifts, various positional carries, etc.
5. High Volume Sets
When we train strength, we are interested in applying as much force as possible. This could be on a low rep (1-5R) barbell lift, a plyometric jump, or an explosive DB snatch. However, low rep-high force movements while great at developing strength, lack a certain stimulus that high rep lifts provide. Which is why in many programmed days, we see a consistent approach at 10 reps or more, so we’re going to drive a lot of adaptation in our muscles through the metabolic stress mechanism. This is the stand alone principle on Friday BUILD days, and also why so many of our M/W STRENGTH days give you the effort for a higher rep approach.
We love good volume (8-12R quality lifts at challenging load).
We hate shitty volume (high rep, light weight, performed with no intent).
The time tested scientifically proven principles will always drive our program design, not trends and fads, and these are five implements that we use on the regular to keep you on the upward trend.