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The Workout to Help You Lift Heavier Weights with Ease and Speed

Build quick, explosive strength with this contrast training routine.

Editor's Note: Each Monday of the 2015-2016 football season, MEN'S FITNESS will present a workout (scalable for any fitness level) designed to burn off all the beer and pizza you probably devoured on Sunday while watching all that football. (Props if you ate healthy, though!) You can also do the routine before Monday night's big game as a preemptive measure.

Previous workouts: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 13 | Week 14 | Week 15

The final Monday Night showdown of the 2015 NFL season will be  an AFC matchup between the Denver Broncos and the Cincinnati Bengals—and it is sure to be pivotal for both teams.  While the Bengals (11-3) will look to maintain a high playoff berth and earn a bye week during the Wild Card round of the playoffs, The Broncos (10-4) will be fighitng to lock up their division with the Kansas City Chiefs breathing right down their neck.  The Bengals are coming off of an easy win against the San Fransisco 49ers, while Brock Osweiler and the Broncos offense have struggled with second half collapses in their previous two games.  We'll see which team carries the most momentum heading into Monday night.  

In this workout series, we've covered every type of training from endurance to functionality to speed and agility.  But now we think it's time that we showed you something about the bread and butter of football's physical dimensions: quick, explosive strength—a quality all NFL lineman possess.

To get you training like a lineman, we're going to introduce you to a workout involving "contrast training"—provided by Luke Pelton, C.S.C.S. NSCA-C.P.T.—that combines max-effort movements (like squatting and pressing) with explosive plyometrics (like box jumps).  

According to Pelton, this type of training will increase post-activation potentiation (PAP), which enhances motor unit recruitment and the rate of force development over time. To clear out all the sciencey mumbo-jumbo, it allows your body to move heavy weights faster and more efficiently. This explains how linemen can move another 300-pound human being with ease! 

Instructions: Complete each pairing in alternating sets (the first set of bench is followed by a set of push-ups, so on and so forth until all sets are complete).  Once both pairings are complete, move on to the accessory movements below to finish your workout.  Pelton says, "the key is explosiveness—you should be moving your body through space as quickly as possible without sacrificing form or technique."  

Pairing 1: 

Barbell Bench Press: 3 sets x 3 reps at a heavy weight (at least 80% of your known one-rep max)
Plyometric Push-Up: 3 sets x 5 reps

Trainer's Note: Plyometric push-up variations may be performed as a clapping push-up or simply performing the movement so that your hands come off the ground.

Pairing 2:

Barbell Back Squat: 3 sets of 3 reps at a heavy weight (at least 80% of your known one-rep max)
Bodyweight Vertical Jump: 3 sets of 5 reps

Trainer's Note: When doing any sort of jump, please be mindful or your surroundings and make sure to incorporate proper soft landings. 

Accessory Work:

Seated Cable Row: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
Weighted Plank: 3 rounds of 30-45 seconds each

Trainer's Note: For future training, you can choose any exercise pairing that has a heavy and explosive variation; a barbell overhead press could be paired with a push press, deadlifts with kettlebell swings…the sky is the limit!

Luke Pelton, C.S.C.S., NSCA-C.P.T., is an adjunct instructor at Hofstra Univeristy and Head Coach of Hofstra's Powerlifting Team.  

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