T Nation

Omni-Contraction for Non-Athletes


I appreciate the need for an athlete to be strong in the three major types of contractions by the arguments you outline in your post “Back To My Roots Part 1 - Train all contraction types” but how come it applies equally well to the needs of those that are more concerned with body composition and hypertrophy?

Hope you and yours get to stay safe and healthy during these times.

It is not as important. BUT there are benefits to emphasizing all three types of contractions.

The first one is simply the novelty of stimulus. Emphasizing the eccentric or isometric presents a different stress on the muscles which can help someone get “unstuck” when it comes to gaining size.

This is mostly true if someone has been training the same way for a long time. The body becomes really adapted to the motor task and as such there is no real need to further adapt. This is even more true when someone has reached a point where it’s hard to gradually add more weight to the bar. If you are adapted to the type of motor task and stress you are putting on your body and can no longer easily add weight to the bar, you can only change the type of stress or increase its magnitude (volume or frequency) if you want to progress.

Each type of contraction also has side benefits that might not be directly related to hypertrophy, but can help. For example eccentric actions will strengthen tendons and the part of the muscle closer to the tendons more than concentric actions. This can help reduce the risk of injury. It’s easier to train hard and grow if you are not injured.

Isometrics increase synergistic activation and stability. This also make you less likely to get injured while training. But by improving active stability you also improve performance. If you improve performance you can lift more weight which helps trigger more growth.

There are just a few examples. While you don’t have to put the same emphasis on the 3 types of contractions as an athlete, training them to some extent will certainly be benefitical.

I do use a different model for “pure hypertrophy work”. I’m coming out with new programs soon that illustrate that difference.


¨That’ll be interesting to read. Thank you coach!

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Well the basic guidelines are:

  1. Use a more typical bodybuilding split (I like chest/biceps, quads/hams, back/triceps, delts/rear delts)

  2. Use antagonistic pairings (A1/A2, B1/B2, C1\C2)

  3. The A series uses the main type of contraction for that phase, the B series the secondary type of contraction and the C series the tertiary type.

  4. The main contraction type changes every block (3-4 weeks)

For example:

A = Isometric
B = Eccentric
C = Concentric

A = Eccentric
B = Concentric
C = Isometric

A = Concentric
B = Isometric
C = Eccentric


Thank you for the sneak-peak!

I was wondering,

Do you use omni-contraction with your athletes straight away, even those straddling a begginer-intermediate level of strength, or bring up their baseline strength to a certain level first? The athletes you’ve been posting videos of lately all rank strong in my book.


Yes, I still use the system. But the method will differ and so will the loading schemes.

We will obviously not use eccentric overloads for example. But slow eccentrics and paused lifting can be used.

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As a meta-curiosity: do you feel that omni-contraction is a progression of your layer system, or the other way around? I know “Theory and Application of Modern Strength and Power Methods” pre-dates the layer system by almost a decade and it seems in-spirit more similar to omni-contraction.

I forgot to ask, with regards to

you’d still want to try and remain a high degree of frequency. To express my thinking as succinctly as possible: emulate Yates, whom despite having a 4-day split managed to hit regions three times per week.

The Omni Contraction is the system I’ve used with athletes for 20 years.In “Theory and Application”, the system I present was the first version. of the Omni Contraction system. That was published close to 20 years ago too.