TriCon Explained

What is a TriCon set? A TriCon set utilizes all 3 contraction types. TriCon stands for Triple Contraction…

Your muscles contract in three different ways: Eccentric, Concentric, and Isometric…

Eccentric means lengthening, or stretching the muscle. The negative is a more common term. Using a bench press as an example the eccentric phase is lowering the weight toward the chest. You are stretching the chest as you get lower.

Concentric means to shorten the muscle. Using the same bench press example, the muscle is shortest at the top of the movement. In a full rep of a bench press exercise you will lower the bar towards the chest (eccentric) and then you will push the bar away from the chest (concentric)…

One more example to help further clarify… When you’re doing a bicep curl…You are starting out in eccentric phase (arms are straight; therefore, the biceps are lengthened) and when you start to bring the weight up you begin the concentric phase. The bicep is shortest at the top of the curl.

The third contraction is an isometric contraction…An isometric contraction is a contraction that takes place without lengthening (eccentric) or shortening (concentric) the muscle. In the same bench press example, if you take the bar and pause at the midrange of the movement and hold the bar for a few seconds without moving eccentrically or concentrically, you will be in an isometric hold. Your muscles are still contracting but they aren’t lengthening or shortening.

Constructing a TriCon set: TC3

TC3 is a standard TriCon set.. The number 3 stands for the number of isometric holds you will perform within a set. NOTE: For every isometric hold you perform you will do the same amount of explosive reps before the holds, and slow reps after the holds. It will look like this: 9 Total reps…3 explosive reps, 3 static holds, 3 slow reps…This is one set of a TC3.

Example, bench press: Start with the explosive reps (CNS stimulator)…Lower the bar in a controlled manner (3 second eccentric) then explode the rep back to the starting position (1 second concentric)…Now after the 3rd rep you’ll lower the bar to the midrange position and hold it for 10 seconds… after your 10 second hold you’ll lower the weight (eccentric) to the stretched position and then raise back to the midrange for another hold! You will do this for 3 holds of 10 seconds each. After you complete your 3rd hold you’ll do your final 3 full range of motion reps in a slow and controlled manner…(3-4 second eccentric and a 3-4 second concentric for each rep) Burn, Burn, Burn!! You will definitely feel your muscles working!

Two final points I want to make regarding the TriCon sets:

First, is the 10 second hold…I tested several different variations over the years and I found the sweet spot to be within 8 to 12 seconds…Every person counts at a different pace so make sure you’re shooting for 10 seconds and I know you’ll be somewhere in the 8 to 12 second range.

The second point and this is an important one…When you are in your isometric contraction (hold) you need to contract the muscle as hard as possible! Don’t just zone out and hold the weight waiting for your 10 seconds to be up. This is where you need to work on developing a strong mind- muscle connection.

Using the bench press as an example again; when you are in your isometric contracted position try to force your hands together. Imagine the bar is broken in the middle and has a 25-pound plate around the broken spot, if the bar comes apart the plate will fall on your face! Squeeze the crap out of the bar to keep the plate from falling through…Hope this explanation helps because the harder you’re able to contract the muscle you’re working the better your results will be…

One more mind- muscle example using your lower body…During the isometric hold on a leg press…When you are in your isometrically contracted position, try as hard as you can to separate the foot platform in the middle. Push your feet out against the foot plate with as much force as possible and this will allow you to maximize your muscle contraction and reap tremendous benefits.

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