February 20, 2012 by Mike Westerdal
Filed under Articles, Recent Posts, Reviews, Sports Training & Performance, Sports Training Reviews, Strength Training, Strength Training Reviews, Training, Workout Reviews
Total Xplosive Training is a training technique developed Chris Barnard, a strength and conditioning coach out of Florida. He is pursuing his Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology and Kinesiology at the University of Miami.
He also heads up Strength Camp, an athlete training facility in St. Petersburg Florida. Through his years as a trainer Chris has helped athletes from all sorts of different sports achieve their highest levels of performance. Total Xplosive Training (TXT) chronicles his body of knowledge and experience transforming ‘weaklings’ into ‘athletic beasts.’ Chris says that he designed TXT to complement a training routine, not as a stand-alone program.
As the name implies, TXT is all about explosive training. The TXT program was designed to amplify your current skills and enable you to perform faster, harder and with greater efficiency. Any sport involving running, jumping, throwing, striking, hitting or whatever the case may be, can benefit from enhanced explosiveness. One nice aspect of the TXT approach is that it doesn’t require any fancy equipment or gym memberships.
Chris leads off with a brief overview of explosive training, why it’s important and its basic mechanical elements. For example, much like in any other lift, explosiveness is comprised of two phases—eccentric and concentric. There is a key difference though in that the eccentric (preload) phase is followed by the concentric phase (contraction phase), which is done as fast and forceful as possible, improving overall muscular power. In the following section Chris talks a little more in-depth about basic muscle physiology. In particular, he focuses on Type II muscle fibers (fast twitch), which are the ones primarily recruited during explosive training.
Modified neural adaptation is the underlying foundation of the TXT approach. Neural adaptation is a technique by which we strive to activate areas of our muscles that have never been used before. TXT is a bit different in that it really keeps the muscles guessing by switching focus just a muscle starts to adapt to a particular motion. According to Chris, this enables the muscle fibers to maintain the activation of the previous units, therefore increasing explosive strength. There are some other elements of TXT that Chris discusses in this section, such as the “rate coding mechanism.” No need to worry about it getting too technical though—his explanations are straightforward and to the point.
In the following section he starts getting into the actual TXT program, explaining how it is broken up into three, four-week phases. The phases include: Base; Developmental and Peak. Each of the phases builds on the previous one, allowing you to progressively improve your performance while maintaining your previous results. This approach is basically a combination of Russian Conjugated Periodization and Western Linear Periodization. The idea behind this concept is that your body progressively builds strength, speed and size, without ever hitting those nasty plateaus.
In the following section we learn about the three phases of the TXT program. The Base Phase is where you develop a strong foundation in major movements involved in most sports. In the Development Phase the focus shifts somewhat towards increasing strength while developing explosive power and coordination. The Peak Phase is where you push your body to its limits and shatter your personal records. By the time you get through this phase you’ll be at your game best, ready for any competition.
As it should, Chris’ TXT program strongly emphasizes rest and recovery throughout each of the phases and beyond. He provides a brief but effective explanation about how the body releases growth hormone while we are sleeping to stimulate muscle growth. To facilitate recovery, Chris recommends stretching and foam rolling on training days. The nutrition section that follows is well-done and tells you everything you need to know about the proper fuels your body needs to build muscle and explosive power. Individual sections covered include protein, carbs, fruits and veggies, as well growth-driving nutrients such as creatine and glutamine. He includes planning tools and a number of sample meal plans to help set you on the proper path.
The last section of the book is entitled “Methodics,” which is where Chris really gets to the heart of the TXT program, discussing the intricate roles of each method and why it is necessary for explosive training. The methodics of the program are basically a series of focused drills that are designed to build speed, agility, quickness and explosiveness. He wraps up the book by including a complete set of workout plans for each phase of the TXT program. Each exercise includes a link to a video that demonstrates proper technique, which reduces the likelihood that you’ll injure yourself.
Overall, I can say that Chris has developed a solid program that if followed as outlined in the book, will produce the desired results. If you are looking to change up your routine and dramatically increase your explosive power, you should try Total Xplosive Training for sure.