If you like it, please give him a shout out in the comments as I have given him a few topics to write on for everyone!!!!!
As an aspiring Strength & Conditioning Coach I have been asked a lot of questions from clients, friends and family regarding training. When I get asked a question that I may not have the answer to, I research the topic and read related books to expand my knowledge. As a result, I have learned the most from reading outside of college course requirements. Now I do not claim to be an expert, nor will I ever feel that way, because knowledge is something you build upon as you progress through life. As a recent graduate, the journey has just begun and taking the opportunity to learn from great coaches in the field is the best thing you can do to become better at what you do.
One question that I get asked constantly is how to incorporate speed and explosiveness into a program to aid in performance. This is a question that I have seen across the board over various forums and coaching sites. Since this is such a common question, I would like to take this opportunity to share a technique that has been implemented into training regimens with great success as a medium for providing strength, explosiveness and speed.
Breaking down PAP
I believe this is such a popular topic for two reasons: 1) People associate speed with running and the fatigue that comes along with it, therefore avoiding it all together; 2) and we tend to focus on one element of training (strength, power, hypertrophy, speed, etc.), which is not very effective for an athlete or for time management purposes.
Fortunately, there is a method used to aid in explosive strength and speed-strength that about anyone can incorporate into their regimen. The answer is through a phenomenon known as Postactivation potentiation or PAP. PAP is defined as, “an acute aftereffect of enhanced muscle force output of explosive movements after a heavy resistance exercise” (Robbins 2005). The PAP response can be seen in the theory of “complex training,” which incorporates a maximal contraction exercise such as a squat, followed by a plyometric exercise such as a depth jump. This type of training sequence elevates central nervous system (CNS) excitability, which in turn results in greater motor unit recruitment and force output.
Fiber Type and Performance
While the heavy resistance exercise excites the CNS, the explosive movement recruits fast-twitch muscle fibers. More specifically, Type IIb muscle fibers that are responsible for producing quick, explosive bursts of speed. Exercises that develop the Type IIb fibers are:
-Speed-strength exercises such as: Explosive Bulgarian Split Squat Jumps, Loaded Squat Jumps, Med Ball Twisting reverse lunge to high knee, etc.
-Plyometric exercises such as: Bounding, High Knees, Box Jacks, etc.
Now many athletes incorporate some type of plyometric exercise into their training regimen, but never think to implement a traditional strength exercise with an explosive plyometric exercise. Pairing training elements together, allow athletes to increase their work capacity and allow for more activity during a single lifting session. By combining similar activities, athletes may become more proficient as well if the lift is more sport-specific. Here are some exercises that demonstrate the PAP response:
-Squat to Squat Jumps
-Squat to Box Jump or Hurdle Hop
-Skater Squat to Bounding
-Hip Thrust to Broad Jump
-Bench press/Push-up to Plyometric Push-up
-Bench press/Push-up to Med ball chest pass or quick wall pass
-Bench press/Push-up to Tire battling
Things to Consider
- A proper dynamic warm-up w/plyo work could also enhance muscle contractility
- PAP protocol should not be used in a fatigued state or till failure (listen to your body)
- To reiterate the previous statement: Following a high-volume maximal contraction, you would want to wait several minutes before performing the explosive activity. Following a low-volume maximal contraction you would want to perform the explosive activity immediately following the set (Tillins 2009).
- Look at overall volume and intensity of training regimen before adding anything new
- Most research that I have come across demonstrates the benefit of PAP before a single action, such as a max vertical test. This could also carry over to other single action events.
- Try to be specific to your sport!
Example workout incorporating PAP:
1a) Squat 5 x 2
Rest 30 – 60 seconds
1b) Vertical Jump 5 x 2
1a) Bench Press 5 x 3
Rest 30 – 60 seconds
1b) Explosive Push-up 5 x 3
We have been testing this concept with athletes at Synergy Athletics and it 100% works. I wrote about it first back with my free bonus on increasing bench press reps (maybe I’ll bring that back for the newsletter subscribers soon. HINT: Subscribe!)
UPDATED PAP VIDEO
**The video shows the PAP with 15 seconds rest between sets.**
Jeremy and I will have a video of this phenomenon in practice up in a few weeks, along with testing numbers on a number of our athletes.
The first athlete we used it on, we paired squat with vertical jump. Mike tested his vertical jump at 24.6 inches and 24.2 inches in a two jump test. After the first set he logged 26.8 and 26.8. The 3rd set yielded 28.7 and 27.9. This is just a sampling on one athlete, but like I said, this article is long enough and we will get more up shortly if you are interested!
- Joe Hashey, CSCS
PS. Round two of the conditioning challenge should be up tomorrow night!
PPS. Check out Bull Strength by clicking the image below!
Baechle, T, and R Earle. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (NSCA). 3rd ed. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2008.
Robbins, D.W. (2005). Postactivation potentiation and its practical applicability: a brief review. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 19(2), 453-458.
Tillin, N and D Bishop. (2009). Factors modulating post-activation potentiation and its effect on performance on subsequent explosive activities. Journal of Sports Medicine, 39(2), 147-66.
Verkhoshansky, Y. (1986). Fundamentals of Special Strength Training in Sport . Livonia, MI: Sportivny Press. (Original work published in 1977, Moscow, Russia: Fizkultura i Spovt) Translate by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
Zatsiorsky, V.M. Science and Practice of Strength Training. 2nd ed. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2006.
…And a quick shout out to my boy JR. Joyner at Triumph Athletics also for writing an article including PAP recently.