Welcome back to the Nitramine Blog! We’ve spent the last couple of sessions introducing you to the world of plyometrics and explaining the various types of plyometric exercises you can perform. Today, we’re going to continue to dig deeper into this world by discussing Post-Activation Potentiation, or PAP Training for short.
What is it and how do it relate to plyometrics? Hang on and as we dive into this unique training protocol that will take your fitness to new heights!
Post-Activation Potentiation (PAP) is a physiological principle that many weight training programs are starting to incorporate in an effort to build better athletes.
What is Post Activation Potentiation?
An individual performs a strength exercise (squat, bench press, deadlift, etc.) and supersets a plyometric variation of that exercise immediately following.
The key is that the plyometric must mimic the movement pattern of the strength exercise, i.e. if the individual performs a set of squats, he supersets it with box jumps, tuck jumps, etc.
Clinical studies have shown when a plyometric exercise is paired with a traditional resistance exercise where a neuromuscular threshold was crossed, there is an increase in neural impulses responsible for motor performance. This can lead to increased strength, power, and overall performance levels for the individual.[1,2]
Translation: PAP is a phenomenon where muscular performance is increased as a result of previous heavy contractions. This is of particular benefit to athletes who are constantly looking to push the envelope and give themselves an edge over the competition.
How PAP works
Post-activation potentiation primarily occurs in Type 2 muscle fibers, a.k.a. the “fast-twitch” muscle fibers. Therefore, this more advanced training technique is best suited to maximizing performance for more “explosive” types of activities such as sprinting, jumping, and throwing.
An additional benefit is that Type 2 muscle fibers also have the most potential for growth. So not only will you get stronger and more powerful, but you may also see some nice size gain as well!
There are two proposed theories as to how PAP actually works to improve performance. Without getting too bogged down in the science, the two theories differ on the actual mechanism that improves performance.
The first is based off of an increase in the calcium levels in the muscle. The increased calcium leads to greater force production at the structural level of the muscle due to the higher level of calcium available to generate stronger muscular contractions.
The second theory is based on something called the “H-reflex.” This refers to an excitation of spinal reflexes brought about by different muscle nerves. It’s proposed that PAP increases the H-reflex, thereby enhancing the rate and efficiency at which nerve impulses are transmitted to your skeletal muscles. Your nervous system then goes into overdrive and when you prepare to jump after your heavy weighted squat, you body is primed to jump higher than it could previously due to the enhanced operation of your CNS.
Whatever the real reason behind PAP working is a moot point as far as we’re concerned. We’re more interested in the benefits it lends to those training which is getting bigger, faster, stronger and more agile!
Let’s make things “Complex”…
You’ll often hear the terms “complex training” or “contrast training” made in regards to PAP training. Although there is some discrepancy between the two training methods, PAP forms the foundation of both types of training.
Complex training involves combining a traditional heavy weighted strength exercise with a similar plyometric or ballistic exercise aimed at transferring strength into power. Numerous studies have shown this particular modality of training to increase speed, power, agility and jumping power in athletes.[6,7]
Mimic the strength movement pattern
It’s important that the plyometric exercise mimic the movement pattern (biomechanics) of the strength exercise so you can effectively employ the protocols of PAP. Pairing a bench press with a jump squat won’t have the same effect as pairing a bench press with a plyometric pushup or medicine ball through. When using these training protocols this is an important tip to remember when programming these concepts.
Come ready and in shape… this is not for beginners
A final note is that PAP and Complex training is really only effective for those that are already in athletic shape. You must have a solid level of base conditioning and fitness in order to maximize the benefits of PAP.
IF you’re not able to move a considerable amount of weight or have poor cardiovascular conditioning, you won’t see the same benefits from this sort of training as those who are diligently hitting the weights. So, if you’re just the occasional gym goer, stick to the basics and don’t attempt PAP until you’re set into a solid and consistent routine.
First off, if you’re an athlete training for any sport, this is a phenomenal way to make the connection between weight lifting / strength training and your actual sport! If you’re a basketball player, why would you not do this alongside your squats?
As for everyone else, if your training sticks in a constant rep range all the time, whether it be low reps for strength or high reps for hypertrophy, you’ll eventually hit a plateau. You can’t keep adding another five pounds to the bar ad infinitum, eventually you’ll need to mix things up.
PAP offers a way for you to shatter those plateaus and take your fitness to new heights. Don’t settle for being slow and stagnant in the gym, give PAP a shot and be prepared to jump higher, run faster, and squat heavier! Make sure to check back next week when we go more in detail in how to structure the PAP complexes!
Power through PAP with Nitramine!
Hit the dreaded plateau? All you need is a shot of Myokem’s Nitramine pre workout!
Nitramine is the ultimate pre workout when it comes to giving you the energy and focus to pound out a set of squats followed by jump knee tucks
Take it 30 minutes prior to your work and be prepared to crush your workout like never before!
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