Wilson, J. M., Marin, P. J., Duncan, N., Loenneke, J. P., Jo, E., Zourdas, M. C., & Brown, L. (2012). Post-activation potentiation: A meta-analysis examining the effects of volume, rest period length, and conditioning mode on power. Presentation 593 at the 59th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, San Francisco, California; May 29-June 2, 2012.

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"Post-activation potentiation (PAP) is a phenomenon whereby muscular performance is enhanced acutely by a previous activity executed at a relatively higher intensity (e.g. a one repetition maximum back squat performed prior to a vertical jump) than the action to be performed."

This investigation identified the optimal prescription (e.g. volume, rest period length, and conditioning mode) needed to maximize post-activation potentiation for power. A meta-analysis using 31 primary studies was performed with a total of 141 effect sizes. To be included in the analysis the study had to have a primary focus on the effects of a conditioning mode on a specific outcome variable which directly measured power (force x velocity ) or used an outcome variable associated with power such as the vertical jump, sprint, or Wingate test.

Moderate intensity was significantly better than heavy intensity; Multiple sets were better than single sets; and rest periods of 3-7 minutes were better than rest periods of >10 minutes; and rest periods of 7-10 minutes were also better when compared to >10 minutes.

Implication. For post-activation potential to be optimized, multiple sets of activities performed at moderate intensity (60-80% 1-RM maximum) with a rest period corresponding between 3-7 minutes are the preferred variables for the activity. Post-activation potentiation has the potential to be an important part of a physical preparation activity close to the time of competing.

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