What is Post-Activation Potentiation?
PAP occurs when a heavy resistance exercise (like a Squat) is followed by a high-velocity movement (like a Jump), resulting in a more forceful muscular contraction during the second movement than you’d get without the preceding heavy exercise.
Essentially, if you lift heavy (without going to exhaustion) before you jump or sprint, you’ll jump higher or sprint faster.
For example, it’s been shown that doing a set of heavy Back Squats prior to performing a Box Jump can help athletes jump higher than they would if they hadn’t done the Squats first. The same applies to other movements like Sprints, Bounds, and Throws, but only if a few conditions are met. First, heavy exercise must mimic the explosive movement. You can’t do a Bench Press and jump higher, nor can you do a Hang Clean and follow it with a better Plyo Push-Up.
Next, the athlete must attempt to move the heavyweight quickly. If you try to move a heavyweight slowly, it won’t go anywhere. But as long as you move the weight explosively—regardless of how fast the bar actually moves—you’ll increase what’s called your Rate of Force Development (RFD).
Strength (Type I) – Heavy 80% Max + Power – Explosive Movement (Type II) 100% = Neurological Change