Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "

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Stronger strength athletes achieve PAP effect faster

Two days ago and four days ago we wrote about the post-activation-potentiation [PAP] effect the phenomenon by which muscles generate noticeably more power than normal after a short burst of maximal exertion. If you've reached a plateau in your training this may be something for you. In 2010 American sports scientists discovered that the optimal rest period after a burst of maximal exertion depends on your maximal strength.

The researchers, at California State University in Fullerton, published the results of an experiment on 12 trained subjects in their twenties in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning. All subjects were male, and they had all been doing weight training for at least one year.

The test subjects started with 5 reps of squats at 85 percent of the weight at which they could just manage 1 rep. After a rest period of 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes the researchers measured the amount of power the subjects were capable of generating on an ergometer: they cycled as hard as they could for a short period.

The table below shows that the subjects' power increased by 4-7 percent after the squats session. On it you can see power generated per kg bodyweight.

Stronger strength athletes achieve PAP effect faster

Stronger strength athletes achieve PAP effect faster

The figure above shows the amount of rest each subject needed after the squats session for an optimal increase in power generation. It shows that strong men those with a relatively high 1 RM need less recovery time than less strong men.

The researchers suspect, however, that other factors are involved in determining how athletes can make the most of the PAP effect. "Although this study implies stronger individuals experience PAP earlier than weaker individuals after heavy resistance exercise, we suggest testing individuals multiple times to identify the optimal rest duration", they write.

J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Feb;24(2):343-7.

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