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J Strength Cond Res. 2007 Aug;21(3):837-40.

Intermittent exercise as a conditioning activity to induce postactivation potentiation.

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Department of Sport, School of Physical Education and Sport, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.


Postactivation potentiation (PAP) is defined as a short-term increase in voluntary muscle activation following a previous conditioning activity (CA). Controversy about PAP is mostly attributed to the characteristics of the CA and the training status of the subjects. While some studies have found that PAP can be induced by series of 5-10 second maximal voluntary isometric contractions or near maximal dynamic contractions (e.g., 3-5 repetition maximum), others have failed to do so. On the other hand, some studies suggest that intermittent contractions can also induce PAP. However, even though PAP was observed, its duration was not taken into account, leaving ground for further investigations. The purpose of this study was threefold: (a) to verify if PAP can progressively enhance performance of voluntary actions throughout a set of intermittent contractions; (b) to verify PAP duration when induced by an intermittent contractions protocol; and (c) to verify if PAP effects were reproducible in different sessions when induced by intermittent contractions. Ten physically active men, not engaged in strength training, underwent 5 randomized experimental sessions, during which they performed a set of 10 unilateral knee extensions (KE) (1 every 30 seconds) at 60 degrees x s(-1) in an isokinetic dynamometer. Peak torque was evaluated over the 10 unilateral KE and at the randomized intervals of 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 minutes post CA. Peak torque was potentiated 1.3 (+/-0.79) N x m per unilateral KE, and the potentiation effect persisted for 12 minutes after the last contraction. These findings were reproduced in all 5 experimental sessions. Thus, intermittent conditioning activities seem to be an effective way to produce PAP. However, these activities should be tested in a more real world situation to verify the applicability as a warm-up routine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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