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While there is strong support of the usefulness of post-activation potentiation (PAP) phenomenon in power demanding sports, the role that PAP could play in endurance sports has received less attention. The aim of this review is to present evidence for a better understanding of PAP in endurance athletes; and to discuss the physiological basis and methodological aspects necessary for better practices and designing further studies. A search for relevant articles on PAP and endurance trained athletes was carried out using Medline and ISI Web of Knowledge databases. Twenty-two studies were included in the review. The current evidence suggests the possible influence of PAP for performance enhancement after appropriate conditioning activities during warm up. Evaluation of PAP responses during testing, training and competition may be also important for athletes monitoring. There are many unresolved questions about the optimum load parameters for benefiting from PAP in both training and competition; and the role that PAP may exert for optimal performance while interacting with central and peripheral factors associated with muscle fatigue. Further studies should elucidate the association between PAP responses and long-term adaptations in endurance athletes.
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European Journal of Sport Science
ISSN: 1746-1391 (Print) 1536-7290 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/tejs20
Post-activation potentiation (PAP) in endurance
sports: A review
Daniel Boullosa, Sebastian del Rosso, David G. Behm & Carl Foster
To cite this article: Daniel Boullosa, Sebastian del Rosso, David G. Behm & Carl Foster (2018):
Post-activation potentiation (PAP) in endurance sports: A review, European Journal of Sport
Science, DOI: 10.1080/17461391.2018.1438519
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/17461391.2018.1438519
Published online: 01 Mar 2018.
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REVIEW
Post-activation potentiation (PAP) in endurance sports: A review
DANIEL BOULLOSA
1,2
, SEBASTIAN DEL ROSSO
1
, DAVID G. BEHM
3
,&
CARL FOSTER
4
1
Physical Education, Catholic University of Brasilia, Brasilia, Brazil;
2
College of Healthcare Sciences, James Cook University,
QLD, Australia;
3
School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Newfoundland, Canada
&
4
Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, Wisconsin, United States of America
Abstract
While there is strong support of the usefulness of post-activation potentiation (PAP) phenomenon in power demanding
sports, the role that PAP could play in endurance sports has received less attention. The aim of this review is to present
evidence for a better understanding of PAP in endurance athletes; and to discuss the physiological basis and
methodological aspects necessary for better practices and designing further studies. A search for relevant articles on PAP
and endurance trained athletes was carried out using Medline and ISI Web of Knowledge databases. Twenty-two studies
were included in the review. The current evidence suggests the possible influence of PAP for performance enhancement
after appropriate conditioning activities during warm up. Evaluation of PAP responses during testing, training and
competition may be also important for athletes monitoring. There are many unresolved questions about the optimum load
parameters for benefiting from PAP in both training and competition; and the role that PAP may exert for optimal
performance while interacting with central and peripheral factors associated with muscle fatigue. Further studies should
elucidate the association between PAP responses and long-term adaptations in endurance athletes.
Keywords: Endurance, performance, testing, strength, physiology
Highlights
.Appropriate warm up exercises should be identified in every sport for performance enhacement during subsequent short
endurance events via PAP.
.It seems that endurance athletes exhibit greater PAP responses after submaximal conditioning activities as a consequence of
a better PAP/fatigue balance.
.Monitoring PAP, perceptual and muscle fatigue, during training and testing, could be very useful for a better understaning
of acute and chronic adaptations of endurance athletes.
Introduction
Post-activation potentiation (PAP) has been defined
as the phenomena by which muscular performance
characteristics are acutely enhanced as a result of
their contractile history (Tillin & Bishop, 2009).
The applicability of PAP to sport performance has
traditionally focused on power exercises, because
PAP after maximum efforts could be utilized as an
intervention that lasts several minutes after an acute
conditioning stimulus, thus increasing muscle
power output (Seitz & Haff, 2016). However, PAP
responses have also been observed in endurance
trained athletes, after maximal voluntary contractions
(MVCs) (Hamada, Sale, & Macdougall, 2000). In
addition, some recent studies have reported jump
potentiation after different endurance running exer-
cises in endurance athletes (Boullosa & Tuimil,
2009; Boullosa, Tuimil, Alegre, Iglesias, & Lusqui-
nos, 2011; Vuorimaa, Virlander, Kurkilahti, Vasan-
kari, & Hakkinen, 2006). Furthermore, Del Rosso
et al. (2016) have recently shown the possible influ-
ence of jump potentiation on pacing in a 30-km
trial. Meanwhile, scientists and practitioners in
endurance sports are often unaware of the great
potential of PAP for both training and competition
probably as a consequence of the dominant paradigm
© 2018 European College of Sport Science
Correspondence: Daniel A. Boullosa Physical Education, Catholic University of Brasilia, Brasilia, Brazil. E-mail: daniel.boullosa@gmail.com
European Journal of Sport Science, 2018
https://doi.org/10.1080/17461391.2018.1438519
in PAP practices that associates maximum brief
efforts to PAP in subsequent power exercises (Seitz
& Haff, 2016).
Therefore, given the absence of a review approach-
ing this important topic, this article aims to present
the current evidence of PAP in endurance athletes;
and to discuss the physiological basis and methodo-
logical aspects of this ergogenic mechanism for
better practice during evaluation, training and com-
petition; and for designing further studies. We will
consider endurance activities as those lasting >
1 min (Chamari & Padulo, 2015). Additionally, and
following the most accepted definition of PAP
(Tillin & Bishop, 2009), we will consider as PAP
any increment in muscle performance, assessed
with different methods, after exercises of different
intensity and duration. Given the co-existence of
both muscle fatigue and potentiation after a number
of muscle contractions (Behm, Button, Barbour,
Butt, & Young, 2004; Rassier & Macintosh, 2000),
the definitions of Gandevia (2001) for muscle
fatigue(i.e. decrease in force production capacity),
peripheral fatigue(i.e. decrease in evoked force),
and central fatigue(i.e. decrease in maximal volun-
tary activation), should be considered onwards for
clarification.
Understanding PAP in the endurance
phenotype
Before the specific literature review, it is important
to address some physiological aspects for a better
understanding and contextualization of the evidence
of PAP in endurance athletes. Thus, the main mech-
anism for explaining PAP has been proposed to be
myosin RLC phosphorylation (Grange et al.,
1993). This transient adaptation at the molecular
level increases Ca
2+
sensitivity in striated muscle,
thus enhancing force production for a given Ca
2+
concentration (MacIntosh, 2010). Prior knowledge
of this mechanism was mostly obtained with single
muscles and isolated muscle fascicles or fibres,
after voluntary (i.e. PAP) or electrical stimulations
(i.e. staircase or post-tetanic potentiation) in
animal models (Vandenboom, Gittings, Smith,
Grange, & Stull, 2013). From these previous
studies, it seems that a greater potentiation could
be expected in fast-twitch fibres, at physiological
temperatures, with alkalosis, during concentric con-
tractions, and at shorter muscle lengths (MacIntosh,
2010; Vandenboom et al., 2013). It has been also
suggested, in disuse and knockout animal models,
that there is an independent mechanism to RLC
phosphorylation related to the elevation of resting
Ca
2+
levels, but only after successive low-frequency
twitches (Vandenboom et al., 2013). Additionally,
the presence of adrenaline (Decostre, Gillis, &
Gailly, 2000) and estradiol concentrations (Lai,
Collins, Colson, Kararigas, & Lowe, 2016) has
been proposed to influence RLC phosphorylation
in the mouse. Meanwhile, the translational value of
this knowledge from rodents to humans and, more
specifically, to endurance athletes, should be taken
with caution. In fact, the few experiments with
humans that performed muscle biopsies, reported
similar levels of RLC phosphorylation between
fast- and slow-twitch fibres (Houston & Grange,
1991; Houston, Lingley, Stuart, & Grange, 1987;
Stuart, Lingley, Grange, & Houston, 1988), an
adaptation that may be speculated to be an evol-
utionary consequence of the physical demands of
our Homo ancestors (Boullosa, Abreu, Varela-
Sanz, & Mujika, 2013).
Other suggested mechanisms at the neuromuscular
level have been proposed after maximum or near
maximum conditioning activities mainly in power-
trained athletes. These mechanisms may include
increased recruitment of higher order motor units
(Hodgson, Docherty, & Robbins, 2005), and
changes in muscle fascicle pennation angles (Tillin
& Bishop, 2009). Moreover, the correlation reported
(r=0.74) between the increase in twitch force after
a submaximal (75%) voluntary contraction and the
decline in discharge rate during submaximal volun-
tary contractions (1030%) of the biceps brachii,
may suggest a link between PAP responses and a
reduced central drive for maintenance of a constant
force output (Klein, Ivanova, Rice, & Garland,
2001). However, there are recent individual studies
that do not support a contribution of an increased
motor neuron excitability through the reflex
pathway (Xenofondos et al., 2015); and voluntary
activation, corticospinal excitability, intracortical
inhibition and facilitation (Thomas, Toward, West,
Howatson, & Goodall, 2017), to PAP. Given that,
it could be concluded that RLC phosphorylation
could be considered the primary mechanism for
PAP, while other influences at the neuromuscular
level cannot be supported with the current evidence.
The use of the term PAP has been suggested to
be inappropriate without evaluation of the enhanced
response with a twitch to verify that the potentiation
occurs for the same stimulation as that used prior
to voluntary contractions (MacIntosh, 2010). It is
worth noting, however, that twitch verification is
also an indirect surrogate of the effect of RLC phos-
phorylation on muscle force production. It is
assumed that RLC phosphorylation favours an
increase in the rate of force development (RFD)
and peak tension because of the increase in the
number of cross-bridges formed (MacIntosh,
2010). This is an important consideration as an
2D. Boullosa et al.
increase in RFD and peak tension could be indirectly
evaluated with any voluntary exercise requiring rapid
or maximal force production. Therefore, we may
suggest the use of voluntary maximal explosive
evaluations as their relationships with PAP responses
has been extensively described (Seitz & Haff, 2016).
Furthermore, previous studies have reported the
relationship between potentiated twitch responses
and jump potentiation in different populations
(Mitchell & Sale, 2011; Nibali, Chapman, Robergs,
& Drinkwater, 2013; Requena, Sáez-Sáez de
Villareal, Gapeyava, García, & Pääsuke, 2011).
Nevertheless, caution should be also taken as jump
performances are highly variable among individuals
(Chaouachi et al., 2011), the instructions provided
to athletes could influence RFD (Sahaly, Vandewalle,
Driss, & Monod, 2001), and improvements of jump
performance after conditioning activities are not
always evident depending on the performance par-
ameter evaluated (Boullosa, Abreu, Beltrame, &
Behm, 2013; Pearson & Hussain, 2014). In fact,
not all performance improvements after conditioning
activities can be attributed to PAP. Positive acute
adaptations of warm-up activities such as elevation
of muscle temperature and increased metabolic
responses should be differentiated from potentiation
of contractile capacity per se (McGowan, Pyne,
Thompson, & Rattray, 2015). Moreover, the possible
influence of a central command during voluntary
movements should not be disregarded. Thus, assum-
ing that a true PAP effect could be solely verified with
the twitch interpolation technique, it could be
suggested the use of maximal explosive exercises as
jumps as a surrogate of PAP responses but with the
aforementioned limitations.
Any athlete could benefit from this mechanism after
any conditioning activity since the levels of muscle
fatigue were smaller than the levels of PAP. Moreover,
PAP should be maximized with low firing rates, which
occur during endurance activities, since increased sen-
sitivity to Ca
2+
is maximized at low Ca
2+
levels and
limited at saturated Ca
2+
levels (Sale, 2002). This
phenomenon should be considered concurrently
with fatigue development with expected lower levels
of muscle fatigue at submaximal intensities (MacIn-
tosh, 2010). Given the greater fatigue resistance of
slow-twitch fibres, a better PAP/fatigue balance
would be expected with endurance trained muscles
during and after appropriate conditioning activities.
Further, differences in PAP/fatigue balance between
muscle phenotypes could be even more evident as
only slow-twitch fibres can maintain Ca
2+
sensitivity
after prolonged endurance activities (i.e. 4 hrs.) as
seen in elite cyclists (Hvid et al., 2013).
Mettler and Griffin (2010) revealed a significant
positive correlation between force potentiation and
the forcetime integral produced by the stimulation
train (r= 0.70), suggesting a dose-response relation-
ship between conditioning activity volume and the
degree of potentiation. The same authors (Mettler
& Griffin, 2012) showed that the time to achieve
maximal potentiation decreased with increased inten-
sity. Thus, force-time integral matched conditioning
contraction tests (5 s at 100% vs. 10 s at 50% vs.
20 s at 25%) did not differ in the amount of poten-
tiation produced. Of note, these previous studies
were performed in the adductor pollicies human
muscle, which is predominantly a slow-twitch
muscle (Mettler & Griffin, 2010,2012), therefore
suggesting that, for the endurance phenotype, pro-
longed activities at submaximal intensities would
induce a greater force production capacity as a conse-
quence of a better PAP/fatigue relationship.
Given all the aforementioned evidence, it would,
therefore, be suggested that: (1) the main mechanism
behind PAP is myosin RLC phosphorylation, with
humans exhibiting similar levels between slow- and
fast-twitch fibres; (2) PAP evaluation could be per-
formed with twitch responses and indirectly with
voluntary explosive exercises although with limit-
ations; (3) for the endurance phenotype, prolonged
submaximal exercises, at least until durations that
do not promote significant levels of peripheral
fatigue, could favour a better PAP/fatigue balance.
A hypothetical model for understanding the role of
PAP in endurance activities is presented in Figure 1.
Review of literature
Search methods
A search for relevant articles on PAP in endurance
athletes and sports was carried out using Medline
and ISI Web of Knowledge databases. To be
included in this review, each article must have met
the following criteria: (1) participants should be
endurance trained athletes, (2) an endurance exercise
should be present, and (3) pre- and post-exercise
measures of muscle or motor performance.
Results
A total of 126 records were obtained from the search,
from which 86 were eliminated as duplicates or
unspecific to the topic. The remaining 40 full-text
articles were analysed for inclusion and subsequently
18 articles were eliminated as they did not meet all
inclusion criteria. Of the 22 articles included in the
literature review, two used MVC as a conditioning
activity (Hamada et al., 2000; Paasuke et al., 2007),
one used submaximal intermittent contractions
(Morana & Perrey, 2009), one compared different
Post-Activation Potentiation (PAP) in Endurance Sports 3
warm-up protocols (Skof & Strojnik, 2007), two
assessed the effects of warm-up on subsequent simu-
lated trial (Feros, Young, Rice, & Talpey, 2012; Silva
et al., 2014), 10 studied PAP using different exercise
set-ups (Boullosa et al., 2011; Boullosa & Tuimil,
2009; Garcia-Pinillos, Molina-Molina, & Latorre-
Roman, 2016; Garcia-Pinillos, Soto-Hermoso, &
Latorre-Roman, 2015; Latorre-Román, García-
Pinillos, Martínez-López, & Soto-Hermoso, 2014;
McIntyre, Mawston, & Cairns, 2012; Pageaux,
Theurel, & Lepers, 2017; Skof & Strojnik, 2006a,
2006b; Vuorimaa et al., 2006), and eight studies
looked at race simulations and competitions (Del
Rosso et al., 2016; Feros et al., 2012; Millet et al.,
2002; Millet, Martin, Maffiuletti, & Martin, 2003;
Millet, Millet, Lattier, Maffiuletti, & Candau, 2003;
Place, Lepers, Deley, & Millet, 2004; Rousanoglou
et al., 2016; Silva et al., 2014).
The most generalized output measures for asses-
sing PAP were voluntary peak torque or evoked
twitch peak torque and the countermovement jump
(CMJ). In all cases there were increases between
pre- and post-conditioning activity in the aforemen-
tioned variables. However, due to the different
research designs, the timing and degree of PAP
manifestation varied among studies. A summary of
the main characteristics for the articles included in
the literature review is provided in Table I.
Discussion
After analysis of the included studies, there are two
main issues to be considered regarding PAP in
endurance athletes: (1) the effect of PAP after
warm-up activities, and (2) the evaluation of PAP
with different methods, during testing, training, or
following endurance tests and competitions.
PAP for warm-up
PAP has been proposed as one of the most important
objectives of warm-up (McGowan et al., 2015). Fol-
lowing the traditional approach of PAP practices, the
most intuitive application of PAP is the acute
enhancement of contractile potential after warm-up
activities for training or competitive purposes.
However, very few studies in endurance sports have
demonstrated an improvement in muscle perform-
ance after different warm-up activities via PAP
Figure 1. Hypothetical model of post-activation potentiation for endurance sports. RLC, regulatory myosin light chain, MLC-K, myosin light
chain kinase; MLC-P = myosin light chain phosphatase; AUC = area under the curve.
4D. Boullosa et al.
Table I. Summary of the main characteristics for the articles included in the literature review.
Reference Subjects Exercise protocol Measurements Potentiation definition Main results
Boullosa and
Tuimil (2009)
n=12
Trained distance runners
(from regional to elite,
competing at least 2
consecutive years)
Maximal Run (UMTT)
Tlim (Constant running
pace at 100% MAS)
CMJ (non-fatigued state,
CMJB)
Post-tests CMJ height (2 and
7 min)
ΔCMJ
An increase in post-exercise
CMJ height
CMJB >Tlim vs. UMTT
CMJ at 2 (3.53%) min post Tlim
CMJ at 2 (12.6%) and 7 (6.76%) min post
UMTT
CMJ at 2 min post Tlim > CMJ at 2 min post
UMTT
Boullosa et al.
(2011)
n=22(14) (8)
Experienced endurance
athletes (8 and 8
endurance runners,
6triathletes)
Maximal run (UMTT) Pre and post Ex. CMJ An increase in post exercise
CMJ height 20 m sprint
CMJ 3.6% post vs. pre Ex.
peak power 3.4% Post vs. Pre Ex.
peak force 10.8% Post vs. pre Ex.
Cluster analysis (responders vs. non-responders):
ΔCMJ (4.9%), vs. Pre Ex. in responders
Δpeak power (5.8%) vs. pre Ex. in responders
ΔCM vertical path (9.7%) vs. pre Ex. in non-
responders
peak force (29.9%) vs. Pre Ex. in non-
responders
Del Rosso et al.
(2016)
n=11
Well trained half-marathon
runners
30-km self-paced multistage
trial (6 × 5-km stages)
Pre vs. post stages CMJ
height, stage speed
An increase in CMJ height Speed at 5, 10, 15 and 20 km
Speed at 25, 30 km vs. 5, 10, 15 and 20 km
CMJ at 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 km vs. Pre
CMJ at 25 km vs. 20 km
ΔCM at 25 km vs. 20 km
Feros et al.
(2012)
n=1
0(9) (1)
Elite level rowers
(PW) Self-selected warm-up
+ 5 × 5 s isometric
conditioning contraction
with 15 s recovery
between sets + 1000 m
rowing ergometer time
trial
(NW) Self-selected warm-
up + 1000 m rowing
ergometer time trial
MPO, mean SR, and split
time for every 100 m
Acute enhancement in
strength or power output
> MPO at 0500 m in PW vs. NW
>SR at 0500 m in PW vs. NW
<500 m time split in PW vs. NW
<SR at 01000 m in PW vs. NW
Garcia-Pinillos
et al. (2015)
n=30
Experienced recreational
long-distance runners
(6 years of training and
competition)
4 × 3 × 400 m runs, 85
100% of MAS; 1 min
passive recovery between
runs and 3 minutes
between sets
Pre vs. Post Sets: Time for
400 m (T400), CMJ height,
peak force, peak power,
eccentric work, and
concentric work.
An increase in CMJ
performance (height or
mechanical parameters)
CMJ height (5%). Rest vs. Set 1, 3 and 4
Peak force (610%), Rest vs. Set 2, 3 and 4
Peak power (813%), Rest vs. Set 2, 3 and 4
Cluster Analysis (Responders):
CMJ (813%), Rest vs. Set 1, 2, 3 and 4
Peak force (1013%), Rest vs. Set 2, 3 and 4
Peak power (1317%), Rest vs. Set 2, 3 and 4
Responders vs Non-Responders
ΔCMJ (13.89%) in Responders vs. in Non-
Responders
(Continued)
Post-Activation Potentiation (PAP) in Endurance Sports 5
Table I. Continued.
Reference Subjects Exercise protocol Measurements Potentiation definition Main results
Garcia-Pinillos
et al. (2016)
n=33
Recreationally trained
endurance runners (20
and 13)
Maximal run (Léger
multistage test)
Pre and post test CMJ height
and kinematic variables
(video analysis)
An increase in CMJ height CMJ vs. Pre test
Cluster analysis (responders and non-
responders)
CMJ in responders (8%) vs. Pre test
angular position of the ankle in non-responders
In any other kinematic variable
Hamada et al.
(2000)
n=40
10 triathletes, 10 distance
runners, 10 active control
subjects, 10 sedentary
10-s MVC of the elbow
extensor and ankle
plantar-flexor muscles
MVC post 5 min of exercise.
PT, TPT, HRT.
% change in peak twitch
torque post-MVC
PT in all groups (triathletes and runners >
active controls and sedentary)
TPT in all groups
HRT in all groups
Significant
negative correlations between PAP and pre-MVC
twitch TPT and HRT
Latorre-Román
et al. (2014)
n=16
Experienced sub-elite long-
distance runners
(six years of training and
competition)
4 × 3 × 400 m runs, 85
100% of MAS; 1 min
passive recovery between
runs and 3 min between
sets
Pre vs. Post Sets: Time for
400 m (T400), CMJ height,
peak velocity, flight time,
peak force, peak power,
eccentric work and
concentric work
An increase in CMJ
performance (height or
mechanical parameters)
CMJ height (26%)
Peak velocity vs. Pre
Peak Force (815%) vs. Pre
Peak Power (1013%) vs. Pre
McIntyre et al.
(2012)
n=10
ten competitive or
recreationally active
cyclists
Prolonged submaximal cycle
test to exhaustion while
(4 × 20 min at 70%
VO
peak
) + 30 s all-out
sprint at the 17th min of
each bout
Time to exhaustion, PPO,
Peak isometric MVC,
isokinetic torque, DJ
height, ground contact and
reactivity coefficient (all
measured throughout the
trial)
Increase in peak isokinetic
torque
Six cyclists completed two exercise and four
completed four to six stages
At stage 2 or 3 PPO (140% vs. initial) in 5 of
the 10 cyclists
At stage 2 PPO (5695% vs. initial) in the
other 5 cyclists peak isometric
MVC torque (14%) at exhaustion.
At exhaustion:
PPO (81 ± 25% vs. Pretest)
Peak isometric torque (MVC) of quadriceps (86
± 11% vs. pretest)
peak concentric torque (quadriceps) (83 ± 10%
vs. pretest)
peak concentric torque (hamstrings) (93 ± 7%
vs. Pretest)
DJ height 92% vs. Pretest
Ground-contact time
Millet et al.
(2002)
n=9
Trained triathletes and
endurance runners
65 km ultra-marathon
(altitude 2500 m)
Non fatigued (one week
before) vs. Fatigued (
2 min after the race), PT,
CT, MRFDt, HRT,
average RFD, MRFRt, and
M-Wave (amplitude and
duration) of plantar flexors
(PF) and knee extensor
(KE) muscles
ND PT, Average RFD, MRFDt, and MRFRt of PF
and KE vs. Non-Fatigued condition
CT, HRT and MRFRt of PF and KE vs. non-
fatigued condition
M-Wave duration and amplitude except for
muscle soleus (M-Wave amplitude vs. non-
fatigued condition)
6D. Boullosa et al.
Millet, Martin
et al. (2003)
n=11
Trained cyclists (regional
level)
140 km road race Non fatigued vs. fatigued (Pre
vs. Post 1530 min) trial,
MVC, VA, Peak twitch
tension, CT, Average RFD,
MRFDt, MRFRt
An increase in peak twitch
tension
MVC (9%) vs. Pre
VA vs. Pre
Peak twitch tension (12%) vs. Pre
RFD (11%) vs. Pre
CT, MRFDt, MRFRt
Millet, Millet
et al. (2003)
n=11
Trained cross-country
skiers
Ski Skating Marathon
(159.7 ± 17.9 min)
Non-fatigued (2 days before)
vs. Fatigued (5 min after
the race), MVC plus PT,
CT, MRFDt, HRT,
average RFD, MRFRt
(From evoked twitch),
P
0
20, P
0
80, MRFD80 and
MRFD20 (from evoked
tetanus) and M-wave
(amplitude and duration)
plus RMS of KE muscles.
The post-tetanic
potentiation (PTP) was
calculated as Pt of tw2
divided by Pt of tw1
MVC (8.4%)
PT, MRFDt, HRT and MRFRt
P
0
20, P
0
80 and MRFD80
MRFD20
P
0
20/P
0
80 ratio
PTP
RMS (30%) and M-wave amplitude
M-Wave duration
(All vs. Non-fatigued condition)
Morana and
Perrey (2009)
n=15
(8 endurance athletes;
distance
runners and triathletes,
training 7 h·wk
1
during
the previous six months,
END)
(7 power-trained athletes;
i.e. professional rugby
players
And weightlifters, POW)
Intermittent submaximal
exercise: 10-minute, 5 s ×
5 s cycles, of submaximal
knee extensor
contractions (50% of
MVC)
Pre and Post Ex.
PT, TPT, HRT, VA, MRFD
and MRFR
(PT was monitored
throughout the exercise
protocol)
Increase in PT during the
submaximal exercise
protocol
At 1 min of exercise, PT (53%) for
POW vs. (52%) for END
PT in END still increased at 1.5 min
(56%) and remained high until the end of
exercise
At 5.5 min of exercise PT in POW (30%)
In END TPT throughout
In POW, TPT only between 1 and 4 min of Ex.
MVC > in POW (36.2%) vs. END (15.3%)
At post Ex. PT 28.2% for END vs. PT 22.7%
for POW
MRFD (63.3%) and MRFR (32.2%) for END
Paasuke et al.
(2007)
n=36
PW (sprinters, jumpers and
volleyball players), ET
(long-distance runners
and cross-country skiers),
UT (students, no history of
regular participation in
any sport)
10 s conditioning MVC of
the KE muscles
Pre vs. Post 2 s, 1, 3, 5, 10 and
15 min of recovery: MVC,
PT, CT, HRT, MRFD,
MRFR
Enhancement of the
electrically evoked twitch
contraction peak torque
after a brief MVC
PT in PW (27%), ET (18%) and UT (21%),
(PW > ET)
Twitch PT (51%) for PW, (44%) for ET and
(30%) for UT, at 2 s vs. Pre Ex.
PAP for PT was still present for ET at 1 min
(13%), and for PW (14%) and UT (13%) at
5 min of recovery
PT at 2 s, 1, 3 and 5 min recovery >PW vs. ET
MRFD (125%) for PW, (79%) for UT and
(51%) for ET at 2 s vs. Pre Ex.
PAP for MRFD was still present for ET at 1 min
(24%) and for UT and PW at 3 min (26%) and
5 min (25%) of recovery
MRFD at 2 s, 1, 3, 5 and 10 min >PW vs. ET
MRFR (124%) for PW, (95%) for UT and
(76%) for ET at 2 s vs. Pre Ex.
PAP for MRFR was still present for ET at 2 s post
Ex., for UT at
3 min (26%) and for PW (12%) at 10 min
CT and HRT
(Continued)
Post-Activation Potentiation (PAP) in Endurance Sports 7
Table I. Continued.
Reference Subjects Exercise protocol Measurements Potentiation definition Main results
Pageaux et al.
(2017)
n=9
Endurance Athletes
(Triathlon or duathlon from
regional to national level)
Three conditions:
Warm Up = 5 min at 33% of
MAP + 5 min 50% of
MAP
A. 1-h cycling + 10 km
running time trial
B. 1-h uphill walking (at
the same HR than the
1-h cycling exercise) +
10 km running time
trial (at the same
running velocity as
condition A)
C. 10 km running time
trial (at the same
running velocity as
condition A)
Post Warm-Up (baseline) vs.
Pre run (after 1-h cycling /
uphill walking)
vs. Post-15 min of rest (in the
10 km only condition) vs. Post
10 km running, MVC, TTW,
DT, tRFD, MMA, M-Wave
An increase in TTW and
RFD of the KE
MVC Torque at Pre Run and Post Run vs.
Baseline (only in condition A)
MVC Torque at Post Run vs. Pre Run (in
condition C)
MVC Torque at Post Run vs. Pre Run (in
conditions A)
>MVC Torque in conditions Cand Dvs.
condition Bat Pre run
TTW at Pre run vs. Baseline (only in condition
A)
TTW at Pre run vs. Baseline (in condition B);
at Post run vs. Baseline (in conditions Aand
B) and at Post Run vs. Pre Run (in condition
A)
>TTW at Pre Run in conditions Band Cvs.
condition A
DT at Pre Run vs. Baseline (in condition A)
and at Post Run vs. Baseline (in condition C)
DT at Post Run vs. Pre Run (in condition A)
>DT at pre run in conditions Band Cvs.
condition A
tRFD at pre run vs. baseline (in condition B),
at post run vs. baseline (in conditions A,B
and C) and at post run vs. pre run (in
condition A)
>tRFD at pre run in conditions Band Cvs.
condition A
>tRFD at post run in condition Avs. condition
B
M-wave (between time points and conditions).
MMA at pre and post run vs. baseline in
conditions Aand B
8D. Boullosa et al.
Place et al.
(2004)
n=9
Well-trained triathletes and
endurance runners
Treadmill running
(300 min at 55% MAS)
Pre vs. intra-trial (1 to 5 h) vs.
Post-Trial (30 min) MVC,
RMS, RMS/RMS
M
, VA,
PT, CT, HRT, MRFDt,
MRFRt, doublet maximal
torque (DMT), P
0
20, P
0
80,
M-Wave amplitude and
duration
An increase in doublet
torque
MVC at 4 h (26± 23%) and 5 h (28 ± 27%) vs.
Pre
RMS/RMS
M
at 4 h (50 ± 21%), 5 h (45 ± 27%)
and Post-30 min (50 ± 30%) vs. Pre
VA during the first 3 h
VA at 4 h (12 ± 17%), 5 h (16 ± 21%) and Post-
30 min (21 ± 28%) vs. Pre
PT at 5 h (18 ± 18%) vs. pre-trial
DMT at 2 h (12 ± 5%), 4 h (15 ± 15%) and 5 h
(14 ± 14%) vs. pre-trial
CT, HRT, MRFDt and MRFRt in any time.
M-Wave amplitude at 4 h (33 ± 21%) and 5 h
(34 ± 21%) vs. pre
M-wave duration at Post-30 min (20 ± 25%) vs.
Pre
P20, P80 or P20/P80 at any time
Rousanoglou
et al. (2016)
n= 27,
Recreationally trained ultra-
marathon runners
23 km-Mountain race
(Altitude = 554 m, initial
5.2 km uphill, followed by
10.5 km of alternating
downhill and uphill trails
and a final downhill of
8 km)
Pre-Race (Pre Warm-Up) and
post race (1 and 5 min)
CMJ (mechanical variables)
ND CMJ height at Pots 5 vs. Pre (8%)
T
ECC
and T
CON
displacements and durations
(both relative and absolute)
Anterior-posterior force during CMJ in T
ECC
(Pre vs. Post 5) and in T
CON
(Pre vs. Post 1
and Pre vs. Post 5)
T
CON
Power (Post 1 vs. Post 5)
Vertical Force at Post 1 vs. Pre in T
ECC
and at
Post 5 vs. Pre in T
ECC
and T
CON
Earlier vertical force peak at Post 5 vs. Pre in
T
ECC
Later vertical force peak at Post 1 vs. Pre in T
CON
Silva et al. (2014)n=11
Trained cyclists
(specialist in speed
cycling trials with an
average training
background of 4 years)
Leg press, 4 sets of 5RM Pre vs. Mid vs. Post 20 km
Time Trial
Power output, pedal cadence,
cycling economy.
PAP vs. Non-PAP
comparisons
ND Cycling economy vs. control
20 km TT (6.1%)
Power output or pedal cadence
Skof and Strojnik
(2006a)
n=7
Well-trained middle- and
long-distance runners
5 × 300 m, interval runs at
95% of 400 m speed (77%
Smax) + 1 min recovery
between the runs
Pre and Post (5060 s, 3, 10,
20, 30, 40, 60, and
120 min) TTW; CT;
EMD; HRT; TF20; TF100
An increase in twitch torque TTW (28 ± 3.7%) vs. Pre Ex.
EMD (5.1 ± 0.6%) vs. Pre Ex.
CT (7.6 ± 0.4%) vs. Pre Ex.
HRT
TF20
TF100 7.5 ± 2.3% vs. Pre Ex.
peak MVC torque and LA of quadriceps
during MVC
At Post 10 min TTW 51 ± 8% (13.5% vs. Pre
Ex.).
TTW was maintained for 40 min after the
exercise.
(Continued)
Post-Activation Potentiation (PAP) in Endurance Sports 9
Table I. Continued.
Reference Subjects Exercise protocol Measurements Potentiation definition Main results
Skof and Strojnik
(2006b)
n=7
Well-trained middle- and
long-distance runners
6 km Continuous running at
V
OBLA
(56% of Smax)
on an athletic track.
Pre (after the warm up) vs.
Post
1, 3, 10, 20, 30, 40, 60, and
120 min of recovery TTW,
EMD, CT, HRT, TF20,
TF100, TMVC, AL
An increase in Twitch
torque (Post-tetanic
potentiation)
TTW (5.1%) Post 13 min vs. Pre Ex.
EMD (6.1%) Post 13 min vs. Pre Ex.
CT (8.0%) Post 13 min vs. Pre Ex.
HRT
TF20 (20.3%) Post 13 min vs. Pre Ex.
TF100
At Post 10 min TTW (10%) vs. Pre Ex.
TTW (514%) was maintained for 120 min
after the exercise.
Skof and Strojnik
(2007)
n=7
Well-trained middle-
distance runners (On
average they competed for
9 ± 3 years)
Two warm-up protocols:
WU1: 10-min continuous
run at 80% VLT, 5-min
stretching, 6 × 50 m
bounding exercises (2 ×
skipping, 2 × hopping,
2 × strides), and 5 × 80 m
acceleration runs
WU2: 10-min continuous
run at 80% VLT and 5-
min stretching
Pre vs. post Ex. TTW, EMD,
CT, HRT, torque during
maximum isometric knee
extension torque (TMVC),
AL, torque during MVC
with added electrical
stimulation (TMV
C+ES
)
An increase in torque of
voluntary and electrically
stimulated muscle
contraction
TTW (4) in WU1 vs. Pre
CT (9%) in WU1 vs. Pre
EMD and HRT with both warm-up protocols
TMCV (11%) in WU1 vs. Pre and > WU2
AL (8) in WU1 vs. Pre and > WU2
Vuorimaa et al.
(2006)
n=22
Long-distance runners (> 5
years of experience)
MR = Maximal run until
exhaustion
TR = 40-min tempo run at
80% vVO
2max
IR = 40-min intermittent
run (2 min × 2 min) at
100% vVO
2max
Pre vs. Post Ex.
CMJ height (post 515 s)
Mechanical power (½ Squat,
35% 1RM, 10 reps, 3 s of
rec. between reps.)
and EMGrms
ND EMGrms vs. Pre Ex. in all three conditions
(7.5% MR vs. 17.1 TR vs. 12.2% IR, NS
between trials)
Mechanical power (2.3% MR vs. 4.1% TR vs.
3.3% IR, NS between trials)
CMJ vs. Pre Ex. in all three conditions (8.9%
MR vs. 14.5% TR vs. 10.7% IR; NS between
trials)
Notes: NS, non-significant; , significant increase; , significant reduction; , no change; ND, not defined; PAP, post-activation potentiation; KE, knee extensors; EMG, electromyography;
EMGrms, EMG root mean-square; ES, electrical stimulation; MVC, maximal voluntary contraction; PT, peak torque, TPT, time to peak torque; HRT, half-relaxation time; TTW, twitch peak
torque; CT, contraction time; EMD, elecromechanical delay; TF20, torque during 20-Hz ES; TF100, torque during 100-Hz ES; AL, Activation level; VA, voluntary activation; MMA, maximal
muscle activation; t RFD, twitch rate of force development; MRFD, twitch maximal rate of torque development; MRFR, twitch maximal rate of torque relaxation; DT, Doublet Torque; HRmax,
maximum heart rate; V
OBLA
, speed at anaerobic threshold; MAP, maximum aerobic power; MAS, maximum aerobic speed; Smax, maximal speed, 1RM, one repetition maximum; UMTT,
Université of Montreal Track Test, CM, centre of mass; MPO, mean power output; PPO , peak power output; SR, stroke rate; T
ECC
, Eccentric Phase of CMJ, T
CON
, Concentric Phase of CMJ
10 D. Boullosa et al.
(Feros et al., 2012; Silva et al., 2014; Skof & Strojnik,
2007).
In a study with well-trained middle-distance
runners (Skof & Strojnik, 2007), it was suggested
that incorporating bouncing and sprinting exercises
into a standardized warm-up would enhance neuro-
muscular efficiency via PAP, although the authors
did not exclude an increase in muscle activation via
improved central input and enhanced excitation of
the α-motor neuron. While the results of this study
(Skof & Strojnik, 2007) are promising, it presents a
number of limitations including the absence of a
control condition, and no verification whether differ-
ences in neuromuscular function after the two differ-
ent warm-up protocols would effectively influence
running performance as only neuromuscular func-
tion after the warm-up protocols were evaluated.
Subsequently, Feros et al. (2012) reported with
national level rowers that the addition of 5 × 5 s iso-
metric contractions to individualized warm-up rou-
tines significantly improved mean power and
performance time over the first 500 m of a 1000 m
rowing ergometer time trial. However, performance
time did not significantly improve over the whole
trial while stroke rate was significantly increased.
Although not significant, the effect size in perform-
ance improvement (ES = 0.21, small) along with
the observation of a high variability in individual
responses, may suggest that a more controlled study
with a standardized warm-up would provide a signifi-
cant improvement in performance time. Thus, it is
unknown if the individualized warm up plus the iso-
metric exercises did effectively promote PAP in the
musculature of all athletes or if it induced more
fatigue than PAP in some of them.
Silva et al. (2014) found a 6% time reduction in a
20-km cycling time trial after adding 4 sets of 5RM
leg press to a 5 min submaximal cycling warm-up.
This improvement in performance was associated
with an improved cycling economy. While the PAP
effect did not affect pacing strategy, a trend (p
= .06) for a higher mean power output during the
first 10% of the trial was observed. A noticeable limit-
ation of this study is that the control condition
included a very short warm-up, which was likely
insufficient for an optimum activation of the aerobic
metabolism.
The application of PAP responses after specific
warm-up protocols for endurance performance has
been an under-explored area. However, caution
should be taken given that the PAP effect of con-
ditioning activities during warm-up lasts < 12 min
(Seitz & Haff, 2016). Therefore, its positive influence
could be expected only during the first minutes of the
subsequent exercise, with potentially limited applica-
bility in competitive settings (Docherty & Hodgson,
2007). This acute effect would be more important
in efforts of short duration as the duration of PAP
represents a significant percentage during such brief
events. PAP eliciting warm-up strategies may also
have a potential for performance enhancement in
events longer than sprints (Kilduff et al., 2011)
when added to PAP elicited by muscle activity itself
during endurance competition, considering that any
little advantage in elite sport could be decisive for
success. Further studies should elucidate in every
sport, the mode, duration and intensity of different
exercises and their combinations for the enhance-
ment of muscle force production while avoiding the
deleterious effect of fatigue of different origin
(Tomaras & MacIntosh, 2011). Given that previous
studies have used brief high-intensity exercises to
induce PAP, it is still to be resolved if a more specific
stimuli for endurance athletes (e.g. continuous
specific exercise below the lactate threshold over >
20 min), or a combination of both stimuli would
induce a greater acute PAP effect than a standard
warm up. Importantly, it would be recommended
to differentiate with appropriate experimental
designs the influence of PAP from other warm-up
objectives as muscle temperature elevation and meta-
bolic activation (McGowan et al., 2015). This issue
could be solved with the use of a standardized
warm-up with known exercises for athletes, while
controlling both muscle temperature and cardiome-
tabolic responses. In addition, while a recent study
(Stoter et al., 2016) has suggested that an intended
fast start does not induce an improvement in
short endurance performances, it could be speculated
that the increments in power output via PAP could
be advantageous as they are not consciously regulated
and, therefore, would not consume any cognitive
resources that could influence on perceived exertion.
PAP during testing, training and
competitions
Enhancement of contractile activity during and after
testing, training and competition has been described
in the literature. Previous studies have observed sim-
ultaneously the presence of potentiation and muscle
fatigue of different origin in single muscles or whole
body measures. Collectively, these previous findings
may be suggesting that exercise load and athletes
training background could be the main modulators
of the PAP/fatigue relationship.
The current evidence would confirm that endur-
ance athletes exhibit greater PAP responses after pro-
longed submaximal conditioning activities, contrary
to power athletes who benefit more from brief
maximal or near maximal conditioning activities, fol-
lowing the principle of training specificity. For
Post-Activation Potentiation (PAP) in Endurance Sports 11
instance, Morana and Perrey (2009) showed a pro-
longed prevalence of potentiation over muscle
fatigue by means of percutaneous stimulation in
endurance trained (n= 8) compared to power-
trained athletes (n= 7) during 10 min of submaximal
(50% of MVC) intermittent contractions of knee
extensors. Interestingly, in this study (Morana &
Perrey, 2009), the maximal rate of torque develop-
ment during evoked contractions in the endurance
group at the end of the conditioning activity increased
(from 966 ± 245 to 1580 ± 632 Nm·s
1
) until levels
similar to those observed in the power group at the
start of the conditioning activity (1544 ±
352 Nm·s
1
). Furthermore, the peak torque of the
endurance group was significantly elevated during
the whole protocol (from 30.0 ± 5.9 to 38.3 ±
11.0 N·m), while the power group was significantly
depressed from the second half of the protocol until
the end (from 43.4 ± 9.5 to 31.1 ± 10.4 N·m). On
the other hand, another study reported greater PAP
after 10 s MVCs of knee extensors in power-trained
compared to endurance-trained female athletes who
also exhibited a more rapid decline in PAP after
MVCs (Paasuke et al., 2007). Meanwhile, the
classic study of Hamada et al. (2000) showed that
endurance athletes exhibited PAP in trained
muscles after 10 s MVCs compared to active and
sedentary controls. Thus, although it seems that
endurance athletes could benefit from both
maximal and submaximal contractions in trained
muscles, it seems that they could benefit more from
specific submaximal contractions when testing PAP
responses with the twitch interpolation technique.
The results of previous findings in laboratory con-
ditions with different neuromuscular evaluations
(Millet et al., 2002; Millet, Martin et al., 2003;
Millet, Millet et al., 2003; Skof & Strojnik, 2006a,
2006b; Vuorimaa et al., 2006) have confirmed an
enhanced contractile capacity in endurance athletes
after endurance exercises of different duration. Pre-
viously, Millet et al. (2002) reported a severely
depressed maximal voluntary force capacity and a
potentiated twitch mechanical response after an
ultra-marathon. Subsequently, the only study with
cyclists (Millet, Millet et al., 2003) evaluated the
twitch responses after a prolonged 140-km race and
reported an enhancement of the rate of twitch force
development despite a decrease in MVC, although
some caution should be taken given the low number
(n= 4) of participants evaluated. Similarly, Millet,
Martin et al. (2003) showed greater peak mechanical
response during electrically evoked single twitches,
faster RFD, and shorter contraction time in the fati-
gued state after a ski skating marathon. More
recently, (Vuorimaa et al., 2006) showed a jump
potentiation, after constant pace running of 40 min
at 80% of velocity associated with maximum oxygen
consumption (vVO
2max
)(14.5%), that was greater
compared to 40 min of 2 min intervals at vVO
2max
interspersed with 2 min of recovery (10.7%), and
after a treadmill incremental test (8.9%). In
another study with endurance runners, Skof and
Strojnik (2006b) observed concurrent evidence of
fatigue and potentiation after a non-exhausting 6-
km run at anaerobic threshold. In this study (Skof
& Strojnik, 2006b), muscle activation level, (i.e. %
change in knee extension torque assessed with and
without a superimposed twitch of 100 Hz, during a
MVC) was similar before and after the run, while
maximum twitch torque was enhanced 10 min after
the run and remained elevated over 60 min of recov-
ery. In another study, the same authors (Skof & Stroj-
nik, 2006a) reported that, 10 min after 5 × 300 m
intervals at 24 km·h
1
(i.e. 5% lower than the best
400 m run), the twitch torque exceeded the pre-
workload value by 11% (p< .01) and that the poten-
tiation lasted 40 min, despite evidence of low-fre-
quency fatigue (i.e. a more pronounced reduction
in torque at low-frequency stimulation vs. high fre-
quency stimulation) and a high blood lactate concen-
tration. Collectively, this evidence would suggest that
higher exercise intensities could induce a worse
potentiation/fatigue balance than prolonged endur-
ance activities, with metabolic fatigue symptoms (e.g.
elevated lactate) being not related to PAP responses.
Other recent studies in the field (Boullosa et al.,
2011; Boullosa & Tuimil, 2009; Garcia-Pinillos
et al., 2015,2016) have confirmed the acute effect
of different endurance running exercises on jump
potentiation of endurance athletes. For instance, it
has been previously reported a greater (12.7 vs.
3.5%) and more prolonged (7 min vs. 2 min)
jump potentiation after the Université de Montréal
Track Test (UMTT) (30 min) compared to a
time limit at vVO
2max
test (5 min) (Boullosa &
Tuimil, 2009). Subsequently, another study (Boul-
losa et al., 2011) with runners and triathletes revealed
jump potentiation, 2 min after the UMTT. Athletes
with lower peak force loss during the eccentric
phase of the CMJ exhibited a greater peak power in
the concentric phase and subsequently a greater
jump potentiation after exhaustion. Moreover, the
increment in peak power was related to the increment
in sprint velocity after exhaustion (Boullosa et al.,
2011) in those athletes who exhibited more jump
potentiation. The jump potentiation after incremen-
tal tests and interval training sessions were also con-
firmed by Garcia-Pinillos et al. (2016) who
observed jump potentiation after an incremental
shuttle run test, and over an extended interval train-
ing session (4 × 3 × 400 m) (Garcia-Pinillos et al.,
2015). Interestingly, the recorded jump potentiation
12 D. Boullosa et al.
at the end of the interval training session showed a
correlation with the enhancement in handgrip
strength in the responders group (Garcia-Pinillos
et al., 2015), maybe suggesting a possible central
origin of this improvement in contractile capacity.
Overall, these studies in the field do confirm how
potentiation responses could be monitored with
simple exercises as jumps for a better understanding
of the effect of different training and evaluation exer-
cises on acute neuromuscular adaptations of endur-
ance runners. However, it is still unknown if the
jump potentiation does effectively correspond to
PAP responses assessed with the twitch interpolation
technique. In addition, it would be necessary to
understand how these responses could vary, not
only after different exercises, but also during different
moments of the season when examining the appropri-
ate PAP/fatigue responses during training sessions to
illustrate the best chronic adaptations.
There are five studies (Del Rosso et al., 2016;
McIntyre et al., 2012; Pageaux et al., 2017; Place
et al., 2004; Rousanoglou et al., 2016) evaluating
the neuromuscular function during and after endur-
ance multistage trials that, in some cases, observed
PAP or jump potentiation during the course of the
endurance activity. Place et al. (2004) were the first
to describe a depression of maximal voluntary force
generating capability in the final stages of a submax-
imal (i.e. 55% of maximum aerobic speed) 5-h
running exercise, but with a simultaneous peak
twitch potentiation. More recently, McIntyre et al.
(2012) evaluated cycling peak power output, drop
jump performance, and isokinetic strength during
and after 20-min stages at 70% of VO
2peak
until
exhaustion. They found that peak power output
during cycling was potentiated in some athletes at
the end of the first stages, and that the decline of
this measure after exhaustion was strongly correlated
to the change in drop jump height (McIntyre et al.,
2012). Interestingly, a jump potentiation was
observed over a 30-km trial in half-marathon
runners (i.e. after every 5-km stage) with its
maximum at 25 km when the athletes exhibited the
greatest rise in rating of perceived exertion (RPE)
and decline in speed (Del Rosso et al., 2016). The
results of this study (Del Rosso et al., 2016)may
suggest that PAP may be a mechanism by which the
neuromuscular system counteracts the deleterious
effect of fatigue of different origins. In another
recent study (Rousanoglou et al., 2016), it was
found that jump height was maintained immediately
after a mountain half-marathon race but was sub-
sequently reduced at 5 min of recovery. The
authors of this study observed several changes in
the timing kinetics during jumping, and suggested
that these responses could be attributable to the
existence of concurrent PAP and muscle fatigue,
probably because of the greater eccentric demands
of the last downhill part of the race. More recently,
Pageaux et al. (2017) evaluated the influence of per-
forming different exercise modes during 1 h on a
10 km running race in a group of triathletes, and
found that both running and uphill walking induced
PAP whereas cycling did not. Thus, these studies
(Del Rosso et al., 2016; McIntyre et al., 2012;
Pageaux et al., 2017; Place et al., 2004; Rousanoglou
et al., 2016) would confirm that PAP could be
observed in competitive settings, with multistage
trials demonstrating to be a valid paradigm to evaluate
PAP in relation to endurance performance. However,
studies analysing the kinetics of PAP and fatigue of
different origins during continuous prolonged endur-
ance exercises are still lacking (Millet & Lepers, 2004).
From the current evidence, it is clear that PAP
responses can be assessed during and after intermittent
and continuous endurance exercises for training moni-
toring in different settings. In practical terms, simple
measures such as jump height could be very useful to
monitor PAP responses and their interaction with
fatigue of different origin, although the sensitivity of
different instruments and the selection of performance
measures should be taken into account (Boullosa et al.,
2011; Boullosa, Abreu, Beltrame, et al., 2013). Studies
verifying PAP during jumping with twitch verification
are still lacking in endurance athletes, with squat
jump being a potentially valid test in this context
(Nibali et al., 2013). Additionally, well controlled
studies are needed to identify the optimal intensity
and duration of work and reliefintervals in intermittent
exercises for the best PAP/fatigue balance when
looking for the best chronic adaptations. Further
studies should also verify the influence of PAP during
and after different modes of exercise (e.g. cycling vs.
running) and their combinations, given the variable
PAP responses during different muscular actions
(MacIntosh, 2010). Thus, while jumping could be
very useful for evaluation of endurance runners, it
could be recommended that specific ergometers be
used for evaluation of PAP in sports with other neuro-
muscular demands (e.g. skiers, skaters). Recording of
different neuromuscular, metabolic, and perceptual
measures, could be very useful for better understand-
ing the true significance of PAP responses in endur-
ance performance.
Future perspectives
Determination of the best warm-up routines for max-
imizing the PAP effects on endurance efforts of differ-
ent duration is warranted in every sport. Further
studies should elaborate on the role of PAP for per-
formance and pacing in endurance events of different
Post-Activation Potentiation (PAP) in Endurance Sports 13
duration. In this context, it should be also verified if
the capacity of force preservation at exhaustion
(Marcora & Staiano, 2010; Morales-Alamo et al.,
2015) may be influenced by PAP. Given that twitch
force potentiation can be accompanied by a decline
in motor units discharge rates (Klein et al., 2001), a
phenomenon that could be speculated to induce a
greater efficiency during endurance activities, future
studies should also evaluate how efficiency could be
influenced by PAP. In this regard, attention should
be taken to consider a number of methodological
aspects, given the contradictory results observed
when examining running economy changes after
ultra-marathons (Vernillo, Millet, & Millet, 2017).
As only longitudinal studies for the evaluation of
endurance training on PAP were performed with
non-athletes in laboratory settings (Mettler &
Griffin, 2012,2016), chronic studies with athletes
are urgently needed for verifying the best training
stimuli that improve the PAP/fatigue balance. Given
that RLC kinase polymorphisms have recently
demonstrated to influence muscle damage and
power production in runners after a marathon (Del
Coso et al., 2016), new venues could be open with
examination of genetic variants that influence both
kinase and phosphatase activities.
Conclusions
The current review suggests the existence of PAP
mechanism during and after endurance performances
in endurance athletes. It is still unknown what the
exact role that this acute adaptation could play
during training and competitions. While different exer-
cises in the warm-up may enhance muscle power pro-
duction during subsequent short endurance activities
via PAP, it would seem that the submaximal endurance
activity itself could be more important in longer events
with PAP maybe counteracting the negative conse-
quences of fatigue of different origin, possibly enhan-
cing muscular efficiency and pacing. However, this
later hypothesis should be appropriately tested. There
is an urgent need for chronic studies for verifying the
effectiveness of different training interventions in
both PAP responses and endurance performance.
Monitoring PAP, muscle and perceptual fatigue
during training sessions and simulated competitions
could be very useful for a better understanding of
acute and chronic adaptations of endurance athletes.
Acknowledgement
The authors would like to thank the editor and
reviewers involved during the peer review process
for their outstanding contributions.
Disclosure statement
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.
Funding
Daniel A. Boullosa is supported by CNPq with a productivity
research grant (Grant number 305131/2015-0).
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... On the other hand, previous studies have demonstrated the appropriateness of simple explosive exercises involving the stretch-shortening cycle as jumps (i.e., countermovement jump, CMJ) for assessing lower limbs neuromuscular function in endurance runners of different levels (Boullosa and Tuimil 2009;Boullosa et al. 2011Boullosa et al. , 2018García-Pinillos et al. 2015. In this regard, it has been also suggested that a better potentiation/fatigue balance would be expected in endurance-trained athletes during and after conditioning activities as is the case of interval training running sessions (Boullosa et al. 2018). ...
... On the other hand, previous studies have demonstrated the appropriateness of simple explosive exercises involving the stretch-shortening cycle as jumps (i.e., countermovement jump, CMJ) for assessing lower limbs neuromuscular function in endurance runners of different levels (Boullosa and Tuimil 2009;Boullosa et al. 2011Boullosa et al. , 2018García-Pinillos et al. 2015. In this regard, it has been also suggested that a better potentiation/fatigue balance would be expected in endurance-trained athletes during and after conditioning activities as is the case of interval training running sessions (Boullosa et al. 2018). However, to the best of our knowledge, there is no evidence on the role that intensity during recovery might play for perceptual, physiological and neuromuscular responses during AIT running sessions, particularly when performed in the field by well-trained endurance runners. ...
... This may suggest that the completion of additional bouts by our subjects would be feasible. Meanwhile, the regular use of vertical jump evaluations during HIIT sessions can be recommended to monitor the neuromuscular impact of different HIIT sessions to simultaneously evaluate the acute and chronic effects of different HIIT schemes (Boullosa et al. 2018;García-Pinillos et al. 2021). ...
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Purpose To compare cardio-metabolic, perceptual and neuromuscular responses to an aerobic interval training (AIT) run- ning session, with active (AR) vs. passive recovery (PR). Methods Eleven well-trained male distance runners (36.63 ± 6.93 years, 59.26 ± 5.27 mL·kg −1 ·min −1 , ⁓ 35 min in 10 km) completed the University of Montréal Track Test (UMTT) and 2 AIT sessions on track in random order, which consisted of 4 × 2 min at 100% of the maximum aerobic speed (MAS), with 2 min of AR at 80% of the velocity associated to the second ventilatory threshold (vVT 2 ), or no exercise (i.e., PR). During sessions, oxygen consumption (V̇O 2 ), heart rate (HR), blood lactate [La], rating of perceived exertion (RPE), and countermovement jump (CMJ) were continuously monitored. Results There were no differences in time spent in the “red zone” (i.e. > 90% V̇ O 2max ) between sessions (222 ± 73 s AR vs. 230 ± 104 s PR, p = 0.588), although the PR exhibited a greater time spent at peak V̇O 2 close to significance (117 ± 114 vs. 158 ± 109 s, p = 0.056). However, the AR elicited a higher mean V ̇ O 2 (49.62 ± 5.91 vs. 47.46 ± 4.20 mL·kg −1 ·min −1 , p = 0.021). The AR favored a lower [La] after sessions (6.93 ± 2.22 vs. 6.24 ± 1.93 mmol·L −1 , p = 0.016) and a higher RPE during sessions (15 ± 0.45 vs. 14 ± 0.47, p = 0.045). Meanwhile, the CMJ was significantly potentiated during both sessions. Conclusion Considering that PR elicited lower perceptual loading for a similar cardiorespiratory response, its use would be preferable, at least, for this type of AIT running sessions.
... Isometric holds are also hypothesized to increase post-activation potentiation of targeted muscle groups by increasing a recruitment of higher order motor units following intervention (2). This increase in recruitment prior to performance may hypothetically allow for the muscle group to increase neuromuscular firing while training and increase neuromuscular activity (13,14). ...
... In theory, by decreasing the amount of Ca 2+ needed to stimulate the contractile fibers, an increase in muscular recruitment may be seen. Other alternative benefits may also include an increase of muscle temperature, metabolic response, and in blood flow, which all have been linked to increase in performance (2). The combination of the above factors, if able to be established, can allow for significant differences in running athlete performance and injury prevention. ...
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The objective of this review was to identify studies that report the pre-exercise effects of isometric exercise versus static stretching on performance and injury rates of running athletes in comparison to their outcomes. Seven electronic databases were searched: Cochrane, PEDro, CINAHL, PubMed, MEDLINE, SportDiscus, and GoogleScholar. Data was collected using an established PICO question, and assembled logic grid. The included articles were required to (1) assess running performance or injury prevention and (2) include isometric exercises/muscle activation and/or static stretching. Articles published prior to the year 2000, non-English, and non-human studies were excluded. Quality was assessed using the PEDro quality appraisal tool for RCTs, and NIH-NHLBI appraisal tool for others. The Cochrane collaboration tool for risk of bias as well as the PRISMA 2020 statement were also used in this review. In the nine articles appraised in the study, variables assessed included running economy, injury rate, soreness levels, sprint times, and countermovement and drop jump height. Static stretching demonstrated a significant negative effect on sprint performance and countermovement/drop jump height. It also demonstrated a decrease in variables associated with injury over extended periods and no impact on running economy. Isometric holds demonstrated no significant effect on sprint performance or countermovement/drop jump height. It also demonstrated decreases in soreness levels and no impact on running economy. Isometric holds have positive effects/fewer negative results on running athletes when compared to static stretching for pre-exercise performance. Research with decreased risk of bias is needed to determine maximal benefits from timing/dosage of isometric hold in warm-up.
... The differing definitions and citations used has led to confusion amongst researchers. Accordingly, this confusion, and subsequent discrepancies in terminology, are reflected in a large number of acute studies (i.e., time-course of potentiation in one session following conditioning contractions) and reviews on the topic [27,[41][42][43][44][45][46][47][70][71][72][73], hence the importance to clarify. ...
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... However, other tests more strongly related to muscle power characteristics may reveal significant results. In addition, another potential mechanism mediating the role of muscular power and running performance is post-activation performance enhancement (PAPE) [48,49]. Particularly, PAPE should occur after submaximal endurance work is accumulated, thus counteracting the negative consequences of fatigue and possibly enhancing muscular efficiency [23] and pacing [50]. ...
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... e performance of male athletes in the 1,000-meter running had not improved significantly, and the performance of female athletes in the 1,000-meter running had declined. For factors such as these, it had failed to prove in depth the reliability of the optimal loading height of reactive strength in evaluating the performance of 1,000meter running [18]. ...
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Plyometrics training is paid great attention by coaches and researchers because of its significant effect on the level of lower limb explosive athletes and, research has confirmed the use of biomechanical research methods to determine the height of the load jump deep this plyometrics training typical training means for athletes special physical training,sports Injury Prevention and other aspects of the better, and has the characteristics of accuracy, objectivity.The researchers' findings in determining optimal loading height were highly biased and not applied effectively to training practices.This paper reviews the development process of optimal loading height in drop jump training, combs the relevant concepts and biomechanical mechanisms of optimal loading height in drop jump training,and looks forward to the future research.
... PAP enhances sports performance through the following mechanisms: (a) increased number of active motor units (motor unit recruitment), enhanced motor unit synchronization, decreased presynaptic inhibition, and increased number of nerve impulses transmitted [9,11]; (b) modifications in pennation angle; and (c) phosphorylation of myosin regulatory light chains [9,11]. After receiving the appropriate conditioning stimulus, performance optimization depends on the balance between fatigue and potentiation [12]. PAP depends on athletes' training level, muscle fiber type, muscle contraction type and duration, and stimulus volume and intensity [13]. ...
Article
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Objective: This study aimed to compare the acute effects of a full squat (SQ) or hip thrust (HT) with two different loading intensities (60% and 85% 1 RM) on sprint ability in junior male tennis players. Methods: Nineteen tennis players were included in this research. They underwent four different experimental conditions: HT at 60% 1 RM, HT at 85% 1 RM, SQ at 60% 1 RM, or SQ at 85%. The force–velocity (F–V) profile was used to assess tennis players’ sprint acceleration ability before and after applying the conditioning stimulus. The variables registered were as follows: 5 m test (5 m), 10 m test (10 m), maximum theoretical force (F0), maximum power (Pmax), and the maximal ratio of horizontal-to-resultant force (RFpeak). Results: Significant improvements in 5 m, Pmax, and RFpeak were observed when the conditioning stimulus was performing one set of seven reps of HT at 60% 1 RM. When the activation protocol was one set of seven reps of SQ at 60% 1 RM, significant improvements in 5 m, 10 m, F0, Pmax (N), and RFpeak were detected. Additionally, performing one set of three reps of SQ at 85% 1 RM as an activation protocol provided significant improvements in F0. Conclusion: The use of HT and SQ with a load of 60% 1 RM improved the sprint F–V profile components related to the acceleration phase of the sprint in junior tennis players. Using intensity loads of 85% 1 RM is not adequate to increase acute sprint performance in this population. HT presents a higher transferability to sprinting in the first 5 m of sprinting, whereas SQ provides acute improvements in different sprinting phases.
... In addition, acupuncture may induce the PAP effect by stimulating nerves to increase the recruitment of high-speed motoneurons; there are two common mechanisms of the PAP effect: one is the increased sensitivity of actin and myosin on Ca 2+ release due to the phosphorylation of myosin-regulated light chains, and the other is the increased excitability of α-motoneurons reflected by H reflex changes [8]. Endurance athletes exhibit better PAP-fatigue balance after submaximal conditioning activities [21]; the PAP effect can counteract the peak force loss after fatigue and increase the power output and work capacity of the motor units [22]. erefore, in this study, another reason for the increased work and power in post1 of the elbow extension-flexion muscle group may be that acupuncture stimulates the nerve to induce the PAP effect and is more conducive to balance PAP-fatigue after submaximal conditioning activity, thereby enhancing the antifatigue performance in endurance exercises. ...
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The fatiguing effect of long distance running has been examined in the context of a variety of parameters. However, there is scarcity of data regarding its effect on the vertical jump mechanics. The purpose of this study was to investigate the alterations of countermovement jump (CMJ) mechanics after a halfmarathon mountain race. Twenty seven runners performed CMJs before the race (Pre), immediately after the race (Post 1) and five minutes after Post 1 (Post 2). Instantaneous and ensembleaverage analysis focused on jump height and, the maximum peaks and timeto maximum peaks of: Displacement, vertical force (Fz), anteriorposterior force (Fx), Velocity and Power, in the eccentric (tECC) and concentric (tCON) phase of the jump, respectively. Repeated measures ANOVAs were used for statistical analysis (p ≤ 0.05). The jump height decrease was significant in Post 2 (-7.9%) but not in Post 1 (-4.1%). Fx and Velocity decreased significantly in both Post 1 (only in tECC) and Post 2 (both tECC and tCON). A timing shift of the Fz peaks (earlier during tECC and later during tCON) and altered relative peak times (only in tECC) were also observed. Ensemble-average analysis revealed several time intervals of significant post-race alterations and a timing shift in the Fz Velocity loop. An overall trend of lowered postrace jump output and mechanics was character-ised by altered jump timing, restricted anterior-posterior movement and altered force velocity relations. The specificity of mountain running fatigue to eccentric muscle work, appears to be reflected in the different time order of the post-race reductions, with the eccentric phase reductions preceding those of the concentric one. Thus, those who engage in mountain running should particularly consider downhill training to optimise eccentric muscular action.
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This study aimed to determine whether kinematic data during countermovement jump (CMJ) might explain post-activation potentiation (PAP) phenomenon after an exhausting running test. Thirty-three trained endurance runners performed the Léger Test; an incremental test which consists of continuous running between two lines 20 m apart. CMJ performance was determined before (pre-test) and immediately after the protocol (post-test). Sagittal plane, video of CMJs was recorded and kinematic data were obtained throughout 2-Dimensional analysis. In addition to the duration of eccentric and concentric phases of CMJ, hip, knee and ankle angles were measured at four key points during CMJ: the lowest position of the squat, take-off, landing, and at the lowest position after landing. Additionally, heart rate was monitored, and rate of perceived exertion was recorded at post-test. Analysis of variance revealed a significant improvement in CMJ (p = 0.002) at post-test. Cluster analysis grouped according to whether PAP was experienced (responders group: RG, n = 25) or not (non-responders group: NRG, n = 8) relative to CMJ change from rest to post-test. RG significantly improved (p < 0.001) the performance in CMJ, whereas NRG remained unchanged. Kinematic data did not show significant differences between RG and NRG. Thus, the data suggest that jumping kinematic does not provide the necessary information to explain PAP phenomenon after intensive running exercises in endurance athletes.
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Impairment of skeletal muscle function has been associated with changes in ovarian hormones, especially estradiol. To elucidate mechanisms of estradiol on skeletal muscle strength, the hormone's effects on phosphorylation of the myosin regulatory light chain (pRLC) and muscle contractility were investigated hypothesizing an estradiol-specific beneficial impact. In a skeletal muscle cell line, C2C12, pRLC was increased by 17β estradiol (E2) in a concentration-dependent manner. In skeletal muscles of C57BL/6 mice that were E2 deficient via ovariectomy (OVX), pRLC was lower than that from ovary-intact, sham-operated mice (Sham). The reduced pRLC in OVX muscle was reversed by in vivo E2 treatment. Post tetanic potentiation (PTP) of muscle from OVX mice was low compared to that from Sham mice and this decrement was reversed by acute E2 treatment demonstrating physiological consequence. Western blot of those muscles revealed that low PTP corresponded with low pRLC, and higher PTP with greater pRLC. We aimed to elucidate signaling pathways affecting E2-mediated pRLC using a kinase inhibitor library and C2C12 cells, as well as a specific myosin light chain kinase inhibitor in muscles. PI3K/AKT, MAPK and CamKII were identified as candidate kinases sensitive to E2 in terms of phosphorylating RLC. Applying siRNA strategy in C2C12 cells, pRLC triggered by E2 was found to be mediated by estrogen receptor β and the G-protein coupled estrogen receptor. Together, these results provide evidence that E2 modulates myosin pRLC in skeletal muscle and is one mechanism by which this hormone can affect muscle contractility in females.
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Purpose Given the co-existence of post-activation potentiation (PAP) and fatigue within muscle, it is not known whether PAP could influence performance and pacing during distance running by moderating fatigue. The aim of this study was to assess the influence of PAP on pacing, jumping and other physiological measures during a self-paced 30 km trial. Methods Eleven male endurance-trained runners (half-marathon runners) volunteered to participate in this study. Runners participated in a multi-stage 30 km trial. Before the trial started, determination of baseline blood lactate (bLa) and countermovement jump (CMJ) height was performed. The self-paced 30 km trial consisted of 6 × 5 km splits. At the end of each 5 km split (60 s break), data on time to complete the split, CMJ height, Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) and blood lactate were collected while heart rate was continuously monitored. Results There was a significant decrease in speed (e.g. positive pacing strategy after the 4th split, p<0.05) with a progressive increase in RPE throughout the trial. Compared with baseline, CMJ height was significantly (p<0.05) greater than baseline and was maintained until the end of the trial with an increase after the 5th split, concomitant with a significant reduction in speed and an increase in RPE. Significant correlations were found between ΔCMJ and ΔSPEED (r = 0.77 to 0.87, p<0.05) at different time points as well as between RPE and speed (r = -0.61 to -0.82, p<0.05). Conclusion Our results indicates that fatigue and potentiation co-exist during long lasting endurance events, and that the observed increase in jump performance towards the end of the trial could be reflecting a greater potentiation potentially perhaps counteracting the effects of fatigue and preventing further reductions in speed.
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The purpose of this study is to analyze acute effect of running extended interval training(EIT) on vertical jump (VJ) and handgrip strength (HS) performance in experienced endurance athletes. In order to analyze mechanical parameters of the VJ and HS between runs, sixteen experienced male athletes performed an EIT (4x3x400m). The results show that fatigue induced by EIT does not impair handgrip strength or VJ performance. A significant improvement (p< .05) was noted for VJ due to the postactivation potentiation (PAP) phenomenon. A positive correlation (r= .619, p= .011) was found between VJ and lactate. The results suggest that experienced long-distance runners can maintain their strength levels and, consequently, work capacity, despite the induced fatigue by the field training demand. Therefore, VJ performance during EIT can be used as an indicator of muscular adaptations to training and, together, with handgrip strength, become indicators of fatigue. These indicators allow proper prescription training routines.
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Post-activation potentiation (PAP) is the increased involuntary muscle twitch response to stimulation following strong contraction. The enhancement to whole-body explosive muscular performance (PE) after heavy-resistance exercise is often attributed to modulations in neuromuscular function that are proposed to reflect PAP, but the evidence to support this is equivocal. We assessed the neuromuscular basis of PE using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of the primary motor cortex, and electrical stimulation of the femoral nerve. Eleven male athletes performed heavy-resistance exercise with measures of countermovement jump (CMJ) pre- and 8 min post-exercise. Pre-exercise and after the final CMJ, single- and paired-pulse TMS were delivered during submaximal isometric knee-extensor contractions to measure corticospinal excitability, short-interval intracortical inhibition (SICI), and intracortical facilitation (ICF), with motor evoked potentials recorded from rectus femoris. Twitch responses to motor nerve stimulation during and post maximum-knee-extensor contractions were studied to quantify voluntary activation (VA) and potentiated twitch (Qtw,pot ). The experimental protocol successfully induced PE (+4 ± 1% change in CMJ, P = 0.01), but no changes were observed for maximum voluntary force, VA, corticospinal excitability, SICI or ICF (all P > 0.05), and Qtw,pot declined (P < 0.001). An enhancement of muscular performance after heavy-resistance exercise was not accompanied by PAP, or changes in measures of neuromuscular function.
Article
Purpose To quantify how whole-body power, muscle-function, and jump-performance measures change during prolonged cycling and recovery and determine whether there are relationships between the different fatigue measures. Methods Ten competitive or recreationally active male cyclists underwent repeated 20-min stages of prolonged cycling at 70% VO 2peak until exhaustion. Whole-body peak power output (PPO) was assessed using an all-out 30-s sprint 17 min into each cycle stage. Ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were recorded throughout. Isometric and isokinetic muscle-function tests were made between cycle stages, over ~6 min, and during 30-min recovery. Drop-jump measures were tested at exhaustion and during recovery. Results PPO initially increased or was maintained in some subjects but fell to 81% of maximum at exhaustion. RPE was near maximal (18.7) at exhaustion, with the time to exhaustion related to the rate of rise of RPE. PPO first started to decline only when RPE exceeded 16 (ie, hard). Peak isometric and concentric isokinetic torque (180°/s) for the quadriceps fell to 86% and 83% of pretest at exhaustion, respectively. In contrast, the peak concentric isokinetic torque (180°/s) of the hamstrings increased by 10% before declining to 93% of maximum. Jump height fell to 92% of pretest at exhaustion and was correlated with the decline in PPO ( r = .79). Muscle-function and jump-performance measures did not recover over the 30-min postexercise rest period. Conclusions At exhaustion, whole-body power, muscle-function, and jump-performance measures had all fallen by 7–19%. PPO and drop-jump decrements were linearly correlated and are appropriate measures of maximal performance.