It is a technique that many strength trainers use to give their athletes the advantage of a great workout or competition. And it even starts to gain ground before a game with elite rugby players. What's this?
It is called isometric post-activation potentiation or PAP for short. It's just a matter of doing a maximum isometric exercise and then waiting about 3-5 minutes before seeing an increased nerve drive.
The competitive advantage that you gain by doing so can be transferred to athletic speed and explosiveness as well as a more efficient nervous system. That means more power, more power and more muscle.
Secret Tricks of Trainers
In hidden backroom gyms, sometimes even in old janitorial cabinets in stadiums, there are strength trainers who simply prepare their athletes to push, pull and squat against immovable bars.
It does not seem like much happens … that is, until these athletes run to the field and defeat their opponent's number in the first game. But the benefits do not stop in the field or court. In the weight room you can gain an advantage.
There are studies that show an increase in performance measures, including an increase in jump height of 5.5 percent (Berning et al., 201
However, in isometric exercises, research is somewhat behind, and it is worth noting that the use of a strong dynamic contraction for PAP has been better researched. However, there are several advantages to using an isometric contraction:
In practice, there are many lifters who successfully use this technique to increase their repetitions and repetitions to failure (such as the 225 pound bench press test that is used in including the NFL) Combine) and those who do it as an extension of their warm-up exercises to reinforce their overall training.
Try it out and see for yourself what it feels like:
Setting as usual with bench press some warm-up sets that are starting to build up to your first working set for the day.
Now, before your first set of work, you put around 120 percent of your estimated RM value at the counter. Obtain a spotter in any case and start with a lighter weight if necessary. However, you only need to set up the armor and hold the lock in the locked position for 3 to 7 seconds before snapping it back into place.  Wait at least 4 minutes. Make your first set of work as intended and notice how much easier the bar feels and how many repetitions you could get if you so desire. What you feel is a PAP effect.
Types of Isometrics
Isometrics refers to exercises in which your muscles generate power without movement. This can best be accomplished by either pushing or pulling against a fixed resistor (referred to as the "overcoming isometry"), or by holding a resistor in a specific position that prevents gravity from pulling it down ("slack -Isometry ").
Back in 2004, Christian Thibaudeau wrote Isometrics for Mass and mentioned how he can be used as a potentiator. Before most of the research even existed, he was ahead of the game.
Isometrics can typically produce about 5-6 percent higher levels of motor activation than concentric and eccentric actions (Babault et al., 2001). This is partly why isometry might be superior to concentric and eccentric exercises when trying to induce a PAP effect.
From a practical point of view, it is much easier and safer to pull something immovable, to push or squat is the setting of a certain weight in some other PAP protocols. This is especially true when training athletes in groups.
So far investigations have identified two main mechanisms that may be involved. The first refers to increased phosphorylation of myosin chains, leading to increased calcium sensitivity in the muscle. The second is an increase in Type 1a afferent fiber and the excitability of α-motoneuron.
What we do know is that when it comes to an increase in performance we see that this is happening to our own eyes and we & # 39; I'm just beginning to see it in research. You can also see it first-hand, but there are a few important things that you need to know first.
Fatigue vs. Potentiation
Repeated muscle actions accumulate neurological and metabolic fatigue resulting in decreased performance. At the same time, the contractile properties are also improved for reasons that are not completely known.
During exercise, fatigue and potentiation are considered co-existent. It is the careful balance of each individual that determines whether performance is reduced or increased. If the fatigue after a PAP exercise is high, you may see a reduction instead of an increase in performance. This compromise is important to understand and why some protocols work while others do not work.
There will also be differences between the different lifters. Someone might experience a massive leap in performance while another person may not see enough jumps to reflect more weight on the bar or more reps.
Experienced lifters seem to show a greater leap in performance than beginners. There are some specific protocols we need to adhere to, but personal experimentation will be required.
There seems to be a good point when it comes to rest and everyone is a bit different. In 2013, a researcher showed an 8% increase in bounce 8 minutes after an isometric pull on the thigh (overcoming isometric deadlift from a mid-thigh). While after 4 minutes only a non-significant increase of 2.8 percent was recorded (Sapstead & Duncan 2013).
It is possible that isometries act more through peripheral mechanisms than a strong dynamic contraction, but this can also lead to central fatigue. In contrast, dynamic contractions can trigger a PAP response through central mechanisms, but accumulate more peripheral fatigue. This is important for your recovery because of the effects of isometry on the CNS.
Conclusion? Using isometrics for PAP is a powerful tool, but if you abuse it, it bites you in the ass. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- The potentiating movement must be very similar to the lift you want to increase.
- An isometric overcoming is best performed on the vulnerability of an elevator The isometric contraction should be as close as possible to your attachment point.
- The weight should be immobile for example against immovable pens in a rack.
- Isometric compliance is best is performed at the top of the elevator, where you are the strongest; At the top of a squat or bench press in the locked position. This is an over-maximum lift with 120-150 percent of your 1RM.
- The contraction must be maximal, the mere holding of a low isometry has no potentiating effect. A 5 minutes long wall occupation with the back against a stability ball will not cut it.
- For both isometric types (yielding and overcoming), each contraction should be held for 3-7 seconds.
- Do only 1-3 cluster reps per set. The number of sets you use depends on the protocol you use, as described below.
- You can stand between 3-8 minutes before the next set. The optimal time will be different for everyone.
- Try to find out which protocol works best for you. Test It Remember, it's a struggle between fatigue and potentiation, and you have to find your own balance.
You may need to get acquainted with the isometric / CAT contrast method for a short while before diving into it.  Result: Continuous spike potentiation for an explosive lift (like a dynamic power lift) or a movement (like a box jump).
Method: Isometric / CAT contrast method
- Heavy isometry (remainder 3 5 minutes)
- Explosive stroke / movement (pause 3-5 minutes)
- Repeat the desired sets
Result: Continuous spike potentiation for a heavy lift.
Method: Isometric / Max Effort Contrast Method
- Heavy Isometry (Remaining 3-5 Minutes)
- Max Powerlift (Rest 3-5 Minutes)  Repeat for desired sets
Result: Turn on the nervous system at the beginning of a workout.
Method: Pre-Workout Primer
- Normal Warm Up
- Heavy Isometry (remainder 3-5 minutes)
- Main Lift (start slightly heavier as normal)
Result: Exponentiate a single large lift or repetitions to pass a test, test, or competition (z 225 bench press test).
Method: Pre-Workout Primer
- Normal Warm Up
- Main lift, gaining weight but not getting tired
- Heavy isometry about 4-8 Minutes before testing / competition
|Exercise||Obtaining PAP *||Overcoming PAP – Immovable / Maximum|
|Bench Press Retains||Isometric Pressing Against Pins 4- 6 inches in front of the breast|
|Back Squats||Lockout holds||Isometric squats against the pins at a 90-120 degree bend angle|
|Deadlift||N / A||Isometric pull on the thigh  Snatches and Cleans||N / A|| Isometric pull on thigh
Heavy shrug iso-holds
|Vertical jumps||Squat||Lockout holds|| Isometric pull on thigh
Kniebeu Against the pins at a knee arch of 90-120 degrees
|Sprints and horizontal jumps|| Back seat t
|Heavy Glute Bridge Iso Hold|
* Yield PAP – 120-150 % 1RM
Benefit from the uniqueness of the isometric exercise. If you accept the prescribed protocols, you can expect almost immediate results.
Heavier squats very fast
Exploding then squatting
- N. Babault, M. Pousson, J. Ballay 7. Van Hoecke, J (2001) Activation of the human quadriceps femoris during isometric, concentric and eccentric contractions. Journal of Applied Physiology 91 (6): 2628-2634.
- French, D.N., Kraemer, W.J. & Cooke, C.B. (2003). Changes in dynamic exercise performance preconditioned after a series of isometric muscle actions. Journal of Force and Conditioning Research 17 (4): 678-685.
- Rixon, K.P., Lamont, H.S. & Bemben, M.G. (2007) Influence of the type of muscle contraction, sex and lifting on the potentiation of post-activation potentials. Journal of Force and Conditioning Research 21 (2): 500-505
- Berning, JM, Adams, KJ, M. DeBeliso, M., Sevene-Adams, PG, Harris, C. & Stamford , BA (2010) Effect of functional isometric squats on the vertical jump in trained and non-trained men. Journal of Force and Conditioning Research 24 (9): 2285-2289.
- Esformes, J.I., Keenan, M., Moody, J. & Bampouras, T.M. (2011) Influence of different types of conditioning contraction on post-activation potentiation of the upper body. Journal of Force and Conditioning Research 25 (1): 143-148.
- Sapstead, G. and Duncan, M. (2013) The acute effect of the isometric mid-thigh affects the stretch-shortening cycle of vertical jumps without stretch reduction. Medicina athletic. 17 (1): 7-11.