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Is Strength Training a Waste of Time? It Could Be If You Don’t Add Post Activation Potentiation (PAP)

At FAST Athletics, we are dedicated to maximizing your athletic performance. One of the key strategies we use to enhance speed and agility in sports is Post-Activation Potentiation (PAP). By incorporating weights and plyometric exercises, we harness the power of PAP to ensure our athletes get the most out of their training sessions. In this blog, we'll explore what PAP is, why it works, and how FAST Athletics optimizes it to transform your strength into sport-specific speed and agility.


Understanding Post-Activation Potentiation (PAP)

Post-Activation Potentiation (PAP) is a phenomenon where muscle force output is temporarily enhanced as a result of its contractile history. In simpler terms, when you perform a heavy strength exercise, your muscles become more powerful and explosive shortly after, making subsequent high-velocity movements more effective. This is why lifting weights before engaging in speed and agility drills can significantly boost your performance.


Why Weights are Essential for PAP


Weights are crucial for activating PAP because they create the necessary muscle tension and neural activation required to enhance muscle performance. Here’s why weights are the best way to utilize PAP for improving your sport-specific movements:

  1. Increased Neural Drive: Heavy lifting stimulates the nervous system, increasing the activation of motor units. This enhanced neural drive translates to more powerful and explosive movements.

  2. Enhanced Muscle Fiber Recruitment: Lifting heavy weights recruits more muscle fibers, especially the fast-twitch fibers that are essential for explosive actions like sprinting, jumping, and rapid changes in direction.

  3. Strength and Power Synergy: Combining strength exercises with plyometrics creates a synergy that enhances both strength and speed, leading to better athletic performance.


FAST Athletics’ PAP Strategy


At FAST Athletics, we take advantage of PAP by pairing strength lifts with plyometrics and speed movements such as single-leg changes of direction, acceleration, pivoting, and shuffling. Here’s how we do it:


  1. Strength Lifts: We start with compound lifts like squats, deadlifts, or bench presses to activate the muscles and nervous system.

  2. Plyometrics: Following the strength lifts, we incorporate plyometric exercises like box jumps, broad jumps, and medicine ball throws to utilize the potentiated state of the muscles.

  3. Speed Movements: Finally, we perform sport-specific speed movements such as single-leg changes of direction, acceleration sprints, pivoting drills, and shuffling exercises. This ensures the strength and power gained from lifting are directly transferred to the movements you use in your sport


Why FAST Athletics’ Approach is Superior


Many lifting programs focus too much on the lifts themselves, neglecting the crucial aspect of sport-specific transfer. Here’s why our approach is better:


  1. Integrated Training: We seamlessly integrate strength, power, and speed training to ensure a direct transfer of strength gains to sport-specific skills.

  2. Functional Relevance: Our training is designed to mimic the movements and demands of your sport, ensuring that you are not just getting stronger but also becoming more effective in your athletic performance.

  3. Balanced Development: By combining heavy lifts with plyometrics and speed drills, we ensure balanced development of strength, power, and agility, reducing the risk of overuse injuries and enhancing overall athleticism.


Examples of PAP in Action


  • Squat to Sprint: Performing heavy squats followed by short sprints enhances the power and speed of your running mechanics.

  • Deadlift to Jump: Deadlifts paired with vertical jumps can significantly improve your explosive jumping ability, crucial for sports like hockey,


  • basketball and volleyball.

  • Bench Press to Medicine Ball Throws: Bench presses followed by explosive medicine ball throws can increase your upper body power, beneficial for sports like football and baseball.


At FAST Athletics, we believe in training smarter, not just harder. By leveraging the power of Post-Activation Potentiation and combining it with sport-specific drills, we help our athletes achieve peak performance. Join us to experience the difference that intelligent, integrated training can make in your athletic journey.


Contact us today to schedule your personalized speed training session and embark on the journey to becoming faster, stronger, and more agile than ever before.


Call or text Jayme at 612-839-8039 or email at Jayme@getfastmn.com


Servicing the Minnetonka, Hopkins, Wayzata, St Louis Park, Eden Prairie, and Orono communities.

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