Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Health and Human Performance (Exercise Science Option)

Department or School/College

Department of Health and Human Performance

Committee Chair

Matthew Bundle

Commitee Members

Charles Dumke, Charlie Woida


Postactivation, Potentiation, Practical


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Sports Sciences


Banks, Steven, M.S., May 2016

Health and Human Performance, Exercise Science


Chairperson: Matthew Bundle Ph.D.

Postactivation potentiation (PAP) induced by a voluntary conditioning activity (CA) has been shown to increase peak force and rate of force development during subsequent muscle contractions increasing performance. We examined existing PAP literature, the underlying physiological mechanisms responsible for PAP, and the various factors that affect protocols used to elicit the PAP response. Furthermore, we aimed to determine what combination of factors are optimal for eliciting a PAP response in training and competition. The proposed mechanism underlying PAP are associated with a phosphorylation of regulatory light chains and an increase in neuromuscular activation through enhanced recruitment of faster motor units. The full understanding of these factors has been hindered by the confounding effects of muscle fatigue during brief intense muscular contractions. In addition to the physiological mechanisms responsible for the PAP phenomenon it is also critical to understand the effect subject characteristics have on PAP. An individual’s training status, strength level and muscle fiber type composition play a role in the magnitude of PAP response. These protocols use various approaches to stimulate and condition the muscle to elicit PAP. These protocols include traditional resistance training, maximum isometric voluntary contractions, whole body vibration and low-load ballistic exercises. Individuals with a higher training status (age), strength level and fast-twitch muscle fiber type distribution may be more likely to express PAP at a greater magnitude (if at all). These individual factors also must be considered when deciding which conditioning activity and rest interval to use when applying PAP in training or competition. From a practical standpoint, conditioning activities with short rest intervals are more advantageous for application. Further investigation is needed into the mechanisms of PAP under varying conditions, specifically how PAP could be applied to competitive sport and chronic adaptations from training.



© Copyright 2016 Steven T. Banks