Some practical applications of post-activation potentiation for improving strength and power were discussed in last week’s post. Today’s post will piggy-back off of last week to discuss some interesting new research pertaining to post-activation potentiation and sprinting speed. There is ample research that demonstrates the effectiveness of heavy resistance training prior to a sprint to transiently increase acceleration ability. In the field, some coaches have athletes squat or deadlift a heavy load and follow it up with a 20 meter sprint. Some coaches will use heavy sled towing or sled pushing as the potentiator prior to short accelerations with good success. The reality of the situation however, is that performing heavy squats, deadlifts or even heavy sled work during warm-up prior to competition, on the side lines or before a race is very impractical. Thus, more convenient methods of deriving the benefits of post-activiation potentiation both quickly and with minimal equipment require investigation.
Some recent research published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research by Byrne et al. (2014) studied the effects of a warm-up including depth jumps on subsequent 20 meter sprint performance. A total of 29 collegiate male athletes from a variety of team sports participated in this randomized cross-over study. Three warm-up protocols were tested including a basic cardiovascular warm-up that involved 5 minutes of jogging; a dynmanic warm-up that included 10 dynamic stretches following 5 minutes of jogging; and finally a drop jump warm-up that included 5 mins of jogging, dynamic stretches and 3 depth jumps performed 15 seconds apart. Each athlete performed all 3 protocols on different days in random order. Depth jumps were based off of maximal jump height that was tested one week prior to trial commencement and also served as a familiarization session for each of the protocols.
Statistical analyses revealed significant differences between 20 meter sprint times among the 3 protocols. The dynamic warm-up group ran 2.2% faster than the control group (jogging warm-up). The depth jump group ran 5.01% faster than the control group. Finally, the drop jump group ran 2.93% faster than the dynamic warm-up group. Mean sprint times are displayed in the table below.
|3.3 ± 0.015||3.227 ± 0.116||
3.132 ± 0.116
In addition, analysis of individual performances showed that 27 of 29 subjects performed their best time following the drop jump protocol. Thus, it is quite clear that the depth jumps significantly improved 20 meter sprint time in this group of trained male athletes. These results lend support to more convenient methods of eliciting a post-activation potentiation effect in the field with no equipment need. Coaches should keep in mind however that depth jumps should be reserved for stronger, more advanced athletes as there are considerable forces involved from the eccentric overload that may not be suitable for younger, weaker athletes. With that in mind, performing a series of depth jumps one minute prior to sprinting can acutely increase speed and thus potentially result in a greater training effect.
Byrne, P. J., Kenny, J., & O’Rourke, B. (2014). Acute Potentiating Effect of Depth Jumps on Sprint Performance. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 28(3), 610-615.