Effect of postactivation potentiation upon an agility test
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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The ability change direction while sprinting is a determinant of sport performance in many field and court sports. Performance has theorised to be enhanced following a maximal or near maximal contraction for a subsequent explosive sports activity; this may be possible by inducing acute Postactivation Potentiation (PAP). PAP refers to the phenomenon by which the muscle elicits a heightened state of skeletal muscle, facilitating the volitional production of force. The potentiated state has been attributed to phosphorylation of myosin regulatory light chains, which makes actin and myosin more sensitive to Ca2+, also to an increase in neural activation. Recent studies have applied the principles of PAP to short-term motor performance as well as using it as a method for producing long-term neuromuscular changes through complex training. Complex training couples a dynamic maximal strength training exercise, with a biomechanically similar plyometric exercise. Optimal performance occurs when fatigue has subsided but the potentiated effect still exists. No investigations have implemented the phenomenon of PAP to a subsequent agility performance. Sports involving explosive actions, at present, cannot assume that sprint training methods will enhance agility. The aim of this study therefore, was to assess whether the performance of 5 RM voluntary pre-conditioning contraction, would elicit a response on a subsequent agility test (n=11). Findings produced no significant evidence (0.05 alpha level) to support the hypothesis that performance and muscle activation increases after a pre-conditioning contraction, agility times were not significantly different pre and post-stimulus. However, no detrimental effects were observed. Before any conclusions can be made as to the efficacy of exploiting PAP as a warm up for explosive agility activities, or as part of a complex training protocol, further scientific research is required.
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