More Than A Feeling

You know that short-lived feeling of extra strength you get right after working out? Well, it's not just a feeling. Scientists describe the phenomenon as Postactivation Potentiation. This transient increase in muscle contractile performance is also known as Activity-Dependent Potentiation. New research published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research aimed to pinpoint the duration of the effect and see whether it could be produced on demand.

The study used 10 physically active men who were not actively engaged in strength training and had them take part in 5 randomized experimental sessions, each involving a set of 10 unilateral knee extensions performed at 30-second intervals. Peak torque was measured for each extension and over a period of 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 minutes after exercise. The results of all 5 sessions demonstrated that Postactivation Potentiation could indeed be induced, and that it lasts for approximately 12 minutes after the conclusion of training.

The Bigger Picture. Previous research induced Postactivation Potentiation with a set of reps spaced 5 to 10 seconds apart. Others have failed to produce the effect altogether. Since its duration is relatively short-lived it probably isn't useful to anyone other than professional and Olympic-class athletes. But it's nice to know that those powerful post-workout sensations aren't just in your head.
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