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Power Boost

Power Boost
Using Post-Activation Potentiation
To Increase Power Output and Growth

Going through the motions in the gym is the death knell for all lifters. Once you’re comfortable, you can consider your gains at an end. If you’re striving to maximize performance each time you set foot in the gym, your head’s in the right place.

Science has led us to some solid tactics that have become commonplace: a detailed, dynamic warm-up, diligent supplementation with creatine and super-premium whey protein and progressively heavier weights, to name a few. But what have the labcoats offered us lately in terms of performance boosting?

One underrated tactic that’s starting to catch fire with iron lovers is post-activation potentiation, which basically tricks your body into recruiting more muscle fibers. And more fibers equals more weight lifted with greater power output. It’s science, bro.


Like high-intensity interval training (HIIT) has done in the last decade, the well-acronymed post-activation potentiation (PAP) is starting to become a part of the gym vernacular. Educated athletes have started to experiment with this training concept to fantastic results, leading to a greater generation of lifters who can run faster, lift heavier and get leaner with ease.

PAP is based on the idea that your body is an adaptable organism that always attempts to do what is asked of it. What does that mean? Think about the basic adaptations that occur when you lift heavy. Over time, your muscles respond by getting bigger and stronger. That’s all fine and good but what about those of us who are a little less patient? This is where PAP comes in handy.

By training your body explosively, as you might in a jump squat or a plyometric push-up, you excite the central nervous system. To rise to the challenge of the power output you are demanding of your body, your brain sends signals to the involved muscle groups in order to perform the movement more efficiently. And in the case of explosive muscle groups, this means that more growth-prone fast-twitch fibers are summoned into action for the sets and reps to follow.

A study published in the Journal of International Sports Physical Therapy defined PAP as “a phenomenon by which the force exerted by a muscle is increased due to its previous contraction.” Put another way, what you do first influences what you do next.

The most common way this is used is via performing a plyometric exercise prior to performing a strength move for a particular muscle group. Going back to the example of the jump squats before, if you perform 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps as explosively as possible, this may help you on heavy barbell squats if they are performed immediately after. The jump squats, while they don’t produce a high degree of local muscular fatigue, prime your nervous system for whatever you want to throw at it next. So why not load up a barbell with some serious weight and go to town?


There are several ways that you can make PAP work for you but the basic strategy is to perform an explosive move followed by a strength move in the same, general movement pattern; plyometric push-ups before bench presses, box jumps before squats, Smith-machine overhead throws followed by single-arm overhead dumbbell press and so on. The workouts that follow are based on the instant strength boosting benefits of post-activation potentiation. Rest up to three minutes between sets of your explosive movements.

Exercise                                     Sets                 Reps
Plyometric Pull-Up                       3                      3
Cable Pulldown                            5                  10-12
Single-Arm Dumbbell Row           5                  10-12 (each side)
Straight-Arm Pulldown                 3                     15

The plyometric pull-up is about as advanced as it gets, so unless you lean toward the “elite” side of the athlete continuum, this workout may not be for you. The plyo pull-up is performed like a regular pull-up, only you must generate enough force on the ascent to briefly let go of the bar at the top of the movement, then catch it again and descend under control into the next rep.

Plyometric Push-Up                      3                      5
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press      5                   10-12
Smith-Machine Bench Press         5                   10-12
Cable Flye                                     3                    15

Plyo push-ups serve as the workout before your workout here. By training the chest to generate speed on the positive portion of the rep, you’re likely to be able to press more weight off your chest when you move to the bench. Focus on getting as high as possible with each set in order to get the most bang for your potentiation buck.

Smith-Machine Overhead Throw    3                     5
Smith-Machine Overhead Press     5                10-12

Dumbbell Lateral Raise                   3                    12
Dumbbell Rear-Delt Raise               3                    12
Dumbbell Front Raise                      3                    12

The Smith Machine is more versatile than us purists tend to give it credit for. And when it comes to PAP work, it may have found it’s true calling. Because of the inherent safety of the Smith’s controlled range of motion, it’s easier to predict where the bar will be – especially when you “throw” it up the rails. For the overhead throw, you’ll put yourself into your normal overhead pressing position, taking care to make sure that the bar clears your face. With a weight that is approximately 20-30 percent of your single-rep max, explode the bar upward while keeping your eyes on the bar as it leaves your hands. “Catch” the bar above your head and lower it under control before exploding into your next rep.

Box Jump                                          5                      5
Front Squat                                       5                    6-8

Kettlebell Swing                                 5                     5
Romanian Deadlift                             5                    6-8
Leg Extension                                    3                  10-12
    -superset with-
Leg Curl                                              3                  10-12

The triple extension nature of the box jump primes your quads, glutes and hamstrings for big-boy squats, while the hinge pattern of kettlebell swings are the perfect opening act for hard-and-heavy Romanian deadlifts.

Supplement Suggestions

If your goal is to improve force output and work completed, your first priority should be to hit the gym floor massively amped for a high-intensity workout. That means supplementing with a high-impact, energizing pre-workout formulation like BioQuest’s AndroFury. AndroFury turns average workouts into super-productive workouts with a unique one-two punch of advanced performance-enhancing mechanisms. On the one hand, it contains a comprehensive matrix of energy catalysts precision-targeted to facilitate a massive muscle pump, up-regulate energy production, postpone fatigue and sharpen intensity and focus. On the other hand, AndroFury contains a protodioscin-rich botanical super compound that provides powerful and essential support of testosterone levels, which in turn serves as a sturdy foundation for a dynamic surge in power and aggression.

With the front end of your workout preparation accounted for, it’s time to turn all that work into increased power-output potential. BioQuest’s MyoZene contains a premium hydrolyzed whey protein ideal for sustaining augmented nitrogen utilization, protein synthesis and a greatly elevated anabolic state. It also features a specialized leucine peptide technology designed to switch on anabolism at the cellular level, plus the highest quality Creapure® creatine monohydrate, highly bioavailable N-acetyl-L-glutamine, L-Carnitine L-Tartrate for androgen receptor support, and an advanced carbohydrate matrix. How effective is this formulation at increasing work out put? Well, MyoZene is the only mass-builder clinically validated in a product-specific study linking it to significant strength/muscular endurance increases. In that 4-week clinical study, a MyoZene-receiving subject group experienced gains of 24% in strength/muscular endurance at the mid-study point, and an impressive 32% at the end of the study.


If you want to increase power output and consequent growth, train your way to bigger totals on key moves with the undercover power boosters cited above and supplement smartly!

Read more about AndroFury here.

Read more about MyoZene here.

Use as directed with a sensible nutrition and exercise program. Read and follow all product label instructions and warnings thoroughly before use. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

The articles featured herein are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Specific medical advice should only be obtained from a licensed health care professional. No liability is assumed by ProSource for any information herein.