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Training Principle You Have To Live By : SECOND WIND EFFECT

You have most likely heard of and experienced the Second Wind Effect.

This is a real physiological phenomena. Typically used in reference to long distance running, but in fact can be applied to anything.

In the gym you can take advantage of this phenomenon by switching exercises (see Novelty). Think about cross-fit : how do people do it without burning out in the first couple minutes? Well, it is impart due to the second wind effect.

20 minutes of continuous squatting would be impossible. But doing rounds of 5 pull up, 10 push up and 15 squat for 20 minutes is not actually that bad.

I am not a proponent of cross-fit because Strength should be prioritized. However I am not against learning from cross-fit and taking the good things from it!

Try this out:

  • test how many reps you can do of a certain exercise (lets say bench press)
  • the next day: do 20-30 swings and then immediately test out your exercise from the previous day.
  • you will surprise yourself at how closely you come to your maximum reputations – in fact – I have experienced/witnessed many times an increases in maximum reps (see P.A.P.)

There are 101 ways to organize your training to take advantage of this and all the other principles you have to live by. The point of these short, almost-daily posts is to drip feed you information that you really should know in order to optimize your training. I encourage you to join me in implementing these principles into your / your athletes training.

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Training Principle You Have To Live By: P.A.P

The previous posts outlined S.A.I.D, Progressive Overload and the use of Novelty in your training program. These principle all require consistency of practice & time for the adaptation to express itself.

The current principle being examine is less of a ‘principle’ and more of a ‘hack’ – because the effects of it are felt within a single session.

(P.A.P) Post Activation Potentiation

Originally defined by Robbins,8 PAP is a phenomenon by which the force exerted by a muscle is increased due to its previous contraction. 

Lorenz, Daniel. “Postactivation potentiation: an introduction.” International journal of sports physical therapy vol. 6,3 (2011): 234-40.

The exercise you do first influences the performance of the exercise you do second. Depending on the intensity of the first, the second exercise will either be negatively or positively influenced in regards to strength/power/performance.

Obviously we want to focus on the positive enhancements. But lets not completely disregard the negative because we can learn from that too = the fatigue from an initial exercise can degrade the performance of the next if there is not sufficient recovery between the two. If you practice too much at a ‘degraded’ performance level then your body will adapt to only being able to perform at that level, therefore stymying your progress.

How To P.A.P

  • REST MORE = 3 – 12 minutes before fatigue stops masking the potentiating effect. This depends on the fitness level of the athlete
  • First Exercise: use heavy weight = at lest 80% of your 1 rep max
  • Second Exercise: lighter and explosive or longer in duration

Most of the studies have shown that the first exercise should be a Back Squat. But you can use any compound movement.

The second exercise can pretty much be anything else. Although it should be something specific to your weakness or sport.

A note of caution, P.A.P should only be used by more experienced lifters, or with guidance from a coach.

Why P.A.P

Simply because it works. P.A.P produces short term improvements when done right. Accumulation of short term improvements leads to long term improvement. This is the goal of Training.