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Factors Modulating Post-Activation Potentiation of Jump, Sprint, Throw, and Upper-Body Ballistic Performances: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis



Although post-activation potentiation (PAP) has been extensively examined following the completion of a conditioning activity (CA), the precise effects on subsequent jump, sprint, throw, and upper-body ballistic performances and the factors modulating these effects have yet to be determined. Moreover, weaker and stronger individuals seem to exhibit different PAP responses; however, how they respond to the different components of a strength–power–potentiation complex remains to be elucidated.


This meta-analysis determined (1) the effect of performing a CA on subsequent jump, sprint, throw, and upper-body ballistic performances; (2) the influence of different types of CA, squat depths during the CA, rest intervals, volumes of CA, and loads during the CA on PAP; and (3) how individuals of different strength levels respond to these various strength–power–potentiation complex components.


A computerized search was conducted in ADONIS, ERIC, SPORTDiscus, EBSCOhost, Google Scholar, MEDLINE, and PubMed databases up to March 2015. The analysis comprised 47 studies and 135 groups of participants for a total of 1954 participants.


The PAP effect is small for jump (effect size [ES] = 0.29), throw (ES = 0.26), and upper-body ballistic (ES = 0.23) performance activities, and moderate for sprint (ES = 0.51) performance activity. A larger PAP effect is observed among stronger individuals and those with more experience in resistance training. Plyometric (ES = 0.47) CAs induce a slightly larger PAP effect than traditional high-intensity (ES = 0.41), traditional moderate-intensity (ES = 0.19), and maximal isometric (ES = –0.09) CAs, and a greater effect after shallower (ES = 0.58) versus deeper (ES = 0.25) squat CAs, longer (ES = 0.44 and 0.49) versus shorter (ES = 0.17) recovery intervals, multiple- (ES = 0.69) versus single- (ES = 0.24) set CAs, and repetition maximum (RM) (ES = 0.51) versus sub-maximal (ES = 0.34) loads during the CA. It is noteworthy that a greater PAP effect can be realized earlier after a plyometric CA than with traditional high- and moderate-intensity CAs. Additionally, shorter recovery intervals, single-set CAs, and RM CAs are more effective at inducing PAP in stronger individuals, while weaker individuals respond better to longer recovery intervals, multiple-set CAs, and sub-maximal CAs. Finally, both weaker and stronger individuals express greater PAP after shallower squat CAs.


Performing a CA elicits small PAP effects for jump, throw, and upper-body ballistic performance activities, and a moderate effect for sprint performance activity. The level of potentiation is dependent on the individual’s level of strength and resistance training experience, the type of CA, the depth of the squat when this exercise is employed to elicit PAP, the rest period between the CA and subsequent performance, the number of set(s) of the CA, and the type of load used during the CA. Finally, some components of the strength–power–potentiation complex modulate the PAP response of weaker and stronger individuals in a different way.

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Both authors contributed to the conception and design of the study, and writing of the manuscript. Both authors contributed to the development of the search strategy analysis and to the acquisition of data. Laurent B. Seitz contributed to the analysis and interpretation of data. Both authors contributed to drafting the article or revising it critically. Both authors approved the final version to be submitted.

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Correspondence to Laurent B. Seitz.

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Laurent B. Seitz and G. Gregory Haff declare that they have no conflicts of interest relevant to the content of this work.

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Seitz, L.B., Haff, G.G. Factors Modulating Post-Activation Potentiation of Jump, Sprint, Throw, and Upper-Body Ballistic Performances: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis. Sports Med 46, 231–240 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-015-0415-7

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  • Bench Press
  • Repetition Maximum
  • Conditioning Activity
  • Weak Individual
  • Strong Individual