Resistance Priming to Enhance Neuromuscular Performance in Sport: Evidence, Potential Mechanisms and Directions for Future Research
Recent scientific evidence supports the use of a low-volume strength–power ‘resistance priming’ session prior to sporting competition in an effort to enhance neuromuscular performance. Though research evidence relating to this strategy is presently limited, it has been shown to be effective in improving various measures of neuromuscular performance within 48 h. Post-activation potentiation strategies have previously been shown to enhance strength–power performance within 20 min of completing maximal or near-maximal resistance exercise. Comparably, a delayed potentiation effect has been demonstrated following ‘resistance priming’ at various times between 1 and 48 h in upper- and lower-body performance measures. This may have significant implications for a range of athletes when preparing for competition. Various exercise protocols have been shown to improve upper- and lower-body neuromuscular performance measures in this period. In particular, high-intensity resistance exercise through high loading (≥ 85% 1 repetition maximum) or ballistic exercise at lower loads appears to be an effective stimulus for this strategy. Although current research has identified the benefits of resistance priming to some physical qualities, many questions remain over the application of this type of session, as well as the effects that it may have on a range of specific sporting activities. The aims of this brief review are to assess the current literature examining the acute effects (1–48 h) of resistance exercise on neuromuscular performance and discuss potential mechanisms of action as well as provide directions for future research.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
This research was supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship and by the Queensland Academy of Sport’s Sport Performance Innovation and Knowledge Excellence Unit.
Conflict of interest
Peter Harrison, Lachlan James, Mike McGuigan, David Jenkins and Vincent Kelly declare that they have no conflicts of interest relevant to the content of this review.
- 1.Baker D. The effects of an in-season of concurrent training on the maintenance of maximal strength and power in professional and college-aged rugby league football players. J Strength Cond Res. 2001;15(2):172–7.Google Scholar
- 15.Ekstrand LG, Battaglini CL, McMurray RG, Shields EW. Assessing explosive power production using the backward overhead shot throw and the effects of morning resistance exercise on afternoon performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2013;27(1):101–6. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182510886.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 22.Chiu LZ, Fry AC, Weiss LW, Schilling BK, Brown LE, Smith SL. Postactivation potentiation response in athletic and recreationally trained individuals. J Strength Cond Res. 2003;17(4):671–7.Google Scholar
- 25.Tsimachidis C, Patikas D, Galazoulas C, Bassa E, Kotzamanidis C. The post-activation potentiation effect on sprint performance after combined resistance/sprint training in junior basketball players. J Sports Sci. 2013;31(10):1117–24. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2013.771817.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 26.Fry AC, Stone MH, Thrush JT, Fleck SJ. Precompetition training sessions enhance competitive performance of high anxiety junior weightlifters. J Strength Cond Res. 1995;9(1):37–42.Google Scholar
- 29.Gill N. Coach’s insight: priming. In: Joyce D, Lewindon D, editors. High-performance training for sports. Champaign: Human Kinetics; 2014. p. 308.Google Scholar
- 30.Mujika I, Padilla S. Scientific bases for precompetition tapering strategies. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2003;35(7):1182–7. https://doi.org/10.1249/01.mss.0000074448.73931.11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 34.Komi PV. Stretch-shortening cycle. In: Komi PV, editor. Strength and power in sport. London: Blackwell Science Ltd; 1992. p. 169–79.Google Scholar
- 38.McGowan CJ, Pyne DB, Thompson KG, Raglin JS, Rattray B. Morning exercise: enhancement of afternoon sprint-swimming performance. Int J Sport Physiol. 2017;12(5):605–11.Google Scholar
- 40.Haff GG. Quantifying workloads in resistance training: a brief review. Strength Cond J. 2010;10:31–40.Google Scholar
- 42.Zatsiorsky VM, Kraemer WJ. Science and practice of strength training. Champaign: Human Kinetics; 2006. p. 161.Google Scholar
- 44.Banister EW. Modeling elite athletic performance. In: MacDougall JD, Wenger HA, Green HJ, editors. Physiological testing of the high-performance athlete. Champaign: Human Kinetics; 1991. p. 403–24.Google Scholar
- 45.Wilson JM, Duncan NM, Marin PJ, Brown LE, Loenneke JP, Wilson SM, et al. Meta-analysis of postactivation potentiation and power: effects of conditioning activity, volume, gender, rest periods, and training status. J Strength Cond Res. 2013;27(3):854–9. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e31825c2bdb.CrossRefGoogle Scholar