By Naomi Rabon, NW Fitness Team Trainer
Have you ever had a workout so good, hard and intense that you found yourself thinking about it long after you finished? I mean, the soreness lingered for days and the intensity of the exercises was etched in your brain forever. You saw the entire workout in your mind like an instant replay reel and, while it was one of the hardest workouts EVER, you strangely couldn’t wait to do it again, just to make sure it was as crazy as your first experience doing it.
UNFORGETTABLE – THAT’S WHAT YOU ARE
Several of Nicole’s workouts have been like this for me, but one in particular has stood out to me over the years and it is one I will never, ever forget. I revisit it from time to time thinking maybe, just maybe it will get easier, but it never does.
The infamous workout I’m talking about is the Lower Body Plyometric Superset workout (go ahead, give this baby a try!). It is a brilliant workout, as it combines a weighted exercise superset with a plyometric exercise using the same type of movement for both movements.
As a trainer with knowledge of body mechanics, this is a horribly wonderful combination because you’re hitting the same muscles in two very important and effective ways: strength and power, back-to-back, which exhausts the muscles in just about every way possible.
POST ACTIVATION POTENTIATION
I didn’t know this until recently, but this particular type of workout – combining a heavy lifting movement (such as heavy chest presses or barbell squats) superset with an explosive, ballistic movement (such as plyometric push-ups or box jumps) using the same muscles – is a technique called Post Activation Potentiation, or PAP.
This method of training is a great way to increase your power potential because the Type 2 muscle fibers (also known as fast twitch muscles) respond well to both heavy resistance (heavy lifting) and high intensity (explosive plyometrics). The PAP technique forces these muscles to get off their butts and get moving, because they otherwise remain relatively dormant except when recruited to work.
Incorporating PAP workouts into your routine from time-to-time can also rev up your metabolism by combining both heavy lifting and the cardio aspect of plyometric movements in one workout. While this type of workout is similar to Nicole’s cardio acceleration workouts, PAP workouts specifically call for the first and second exercises in the superset to be similar exercises – or exercises that mimic each other in muscle-recruitment type – but one is a heavy lifting movement while the other is an explosive movement. In cardio acceleration workouts, the cardio exercise can be any cardio and does not necessarily recruit the same muscles as the weighted exercise or mimic the same movement.
HOW TO INCORPORATE PAP WORKOUTS
Because of the extreme intensity of PAP workouts, you could do them several times a month but not all the time. You could also just incorporate a few PAP supersets in your regular workouts. Here are some examples of PAP superset exercises for each body part/muscle group you would do for between 3-5 sets each:
• Heavy Barbell/Dumbbell Chest Press: 8-10 reps
• Plyometric Pushup: 30 seconds
• Heavy Lat Pulldown: 8-10 reps
• Explosive/Fast Pullup: 30 seconds (band assisted if necessary)
• Heavy Barbell/Dumbbell Overhead Press: 8-10 reps
• Battle Ropes (fast, alternating): 30 seconds
• Heavy Dumbbell/Barbell Curl: 8-10 reps
• Exercise Band/Cable Curl (fast): 30 seconds
• Heavy Barbell Extension: 8-10 reps
• Bench Dip: 30 seconds
• Heavy Barbell Static Lunge: 8-10 reps
• Jumping Lunge: 30 seconds
• Heavy Lying Hamstring Curl: 8-10
• Stability Ball Lying Hamstring Curl Tuckup (fast): 30 seconds
• Heavy Barbell Hip Thrust: 8-10 reps
• Hip Circle Pop Squat: 30 seconds
• Machine Crunches or Heavy Rope Crunch: 8-10 reps
• V-Up: 30 seconds
The Post Activation Potentiation technique can be as equally brutal and torturous as it is beneficial, and is an incredible “exercise recipe” for success! It is a great way to change things up, increase your intensity, rev up your metabolism, challenge your power movements and possibly give you the workout of your life!
ABOUT NAOMI RABON
One of the trainers on Nicole’s elite NW Fitness Training Team, Naomi is a certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is a NPC Figure competitor who has been involved in the health and fitness industry for over 12 years.