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Background: American football players need the ability to provide maximal muscular power in a modicum of time. Postactivation performance enhancement (PAPE), which is characterized by an acute improvement of a performance measure following conditioning contractions, could be of value for American football players. The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of a heavy load back squat PAPE protocol on three-point explosion (TPE; an essential blocking technique and drill) and 40-yard dash (40YD) performance compared to a traditional warm-up in American football players. Methods: In a crossover study design, eighteen male competitive regional league American football players (mean ± SD: body mass 93.9 ± 15.5 kg, height 181.4 ± 6.8 cm, age 24.8 ± 3.9 years) performed a TPE on a double blocking sled (weight: 150 kg) and a 40YD (36.6 m with a 5 and 10 m split) 8 min after two different warm-up conditions. One condition was a traditional, football specific warm-up (TWU) consisting of game related movements (e.g. backward lunges, lateral power steps), whereas the other condition (PAPE) consisted of three explosive back squats with a load of 91 % one-repetition maximum. Results: There was no significant difference in TPE between TWU and PAPE. For the 40YD, we found significantly shorter sprint times in the PAPE condition with medium effect sizes for the 5 m (p = 0.007; r = 0.45) and 10 m (p = 0.020; r = 0.39) but not for the whole 36.6 m distance (p = 0.084; r = 0.29) compared to the TWU condition. Conclusions: The used heavy load back squat PAPE protocol improved sprint performance over short distances (≤ 10 m) but not complex movements like the three-point explosion.
Bielitzki, R., Hamacher, D., & Zech, A. (2021). Does one heavy load back squat set lead to postactivation performance enhancement of three-point explosion and sprint in third division American football players? BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13102-021-00288-y