A brief review of concurrent activation potentiation: theoretical and practical constructs

J Strength Cond Res. 2006 Nov;20(4):985-91. doi: 10.1519/R-19375.1.


Enhancing the acute quality of the resistance training stimulus is the goal of many research and applied professionals. To that end, many methods have been proposed and a variety of training strategies and ergogenic supplements have been investigated. Postactivation potentiation is one phenomenon that has been frequently examined, offering some promise in this regard. Though never previously applied in the strength and conditioning profession, dental research on jaw clenching, studies examining the Jendrassik maneuver and remote voluntary contractions and research on motor overflow together make a compelling case for the existence of a concurrent activation potentiation phenomenon and the acute ergogenic advantage associated with the simultaneous activation of muscles other than the prime mover or synergists. Evidence demonstrates that this advantage is accrued via activation of the H reflex and through cortical overflow. Ultimately, through research and practical application, athletes may be taught to optimize the type, timing, and magnitude of remote muscle actions in order to gain an ergogenic advantage and increase the acute response of the prime movers. This strategy may be especially useful during the most difficult portion of a resistance training repetition and during the most difficult repetitions of a resistance training set.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • H-Reflex / physiology*
  • Hand / physiology
  • Humans
  • Jaw / physiology
  • Motor Neurons / physiology*
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation*
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Valsalva Maneuver / physiology