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E-zine #14: Postactivation Phenomenon

We?ve incorporated the postactivation method into our nontraumatic training sessions to kick things up a bit.

The last two issues of the IRONMAN E-zine have been about diet, but that certainly doesn't mean that we've put the training aside. If you've been following the 'Train, Eat, Grow' column in the magazine, you know that we've still been up to our experimental ways in the gym. The latest addition to the routine involves an extremely effective muscle-fiber-activation phenomenon known as postactivation. (For a complete description of how postactivation works, see Michael G'ndill's article in the September '01 issue of IRONMAN.)

We've incorporated the postactivation method into our nontraumatic training sessions to kick things up a bit. We do our postactivation set between a straight set, and an Aftershock tri-set. This method has been working so well that our reps either stay the same or increase after we've performed the postactivation set. It seems to have added to the muscle pump, as well as allowing us to feel the exercises a bit better.

This is a sample of what we do for lats (P.A. stands for postactivation):

Chins (weighted) 1 x 9
Nautilus pullovers
(P.A. warmup) 1 x 9
Aftershock tri-set
Chins (weighted) 1 x 8-10
Nautilus pullovers 1 x 7-9
Undergrip pulldowns 1 x 7-9

It's a very similar breakdown for most bodyparts on the nontraumatic/high-intensity day, but we sometimes do a drop set in the Aftershock tri-set, rather than three different exercises. A sample of this would be our quad routine:

Squats 2 x 8-10
Leg presses 1 x 9
Leg extension
(P.A. warmup) 1 x 9
Aftershock tri-set
Leg press 1 x 8-10
Leg extension 1 x 8(6)
(drop set)

What looks like a low-volume workout can be surprisingly painful, in a good way of course. The postactivation warmup followed by the Aftershock tri-set make for a very deep burn. Don't let the number of sets fool you. Of course, it's up to you to make sure you're using sufficient weight as well. Don't let the word the 'nontraumatic' fool you; it's still a high-intensity day, so keep that in mind.

If you train in a crowded gym and can\'t do tri-sets or even supersets, you can still take advantage of postactivation. Simply do a contracted-position exercise between your sets of a big midrange movements. For example, your quad workout might look like the following:

Squats (warmup; add weight each set) 2 x 8-10
Squats 1 x 8-10
Rest 2 minutes
Leg extensions (P.A. set) 1 x 8-10
Rest 2 minutes
Squats 1 x 8-10
Rest 2 minutes
Leg extensions (P.A. set) 1 x 8-10
Rest 2 minutes
Squats 1 x 8-10

Postactivation is a great way to get more fibers into the actions and trigger more size and strength at each workout.

To follow the ITRC training program in 'Train, Eat, Grow,' get a copy of the latest issue of IRONMAN. For more on POF training go to

This special report was submitted by Jonathan Lawson
From the IRONMAN Training & Research Team

The ITRC Training Newsletter is not intended as training advice for everyone. You must consult your physician before beginning any diet or training program. You may forward this email to as many friends as you want, but do not photocopy or reprint this report in any format without the written permission of the copyright holder.

All Content (c) Copyright 2001 IRONMAN Magazine
All Rights Reserved

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