Article written for LIFTBIGEATBIG.com by Joe Chodaki IV
Now that I have your attention I want to turn to plyometrics and increase your squat. Not tomorrow or over time but right now, today, the next time you squat. So how am I going to increase your squat? I'm going to ask you to do 5 reps of an exercise. Now I really have your attention, don't I?
Actually I'm not going to increase your squat; your own body is going to, through Post Activation Pontentiation. That is a response to a heavy load allowing you to utilize the muscles excited state to lift big. Now many of you have seen Charles Poliquin's take on it using the 1-6 method of squatting or benching, but I'm not sure that fits the type of lifting many of us do. If you're looking for increasing your mass, it might be a good idea to Google him, but if your looking to just slam your squat max tomorrow I have a suggestion. Depth drops.
If you're not familiar with Depth drops or Shock drops as Russian trainer Yuri Verkhoshansky called them, they are simply stepping off a height and sticking the landing. A staple of the track and field world, depth drops are used to help develop explosive strength for jumpers and throwers. Now using this exercise in conjunction with squatting by itself might increase your squat, but the PAP effect it has can increase your squat tomorrow. The reason for this is in the theory of PAP, that a heavy load 5 to 10 minutes prior can leave the body in an excited state, and as stated in a recent article by Olympic triple jumper Kenta Bell, a drop from 10 inches exerts 1400 pounds plus in .4 seconds. This is seriously more than one might try to squat.
So for practical information and as programming you might want to experiment as to what feels best to you, but the 2011 study used 30 cm boxes, a four minute wait and a 1 rep max in the squat. For some fatigue will offset any PAP at 4 minutes and they might need 5 or 6, so what doesn't work today might tomorrow. In previous studies the effect wore off by the twelfth minutes so if you're not getting any results there could be a few issues. One is that your training level is not enough and the fatigue is offsetting the effect. Another could be that the stimulus is not enough for your training level. I'm pretty sure that Marshall and L-train might need a bigger box. The last one is that this works best with those who have higher amounts of fast twitch fibers.
With that in mind, the next time you squat add this in after your last set of warm up squats and see if you can hit a new 1, 2, 3 or even 5 rep max. I'm not sure if in the aggregate this will lead to an overall increase or it's only a temporary effect but if the latter is the case then it's still a fun tool for the gym and a monster for the competition.
If you are interested in reading further, here's some links.
Andy V. Khamoui, MS, CSCS, Edward Jo, MS, CSCS, and Lee E. Brown, EdD, CSCS,*D, FNSCA
Post-Activation Potentiation: Underlying Physiology and Implications for Motor Performance
Hodgson, Matt; Docherty, David; Robbins, Dan
ACUTE EFFECTS OF WARM UP PROTOCOL ON FLEXIBILITY AND VERTICAL JUMP IN CHILDREN
POSTACTIVATION POTENTIATION AND ITS PRACTICAL APPLICABILITY: A BRIEF REVIEW
Michael J. Duncan1, Lorayne A. Woodfield1
DANIEL W. ROBBINS