Exploring the Utility of Performing a Down Set as a Postactivation Potentiation Strategy

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ABSTRACT: Wong, H, Gentles, J, Bazyler, C, and Ramsey, M. Exploring the utility of performing a down set as a postactivation potentiation strategy. J Strength Cond Res 35(5): 1217-1222, 2021-The purpose of this study was to determine if successive heavy sets of back squats can augment the concentric velocity of a lighter down set performed by strength-trained men. Twelve trained men with experience in the back squat volunteered to perform a 5 repetition maximum (5RM) along with 2 separate squat sessions consisting of 3 sets of 5 repetitions with 85% of their 5RM. One condition involved performing a "down set" (DS) after the 3 working sets at 85% of 5RM equivalent to 60% of the working-set load that was also performed during the warm-up. A "No down set" condition involved performing an additional warm-up set before the working sets with 60% of the working-set load instead of the down set to determine if velocity was augmented because of postactivation potentiation in the DS condition. In both conditions, 3 minutes of rest was applied between all sets. A paired sample t-test was used to compare the mean concentric velocities (MCVs) of the working sets of both conditions, and a repeated measures analysis of variance was used to assess differences in MCVs between sets performed at 60% of the working-set load. Cohen's d effect sizes were reported for all comparisons, and the critical alpha was set at p ≤ 0.05. No significant differences were observed in the working-set MCVs in both conditions (p = 0.412, d = 0.246) or between MCVs in the down set and equivalent warm-up set load in the DS condition (p = 0.270, d = 0.002).Although performing a down set may still be efficacious for developing power across a broad spectrum of loads, the results of this study suggest successive heavy sets of back squats do not acutely augment down set concentric velocity in strength-trained men.