When it comes to achieving peak performance in Olympic lifting, athletes and coaches are always on the lookout for training methods that can provide a competitive edge. One such technique that has gained popularity in recent years is Post-Activation Potentiation (PAP). This advanced training method leverages the bodies natural responses to maximise strength and power, offering significant benefits for Olympic lifters.


Post-Activation Potentiation (PAP) is a phenomenon where the force exerted by a muscle is temporarily enhanced following a high-intensity muscle contraction. This is achieved through a specific sequence of exercises designed to “prime” the muscles, leading to improved performance in subsequent explosive movements.

The science behind PAP involves the interplay of neural and muscular factors. When you perform a heavy lift or a high-intensity exercise, it activates your central nervous system (CNS) and increases the recruitment of motor units. This heightened state can lead to a temporary increase in muscle force production and rate of force development, which can be particularly beneficial for explosive movements like those in Olympic lifting.


  • Enhanced Power Output: PAP can significantly increase the power output during Olympic lifts. By activating the CNS and increasing motor unit recruitment, athletes can lift heavier and more explosively.
  • Improved Muscle Recruitment: The pre-conditioning effect of PAP helps in better muscle fiber recruitment, ensuring that the right muscles are activated during complex lifts like the snatch and clean & jerk.
  • Greater Strength Gains: Over time, incorporating PAP into your training can lead to greater strength adaptations, as the muscles are constantly challenged to perform at a higher level of intensity.
  • Increased Rate of Force Development (RFD): For Olympic lifters, the speed at which force is produced is crucial. PAP helps in enhancing the RFD, leading to quicker and more powerful lifts.
  • Injury Prevention: By improving muscle recruitment patterns and enhancing neuromuscular efficiency, PAP can help in preventing injuries associated with poor technique and muscular imbalances.


To effectively incorporate Post-Activation Potentiation (PAP) into an Olympic lifting program, follow these detailed steps:

1. Warm-Up Thoroughly

Start with a comprehensive warm-up to increase blood flow and prepare the muscles and joints for high-intensity activity. A proper warm-up should include an element of raising your heart rate before activating and mobilising the muscles/ joints which will be in action during the session, prior to tailoring the warm up to be specific to the movements which you will be doing during the session. Check out the RAMP warm up protocol by CLICKING HERE


Perform a heavy resistance exercise to activate the central nervous system (CNS) without causing excessive fatigue. The key is to choose compound movements that engage multiple muscle groups, such as, Back squats or front squats. For hinge variations you may choose to implement Conventional, sumo, or Romanian deadlifts into the plan. Although less common in Olympic lifting, the bench press can also be used for PAP if focusing on upper body power.

During the PAP session the heavy loaded exercise should be performed for 2-4 sets of 1-3 reps at an Intensity of around 85-95% of your one-rep max (1RM). Focus on maximal force production during these lifts. The goal is to lift explosively even though the weight is heavy.


Follow the heavy lift with an explosive and fast movement that light , such as a box jump, Kettlebell swing or even a sled row. The enhanced neuromuscular state achieved from the heavy loading should help you lift with greater power and efficiency. These explosive movements should be performed with maximal intent and focus, leveraging the potentiated state to enhance performance. The explosive based movement will be coupled with the heavy loaded movements, so rep range will be somewhere between 3-5 reps.


Incorporate PAP sessions 2-3 times per week, ensuring they are placed strategically within your training cycle to avoid overtraining and maximiSe benefits. Consider the following:

  • Training Cycle: Integrate PAP sessions during phases of training where power and explosiveness are a priority, such as during peaking phases leading up to competition.
  • Recovery: Allow sufficient recovery time between PAP sessions and other high-intensity workouts. Monitor your body’s response and adjust frequency based on your recovery and performance.
  • Variation: Rotate the heavy loading exercises and explosive movements to prevent adaptation and keep the training stimulus effective. For instance, alternate between squats and deadlifts for the heavy loading phase, and between snatch and clean & jerk for the explosive movements.
  • Monitoring: Keep track of your performance metrics and adjust the intensity and volume as needed. Use feedback from each session to refine your approach and ensure continual progress.

By following these detailed steps, you can effectively implement PAP into your Olympic lifting program, enhancing your power output, improving muscle recruitment, and achieving greater strength gains. Remember, the key to successful PAP integration is careful planning, adequate recovery, and consistent monitoring of your progress.


Post-Activation Potentiation (PAP) is a powerful tool in the arsenal of Olympic lifters. By strategically incorporating PAP into your training program, you can enhance your power output, improve muscle recruitment, and achieve greater strength gains. As with any advanced training technique, it’s important to listen to your body and ensure adequate rest and recovery. With proper implementation, PAP can help you unlock new levels of performance and take your Olympic lifting to the next level.

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