Complex training is a training strategy that involves the execution of a heavy lift before performing an explosive movement with similar biomechanical characteristics with the assumption that the heavy lift
will induce Post-Activation Potentiation (PAP) and in turn increase performance.

PAP is a phenomenon that is basically a volitional production of force facilitated by the skeletal muscle contraction.

So lets break this down…
Say you perform a heavy squat for 1 to 5 reps max. All those muscles that are used during your squat which is your hamstrings, glutes, basically your entire posterior chain is all activated.  Meaning your body has sent signals through the nervous system and those particular muscles are all firing or working.

Now this is where it dives really into physiology but all you need to know is after all those muscles are firing you perform an explosive movement using the same particular muscles such as a vertical jump or a sprint.

And the phenomenon known as PAP takes place, where the muscles that are activated allows the jump or sprint to be produced with high amounts of force due to a type of twitch contraction given off by the muscles.

But you might wonder how do athletes apply this strategy for complex training workouts…

Well there was a famous sprinter named Michael Johnson who was the first man to win 2 gold medals in both the 200m and 400m in the 1996 Olympics.

Rumor has it that he perfromed a 500 lb back squat before he ran those races.  If this should be true, he understood that the squat would activate his entire posterior chain which are the same muscles used in the sprint.

But not just an Olympic athlete can use this strategy obviously an athlete that utilizes power will benefit from this style of training, whether it be in there training or in actual competition.

Complex Training = PAP
PAP = Increased Perfomance
Increased Perfomance = Faster & More Explosive
Faster & More Explosive = Chicks & Scholarships
Get Chicks & Scholarships

But the trick is knowing how to manipulate the different
variations in your training and continue to
increase your performance. If you need more on this style
of training you can see more of it here…

Get more PAP for explosive athletes


signature_chris_01_02 copy

Chris Barnard
Chris Barnard

Chris Barnard is a strength and conditioning coach at Strength Camp, a hardcore athlete training facility in St. Petersburg, Florida, as well as author of multiple performance programs. He has worked with athletes at all levels and from many different sports to produce the highest level of performance in each. He currently resides in St Petersburg, Florida and continues to pursuit breakthroughs in athletic performance.