With the release of P90X2 imminent here are some final tips to have you read to take it on at full strength. While you’ve probably heard a lot about post-activation potentiation (PAP) in the various promos or, at least, on my blog, what might not have been made clear is exactly why you only see it during the final phase of the program. In answering this you’ll see why your final block of prep should be tailored very specifically for you personally.
Essentially, PAP needs to be earned. It’s only effective if you have the fitness base to withstand its rigors, which forces you to follow a heavy contraction exercise immediately with a 100% effort explosive exercise. And not for 30 seconds or a minute, but only for a few seconds, meaning that for the first time in a Beachbody program you’re being asked to give a one rep max effort–though one that’s been tempered by a set to failure (or close) of heavy resistance.
pap example at p3 from gordon hayward of the utah jazz
If you’re not physically ready the first set of exercise will wipe you out. However, once conditioned the resistance effort actually frees up higher threshold muscle cell motor units which, in brief, allows your muscles to work at higher explosive outputs than normal. When you train this process you increase your muscular efficiency that, in layman’s terms, means that your muscles get stronger without gaining any size, which not only improves your ability to perform now but also increases your capacity for hypertrophy (muscle growth).
So, anyway, I’m sure that sounds cool but here’s the rub; you don’t need to practice PAP training, you need to get fit for it. So block 3 of your prep should be to improve at whatever your weaknesses are up to this point.
If you don’t feel you have weaknesses you could start working on PAP with Tony’s One on One workout (see top vid). This workout isn’t dialed as Tony was just starting to learn about it but it’s cool in that it’s both an upper and lower body PAP workout and provides a template for you to create your own workout variations if you get time crunched while doing X2. Like pretty much everything, you improve at doing complexes with practice so trying this out now will provide benefits by the time you get to phase III of X2. You could also try this workout (added video of heel slide – aka “wall slide”).
However, if you are still learning the balance movements from block 1 and block 2, I recommend that you spend more time focused on these. The better you get at these movements the quicker you will respond to the program. When you get to the point—like big wave surfer Laird Hamilton—where you can do heavy movements on unstable platforms as if you were on a concrete floor (note cameo by Shakeology guru Darin Olien) your strength gains are going to go through the roof. And then when you add PAP training to a base like that your body’s going to take you places you’d never dreamed you’d be able to go.
Final teaser: P90X2 is on schedule for early December delivery. Get psyched.