Limited Post-activation Potentiation Effects Provided by the Walking Lunge on Sprint Acceleration: A Preliminary Analysis

Background: Bilateral strength exercises may not provide a movement-specific stimulus to achieve post-activation potentiation (PAP) for sprinting. The walking lunge (WL) could provide this, due to its unilateral action similar to the running gait. Objective: To determine whether the WL potentiated 20-m sprint performance. Method: Nine strength-trained individuals (six men, three women) completed a five-repetition maximum (5RM) WL in one session, and two PAP sessions (control condition [CC] of 4 minutes rest and 5RM WL). Subjects were assessed in baseline 20-m (0-5, 0-10, 0-20 m intervals) sprints, and sprints ~15 s, 2, 4, 8, 12, and 16 min post-PAP intervention. Repeated measures ANOVA calculated significant changes in sprint times. The best potentiated time for each interval was compared to the baseline to individualize subject recovery times. Effect sizes (d) were derived for magnitude-based inference comparisons between the baseline and all sprints. Sprint potentiation and strength measured by the WL were also correlated (p < 0.05). Results: There were no significant interactions between the PAP conditions and any time point (p = 0.346-0.898). Magnitude based-inference showed a trivial 0.72% decrease in 0-5 m time 4 min after the 5RM WL. There was a moderate potentiation effect following the 5RM WL for the 0-5 m interval best time (d = 0.34). The correlation data did not suggest that greater strength in the WL aided sprint potentiation. Conclusion: The 5RM WL did not significantly potentiate sprint speed. The WL requires stability and control which could limit the applied load and resulting potentiation.