Performance characteristics of muscle are affected by a complex interaction of muscle and nerve fibers.
Voluntary muscle contractions performed before physical performance have been shown to increase performance in a phenomenon known as post-activation potentiation (PAP). In other words, you increase the potential of the muscular performance once the muscle has been appropriately activated.
Historically, high-load squats (>80% 1RM) are one of the most common exercises for PAP elicitation, as it relates to subsequent jump performance.
Recently, a Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research study showed that “a regimen of lunging exercise resulted in a transient improvement in maximal vertical jump performance.”
This article has implications, most obviously, for basketball and volleyball athletes, since a pre-game regimen of repeated bouts of alternating lunges can improve in-game neuromuscular performance as it relates to vertical jump performance (without equipment, weights, etc.).
It is reasonable to also expect that lunges may potentiate neuromuscular performance in athletes participating in other sports that require explosive, powerful lower-extremity movements.
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