BACKGROUND: Post-activation performance enhancement (PAPE) involves the use of voluntary muscle contractions (i.e., conditioning stimulus) to improve subsequent muscular performance. Supramaximal walkouts are a variant of conditioning stimuli commonly used by strength athletes, yet data on the efficacy of this approach are lacking. The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of performing supramaximal walkouts on subsequent heavy back squat performance. METHODS: Five resistance-trained (1RM back squat ≥ 1.5x body weight) males (age 21.4 ± 1.5 y, body fat 16.2 ± 9.9%, 1RM back squat 2.26 kg/BW) completed two trials separated by a minimum of 72 h in a randomized, counterbalanced, crossover study design. Each trial consisted of a general dynamic warmup and a more specific barbell warmup followed by a single back squat repetition at 92.5% 1RM (PRE). Five min after PRE, participants unracked and walked out of the rack with either 110% 1RM (SMW) or 30% 1RM (CON) for a 10 s isometric hold. After a 5 min rest, three back squat repetitions at 92.5% 1RM (POST1, POST2, POST3) were completed with 5 min rest between each repetition. Participants were instructed to complete PRE, POST1, POST2, and POST3 with maximal concentric velocity. Rating of perceived exertion (RPE), average (Pavg) and peak power (Ppeak), average (Vavg), and peak velocity (Vpeak), and surface electromyography (sEMG) amplitude of the vastus lateralis and gluteus maximus were measured during each repetition. Data were analyzed using two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with walkout x time as the two factors. RESULTS: The average load of CON and SMW were 61.8 ± 8.7 kg and 227.3 ± 32.6 kg, respectively. Significant main effects of time were found to decrease Ppeak (p = 0.04), Pavg (p < 0.001), Vavg (p < 0.001), and GM sEMG (p = 0.04). There were no main effects of walkout (p ≥ 0.24) or interaction effects (p ≥ 0.34) observed for any of the variables. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest performing SMWs at 110% neither potentiates nor impairs subsequent back squat performance, indicating they may be a strategy that can be utilized to improve confidence under load without detriments in a strength-based program.

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