Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Kinesiology and Health Promotion

First Advisor

Dr. Robert Shapiro


Muscle performance is partially a consequence of its recent contractile history. Postactivation potentiation (PAP) can occur after muscle contractions and leads to enhanced neuromuscular performance. The purpose of this dissertation was to explain the relationship between muscle factors (twitch potentiation, TP) and neural factors (reflex potentiation, RP) contributing to overall PAP following a non-fatiguing volitional muscle contraction. The tibial nerves of fifteen resistance trained volunteers (eleven men, four women) were stimulated intermittently at supramaximal (Mmax) and submaximal (Hmax) intensities for 20 minutes on separate days under three conditions: rest (Control); after a after a 10 second maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) of the plantarflexors; and after a low frequency fatigue protocol prior to the MVIC. Plantarflexion isometric torque and rate of force development (RFD), and soleus and gastrocnemius EMG Hmax/Mmax ratios, were analyzed. Both experimental conditions resulted in TP at 10 seconds post-MVIC compared to the control condition. The two experimental conditions were not different for any measure. Torque and RFD at Hmax (overall PAP) were highest at 3 and 4.5 minutes post MVIC, respectively, but were not significantly different from the control condition. EMG values generally were insignificantly increased in the experimental conditions versus the control condition. Mmax torque and RFD significantly contributed to Hmax torque and RFD at 20 seconds, Hmax peak, and 20 minute post-MVIC time points. The soleus significantly contributed to Hmax torque at 20 seconds and 20 minutes post-MVIC, and Hmax RFD at 20 seconds, 4.5 minutes, and 20 minutes post-MVIC. The results of this study suggest that both muscle and neural factors play a significant role in overall PAP, and that neural factors may play a more meaningful role in RFD potentiation than torque potentiation.