BACKGROUND: The use of post-activation potentiation (PAP) exercises at the end of the warm-up may increase muscles nerve conduction speed and per consequent improve speed, strength and explosive power performances. OBJECTIVE: To assess the effect of PAP during warm-up using vertical or horizontal drop jumps on repeated sprints performance combined with countermovement jump in young handball players. METHODS: 12 young handball players participated in this study. Participants realized 3 randomized warm-up protocols: a warm-up without PAP, a warm-up with PAP using vertical drop jumps, and a warm-up with PAP using horizontal drop jumps. After the assigned PAP protocol, the subject realized a counter movement jump as a reference value (CMJr), and thereafter repeated sprint tests with and without changing of direction (six maximal 2 × 12.5 m shuttle sprints and six maximal 25 m straight sprints, respectively) combined with vertical jumping. RESULTS: Horizontal drop jump during warm-up showed larger improvements in repeated sprints performance with and without change of direction for the parameters best time and mean time, compared with warm up without drop jumps (p< 0.01) and warm up with vertical drop jumps (p< 0.05). Vertical drop jump performance during warm-up induced greater gains in countermovement jump reference value in comparison with warm up without drop jump (p< 0.01), or warm up with horizontal drop jump (p< 0.01). CONCLUSION: PAP during warm-up using horizontal drop jump improves repeated sprints performance with and without changing of direction while PAP using vertical drop jump improves CMJ reference value.
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