Velocity Based Training: The How To

 

If you are not familiar with velocity based training (VBT), I suggest you read this article here. However, if you are familiar with how it works, then feel free to continue on.

Velocity Profiling

Velocity Profiling is a process of measuring and evaluating an individual’s force-velocity relationship of a specific exercise. Depending on the athletes  being tested and their training backgrounds, their profiles may differ quite a bit. For example, two athletes with the same one rep max will not always have the same profile. Depending on the slope (rate at which force decreases in relation to velocity) one athlete might be more proficient at speed-strength versus strength-speed.

 

How to

Velocity Based Training (VBT) is an awesome tool and can provide many benefits. However, in order to get the most out of it you should set up an individual velocity profile for each your athletes  This is actually a fairly simple task that can be done relatively quick. I am going to give an example of how to do it.

 

*** In a large team setting you may want to do a modified velocity profile for your athletes. This will save you time and make it much more manageable***

 

 

Method

The first method I am going to discuss is the “research” method. This method was proposed by Jovanovich et al. 2014. It takes about 15-20 minutes in all and can be done with multiple athletes at once, as long as you can take off and remove the weights fast enough.

Image 1

 

You will have the athlete perform five sets with the percentage (estimated 1rms) and rep schemed as shown above. The athlete has to move the weight as fast as he can, with adequate rest 2-4 minutes in between sets. As a coach, you can have them do this testing method as a part of their power/speed day in their training cycle (will not interfere with your whole program this way). You will only keep the top MEAN VELOCITIES from each set.

 

 

Once the data is collected, all you need to do is throw them into an excel file. A set up might look like this:

 

THE TABLE ABOVE HAS SOME ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IN IT. FOR THE VELOCITY PROFILE ALL YOI NEED IS “WEIGHT” AND “MEAN VELOCITY”. HOWEVER, FROM OTHER RECORDED METRICS, YOU CAN ALSO CALCULATE MEAN POWER AND PEAK POWER.

 

Next you can take the load-velocity numbers and plot them in scatter plot (X Y scatter plot) in excel. Once you have plotted the data you can set a linear line of best fit, and take the linear formula form the line of best fit.

 

(Plotted Numbers)

Your excel graph should look something like the one above. the line of best fit should be “linear” and look something like the one above.

(Linear Equation)

Linear equation is derived from the line of best fit in your excel force-velocity graph.

 

Setting It Up

From here,  all you have to do now is set up a table with the X value in the linear equation replaced with the cell corresponding to velocity. Remember the linear equation is predicting weight based on the velocity. The column that has the linear equation (what is being predicted) in the table below is labeled weight and the one next to it is the cell replacing the X value in the linear equation, which is velocity.

Depending on how you set up your force-velocity profile, you may or may not have a different independent and dependent variable. The Y value (answer to the equation) is the dependent, meaning it is being predicted based on the X value, dependent variable.

Once you have it set up all you need to do next is plug in some velocities or weights and see what the projected numbers are.

 

Your columns should look something like this. The last step you need to do set one of your velocities at the minimal voluntary threshold, MVT.

The MVT is the velocity that corresponds with a one rep max.  It is roughly 0.15m/s for the bench press and roughly 0.35 meters a second for the squat.

Once you have the MVT,  you can create your final column of %1rm (in table above). All you need to do for this is take the projected weight at 0.35m/s and divide it by all the other projected weights. You can do this really simply by having the projected weight column linked to the %1rm column and then just divide by the projected weight of MVT.

 

Trust me, the first time you do this it may seem like a lot to handle, but once you get the hang of it you can probably do the whole excel profiling portion is about 5 minutes.

 

In-season monitoring

Monitoring an athlete’s force-velocity relationship can be a hugely beneficial during any training cycle. It is extremely non-invasive and uses submaximal loads with a low number of sets and reps. You can take two loads that corresponds to 30% and 60% of their 1rm and have them max out on speed (velocity of movement) and see how it compares to their profile. If they are moving up in speed at the same load then you know they are getting stronger and if they are moving downward, then it is highly possible that they are accumulating too much fatigue.

 

From the graph above, you can see how over the training cycles (two 8 week cycles pictured above) the athlete’s velocities are trending upward.

 

When to monitor

Monitoring can be done on the daily. The loads are submaximal, the sets and reps can range from 1-2 sets at each load and 1-2 reps per set. It can be used as a “preparatory set” before you start to use heavier loads

 

 

What to look for

There are two trends you want to look for. You want to look for the acute, day-to-day fluctuations and the long term trends.

 

Day-to-Day

The day-to-day fluctuations can give you some insight as to how “ready” the athlete is. If the mean velocities dip below a specific percentage of their normal output (5-10%) then you may want to make sure what you are training that day will not continue to build up their fatigue.

You can also look for day-to-day correlations. For example, it is possible that after a heavily loaded day on Monday, that you can start to predict how much of a fall off they might have on Tuesday. These day-to-day correlations can do you wonders for in season peaking. Now you can tell whether or not your workout is going to be facilitating the next day’s workout (higher velocities the next day after a workout) or hindering the next days workout (reduction in velocity).

 

Peaking for games. Once you have gotten an idea of how your workouts affect your athletes, you can implement specific workouts to get specific results for game day. Instead of accidentally performing a “fatiguing” workout the day before a game, you can more confidently perform a “facilitating” workout, that is back by some level of confidence and not just guess work.

 

Long-Term Trends

Long term trends are good to look at for a couple of reasons. Firstly, long-term trends can inform you how an athlete is progressing throughout a training cycle without having to max them out. You can see how they are responding during both the in-season and pre-season work training cycles. Long-term trends also hep you get an understanding of how your own personal loading cycles tend to work. Depending on your own specific program, you may see patterns of dips and rebounds (possibly fatigue and super-compensation patterns). This can help give you an idea of how to more accurately time some of your loading patterns to get the most out of your long-term training plans.

 

(Measuring progress) I have made a couple of posts about utilizing the force(load)-velocity relationship. Here is an individual example of how it can be utilized. The top graph shows a a shift in squat power development over 8 weeks. The blue line shows the baseline test while the red shows the progress. The yellow shoes %changes in power at different velocities. Power in this case was calculated by multiplying weight (load) by velocity. No, that is not the scientific was to calculate power, however it was time efficient and still gave good insight. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• These numbers are great, but they only mean something if the on field performance increase. The athlete in the graphs improved their sprint time significantly, especially for being a well trained athlete. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• The bottom graph shows the numerical versions of the load-velocity profiles and the changes at each specific velocity. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• This is just an example of how numbers can help you aid the decisions you make in training. The initial testing showed that the athlete was already very capable of producing force at a low velocity, so training was designed to emphasize improving force output at higher speeds, while maintain (and actually improving) the force base.

A post shared by Max Schmarzo (ATC/CSCS/MS) (@strong_by_science) on

 

 

 

Utilization of VBT (Video)

 

(Progress) One of my recent posts on here talked using "max efforts" and "1RMs" in a non traditional form. Here is an example of doing this in your speed squats. Using a velocity-load profile I was able to project what my max weight should be at 1m/s. Then using a 12×2 (@westsidebarbellofficial style of dynamic day) each set was an attempt to move my weight faster than 1.0 m/s (worked up to 230, previous best at 1.0ms was 205). If the weight was moved at this speed the next set would go up in bar weight (still trying to get 1.0m/s). •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• This is a great way to make training competitive and focused (if you don't hit 1.0m/s for one rep of the set you have to lower the weight). Once the athlete sets a record for their 1.0m/s then next time in a their training cycle (or even following week) that 1.0 m/s is the goal they should try and beat it. If you are moving more weight at the same speed you are producing more force!

A post shared by Max Schmarzo (ATC/CSCS/MS) (@strong_by_science) on

 

References

Jocanovic, M and Flanagan, E. (2014) Researched applications of velocity based strength training. Journal of Australian Strength and Conditioning, 22

 

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