Velocity Based Training Methods

Velocity based training (VBT) is an awesome tool. It can be used in an assortment of ways to better your training. However, because of its diversity, it can cause some confusion as to what methods should be used and how to use them. Below will be several examples of how to utilize different velocity based training methods in your program

Using it as a percentage of one rep max

Velocity based training can be used in conjunction with the traditional training method of using a percentage of one rep max. This is probably one of the most common way it is used. In this method, velocity is used to auto-regulate training. Instead of only assigning a percentage of one rep max, you will assign a velocity that correlates with the percentage of one rep max. This way, the athlete will focus on lifting as much weight as possible at the desired velocity. This will take into account daily fluctuations in strength, thus making it auto-regulatory.

Velocity and %1rm relationship (1)

Dynamic Effort Method (Westside Barbell Style)

This method is mixture of Westside Barbell’s dynamic effort day and velocity based training. In this case you will be using the same sets and reps scheme that westside uses (2×12). However, your loads will be adjusted based on the velocities you are targeting.

Image 2

For example, say you are doing at a 2×12 on the squat and your target velocity is 1.0 m/s. Every set will done with the target velocity in mind. The minute the athlete misses, or hits above the velocity for one rep, they will decrease or increase the weight (I personally like to go two sets in a row of missing, just to make sure that first set was not a fluke) . Example below

2×12 @ 1.0m/s

Set 1: 2 reps @ 185 (1.2m/s for fastest rep)

Set 2: 2 reps @ 195 (1.12m/s for fastest rep)

Set 3: 2 reps @ 205 (1.09m/s for fastest rep)

Set 4: 2 reps @ 215 (1.04m/s for fastest rep)

Set 6: 2 reps @ 225 (1.01m/s for fastest rep)

Set 7: 2 reps @ 235 (0.98m/s for fastest rep)


Set 8: 2 reps @ 235 (0.97m/s for fastest rep)


Set 9: 2 reps @ 225 (1.1m/s for fastest rep)

Set 10: 2 reps @ 230 (1.0m/s for fastest rep)

Set 11: 2 reps @ 230 (0.98 m/s for fastest rep)


Set 12: 2 reps @ 230 (0.97 m/s for fastest rep)

Image 3

One Rep Max

Velocity based training can be used as a form of one rep max testing. You can test either weight at a specific velocity, or velocity at a specific weight. This can be used to monitor how athletes are progressing in specific strength qualities. For velocity based strength qualities click HERE.

Testing Weight At A Velocity

A coach may want to see how an athlete is progressing within specific strength quality regions. For example, in season you may want to monitor their abilities to produce power. To find this out, all you have to do is test the athlete at a velocity that correlates to their highest power output.  For example, lets say we want to test the athlete’s power/strength at 0.9m/s . You can use the example below for guidance.

Previous best at 0.9 m/s is 270

Testing procedure

Set 1: 260lbs @ .95m/s

Set 2: 270 @ .92m/s

Set 3: 275 @0.91m/s

Set 4: 280@0.89 m/s


Set 5: 280 @ .90 m/s (NEW PR)

Testing The Velocity of A Weight

The exact same set up can be done using velocity at a specific weight. Have a previously recorded weight (270@0.9m/s) then test 270 and see if they can hit a new velocity (270@0.92m/s).

How to analyze these results. Look for long-term trends and not daily changes. You can do this form of testing one to two times a week. 


Inter/Intra-Set Fatigue Monitoring

Velocity based training can also be used to monitor fatigue during a workout. Lets say you are not completely sold on VBT, but you still want to add it in to your workouts. Instead of trying out new methods you do not trust, just hook the device up to your barbell during your workouts and record some numbers. You can simply go through your workout like you normally would, but each set you should note how much velocity loss occurred from your first rep until your last rep of each set. In conjunction with this, you can give an Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) rating to each set. See how velocity loss and RPE correlate to see whether or not the two match up. Once you get a feel for how it works, you can then start to base your training on velocity loss during a set. This is a simple, yet effective method to start learning how velocity based training can be used.

Image 4
example of velocity loss during a set

Training With Velocity Cutoffs and Drop Offs

Drop offs and cutoffs will use specific drops in velocity during the set to determine when a set should be terminated. It will also use drop offs and cutoff of Initial velocity of the first rep of each set to determine if exercise should be terminated.



0.10m/s cutoff/drop off (reps) X 0.10m/s cutoff/drop off (set)

Starting velocity = 1.0m/s  

Rep Cutoff = -0.10m/s  

Set Cutoff = -0.10m/s (2 consecutive reps)  

Set 1:      

1.0m/s,  0.98m/s,  0.97m/s,  0.97m/s,  0.95m/s,  0.92m/s,  0.89m/s STOP SET

Set 2:

0.98m/s,  0.97m/s,  0.96m/s,  0.93m/s,  0.91m/s, 0.90 m/s STOP SET

Set 3:

0.97m/s,  0.96m/s,  0.93m/s,  0.91m/s, 0.89 m/s STOP SET

Set 4:

0.93m/s,  0.92m/s,  0.91m/s, 0.89 m/s STOP SET

Set 5:

0.92m/s, 0.88 m/s STOP SET

*** Side Note: You do not have to go until your first rep velocity falls below your cutoff . You can have it set up so that if they cannot perform more than 2-3 consecutive reps above the cutoff velocity, then you can cut them off***


Aspects to be modified:

When using the cutoff/ drop off method , you can modify the cutoff/drop off velocities for either the reps or the sets. For example, you can have a larger rep cutoff than the set cutoff.


0.10m/s cutoff/drop off (reps) X 0.5m/s cutoff/drop off (set)

Reps cut off after a 0.1m/s fall from initial velocity and cut sets off after first rep of the set falls below 0.5m/s of initial velocity.



These are just a couple of different velocity based training methods you can use. Velocity based training is only limited by your creativity. If you understand how it works, you can develop new ways of training old ideas.


Image reference links
  • Image 1: International Journal of Sports Medicine 31(5):347-52 · February 2010 DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1248333 · Source: PubMed
  • Image 2:
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  • Image 4: Medicine and science in sports and exercise 43(9):1725-34 · February 2011 DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e318213f880 · Source: PubMed

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