Strength training is done today in almost all sports. Whether you dedicate yourself to running, throwing, putting goals or lifting bars, part of training will be strength training and probably with lifting weights. That’s why optimizing performance achieved with strength training should be one of the goals of any athlete or coach. In this post we are going to talk about velocity based training.

Fundamental bases of velocity-based training

Force (F) = Mass (M) x Acceleration (A)

By parts.

Mass (M) of an object is the amount of matter it has. It is measured in kilograms. It should not be confused with weight, which is simply the mass of a body multiplied gravity, and is measured in Newtons (N).

Acceleration (A): It is the change of velocity of a body per unit of time. That is, how much the velocity of a body changes in a certain amount of time. For example, if an object passes from 0 to 50 km/h in two seconds, it will have less acceleration than if an object passes from 0 to 100 km/h in two seconds.

Force (F): What we should know about Force (F), is that it is represented in the acceleration that an object, with a determined mass, carries:

-The higher acceleration, the more strength. Therefore, the greater the acceleration, the more force we are applying.

– Knowing that we start from a still position (velocity 0), the higher the velocity we reach, the more force we will have applied (because we have achieved greater acceleration).

-Conclusion: If a person moves 100 kilograms in the bench press at 0.4 m/s2 and another person moves them at 0.5 m/s2, the second person is applying more force.

This is the basis of training based on the velocity of execution. If the same person measures the velocity of execution of the bar every day when training in the same exercise, and one day, moves that weight faster, that day will have applied more force. Given that the force is something that the human being can train (and improve) we can know the force that we are applying if we measure the acceleration of the object that we are moving.

Traditional quantification

vs.

Velocity strength training

Until recently, in training, methods such as 1RM and its percentages were used to train. This method consisted in, basically, knowing the maximum amount of kilograms that can be lifted in each exercise, and deciding what intensity to train during a cycle based on a percentage of that amount of kilograms.

But this posed a series of problems: The first of them is that the maximum amount of kilograms that a person can lift a day varies a lot. So if you had to raise 70% of RM to three months ago, you probably would have gained strength, and training with a weight that, although three months ago was 70%, now is 60%. The second is that we cannot perform 1RM tests every day to know what it is, because this would fatigue the athlete, and it is also very harmful. These are the most complicated problems to face, but this method has other drawbacks as well.

Then, they began to investigate about the velocity of the bar, and discovered, in an interesting article made with the bench press exercise, that each person could move a 0/0 of the RM, at a certain velocity. That is, for example, in bench press, all subjects raised their RM to approximately 0.16 m/s2. After analyzing all the data, they realized that there was a very high relation between the velocity at which the bar moved in the bench press, and the 0/0 of the RM that was being used. (Gonzalez-Badillo & Sanchez-Medina, 2010). And they made a graph relating the data of both variables for all the subjects of the study, this one here:

velocidad media propulsiva

Table 1. Propulsive average velocity Ratio -% load 1RM

Where it can be observed, that as the percentage of the RM increases, the velocity decreases, following a clear pattern. The study was repeated 8 weeks later, in which 56 subjects who had done the first test, made a second equal test, and saw that although their training level had changed, the velocity at which they moved the % RM bar had changed little. Although it has been concluded later, athletes can have a very different force-velocity curve in the same exercise. (Cormie, McBride, & McCaulley, 2007; Meylan et al., 2015)

Calculate 1RM with the Force-Velocity profile

With that researchers concluded, each person moved a %RM at a specific velocity in a particular exercise. And if we make a graph by putting a point at the height of the velocity at which we have moved the bar for each %RM, we get a drawing similar to the one above. This is known as the “force-velocity profile”.

The force-velocity profile, defined by the % RM or load that we are using, and the velocity at which we move it, could be defined for each subject in the bench press, and later it was also discovered that there is a very similar relationship in the squat and inverted row exercises (Sanchez-Medina, PaHares, Perez, Moran-Navarro, & Gonzalez-Badillo, 2017; Sanchez-Moreno, Rodriguez-Rosell, Pareja-Blanco, Mora-Custodio, & Gonzalez-Badillo, 2017 ). Therefore, if we knew the velocity of the bar, we could know that% of the RM was using the person, and if we know its force-velocity profile (since not all people move a % RM at the same velocity), the maximum weight that person can have in a particular exercise. A new paradigm was born.

Conclusions:

-Each person has an individual strength-velocity profile that varies according to the exercise, sex, age, sport that is practiced, and more factors. That force-velocity profile also varies by exercise, that is, although in bench press you move 70% at 0.5 m/s2, it is possible that in the squat you move to 70% of the RM at 0.7 m/s, for example, by factors of which we will speak in another article.

-Measuring the velocity is an effective way to know what the state of an athlete is one day, and know what load should handle based on that.

In future articles we will talk more about training based on velocity and why the velocity4lifts encoder is a great option if you want to improve your workouts.

Bibliography

Cormie, P., McBride, J. M., & McCaulley, G. O. (2007). Validation of power measurement techniques in dynamic lower body resistance exercises. Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 23(2), 103–118. https://doi.org/10.1123/jab.23.2.103 González-Badillo, J. J., & Sánchez-Medina, L. (2010). Movement velocity as a measure of loading intensity in resistance training. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 31(5), 347–352. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0030-1248333 Meylan, C. M. P., Cronin, J. B., Oliver, J. L., Hughes, M. M. G., Jidovtseff, B., & Pinder, S. (2015). The reliability of isoinertial force–velocity–power profiling and maximal strength assessment in youth. Sports Biomechanics, 14(1), 68–80. https://doi.org/10.1080/14763141.2014.982696 Sánchez-Medina, L., Pallarés, J., Pérez, C., Morán-Navarro, R., & González-Badillo, J. (2017). Estimation of Relative Load From Bar Velocity in the Full Back Squat Exercise. Sports Medicine International Open, 1, E80–E88. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0043-102933 Sánchez-Moreno, M., Rodríguez-Rosell, D., Pareja-Blanco, F., Mora-Custodio, R., & González-Badillo, J. J. (2017). Movement velocity as indicator of relative intensity and level of effort attained during the set in pull-up exercise. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 12(10), 1378–1384. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.2016-0791