A powerlifter's guide to velocity based training
A Powerlifter’s Guide To Velocity Based Training

Written by Vitruve Team

3 January, 2022

Written by Vitruve Team

3 January, 2022

Written by Vitruve Team

3 January, 2022


While the concept of velocity-based training (VBT) is not new, the implications of velocity in workouts are not yet generalized. Part of the reason is that velocity is linked to only specific types of exercises. But yes, we can generalize velocity for a group of exercises that can incorporate VBT.

VBT mainly refers to an auto-regulatory method of training that aims to change variables according to an athlete’s readiness to train. This method is based on a smart assumption that force and velocity are interlinked and that different ranges of training help measure the aim of the training.

Now the question is why even measure velocity? According to many studies, maintaining a specific velocity against a given load can help achieve several training benefits. Tracking your velocity during training generates valuable data that you can utilize later to improve performance and reduce fatigue. Velocity data can help optimize your training by allowing you to:

  • Get instantaneous and objective feedback
  • Estimate your strength
  • Get precise load prescriptions
  • Test your training regimen using several useful metrics

Learning about Trackers and Their Features

First and foremost, get a tracking device. You will not be able to measure the velocity of your training if you do not have the right tool. With so many devices available on the market, you get a myriad of options to choose from. But then, making this selection can become an overwhelming process if you are not quite aware of the variables to consider.

The type of device you choose depends on the exercise you want to perform. To measure the velocity of your powerlifting workouts, you want to choose a tool that helps you quantify your deadlifts, bench presses, and squats. So of course, what you want is a configurable device that can use different settings to help you measure all your workouts like clockwork.

A powerlifter's guide to velocity based training

Incorporating Velocity-Based Training into Your Powerlifting Workouts

Once you are well-versed with the device, you can configure it according to your preferences. This configuration gives you strategic control over the speed of your movements. As a result, you can pick the amount of load that allows you to maintain your velocity without getting caught by fatigue.

Here is a brief overview of the steps you must follow to incorporate VBT into your powerlifting workouts.

Lifting fast

Training with velocity refers to being consistent with the workout intensity, effort, and speed of lifting. In other words, an athlete training with VBT has to be clear with their intent while continuing with every rep without losing the speed. Remember, you can make sure of the data’s accuracy when your workout speed remains constant throughout the workout. It is worth mentioning here that the purpose of measuring velocity is to ensure that you are using moving optimal load at an ideal speed. Therefore, be sure to steer clear of lazy reps.

Get our VBT Device

Collaboration with the Coach

The data alone may not be of many benefits if you are not working with your coach. You will need to get your coach on board to discuss every rep and the ways to remain consistent with your VBT.

Load Velocity Profile

VBT is all about the load and velocity. Therefore, you have to maintain your load velocity profile as one of the first things when implementing velocity-based training. With the help of this profile, you can estimate a one-repetition maximum for every workout – an increase in load will lead to a decrease in speed. Again, your tool comes in handy here as it allows you to set the said profile digitally. This profile will work in real-time to assist you with your VBT.

Adjusting to Fluctuations in Strength

Sometimes, you may lose strength due to nutrition, injury, stress, or any other issues. These are normal factors that can interfere with your ability to keep up with your velocity-based training goals. The good thing is you can set your preferences accordingly and perform your workouts.

A powerlifter's guide to velocity based training

Why Velocity-Based Training?

The shortest answer to this question is that VBT allows you to quantify your exercises and get the best out of them. Dr. Bryan Mann further described some important benefits of velocity-based training during the 2014 NSCA Coaches Conference. Here is a brief overview of those benefits.

Immediate feedback

Incorporating VBT into your workouts gives you instant results in the form of speed, endurance, and a better capability to lift heavy loads. Not only does this training benefits powerlifter, but it can also provide a vital edge to other athletes. The benefits of this training become immediately noticeable.

Objective feedback

This training gives valuable data on the amount of load you must use for a particular set. This set gets terminated once you cross a certain threshold. Now, how soon you cross this threshold determines some important things about your body’s response to VBT.


The best thing about VBT is it helps you become competitive with your training. This training mainly involves showing you your ability in numbers, which gives you precise information regarding where you stand in your sport. That way, you can try to be competitive with yourself next time when you hit the gym. Not only does this score help you beat your current rank, but you also compete with your peers in the gym.

Force and Power

A better score in the tracking device will denote a better overall strength and endurance. That way, you will be able to produce more force and increase the maximum power output.

A powerlifter's guide to velocity based training

What Does The Research Say

Research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health on 14 May 2021 studied the effects of velocity-based training on strength and power in elite athletes. This research was conducted to find whether velocity-based training could replace the percentage-based approach to increase general and specific performance. The primary purpose of this research was to review other studies that analyzed the impact of VBT on the power and strength of elite athletes.

After reviewing seven studies, this research found that dropping velocity to 10%-20% could lead to better neuromuscular adaptations and reduced neuromuscular fatigue. The research also found that using velocity zones could improve body composition and enhance performance.

Moreover, getting instantaneous feedback was found a more effective way to increase overall performance. According to the research, this feedback helps more when used by trainers and coaches to keep athletes updated about where they stand.

Final Thoughts

Elite powerlifters or other athletes cannot go ahead with their endeavors without proper knowledge of where they stand compared to others. The amount of load they can lift is only one variable that doesn’t give the most accurate details about their abilities. The second most vital variable is velocity or speed. Now, both these variables can be determined with Velocity-based training. This training gives those athletes a complete overview of their standing. Hence, they can optimize their performance in a much better way.

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