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Parental Perspective: Understanding VBT and How It Benefits for Your Child

Velocity Based Training (VBT) has emerged as a cutting-edge approach in strength & conditioning that promises significant benefits for athletes of all ages and experience levels. 

As parents, understanding these modern training techniques is crucial to supporting and nurturing your child’s long-term athletic development. 

This article aims to explain what VBT is, how it benefits all athletes (especially youth athletes) and how it helps parents stay informed and involved in the training process. 

Section 1: What is Velocity Based Training (VBT)? 

Velocity Based Training (VBT) is a training technology that emphasizes the velocity, or speed, of weight lifting movements to optimize performance. Unlike traditional weight training using percentages of 1RM or subjective measures, VBT measures the speed at which an athlete can move a given load. This objective velocity data is vital because it allows for more precise adjustments to training intensity, making sure that athletes train within their optimal load. 

VBT utilizes specialized equipment, such as Vitruve, to capture real-time data on the speed of each lift. This information provides immediate feedback, enabling coaches & athletes to make dynamic adjustments to their training variables based on real-time performance levels. By continuously monitoring movement velocity, VBT helps to tailor workouts to the athlete’s current state, promoting maximal efficiency & safety. 

The precision of VBT allows for individualized training prescriptions due to the inverse relationship between load & velocity, along with showcasing the athlete’s response to fatigue. Athletes can avoid overtraining by maintaining the correct intensity levels, which are indicated by the speed at which they can move the weights. 

In summary, VBT provides a data-driven & science-backed approach that enhances traditional weight training methods by focusing on the velocity of movement. This focus allows for more effective training adaptations, personalized programming, and a reduction in the risk of injury, making it an invaluable tool in the modern athletic training landscape. 

Section 2: Benefits of VBT for Youth Athletes (And ALL Athletes) 

So how can your athlete benefit from VBT? There have been numerous benefits of VBT confirmed by research, as well as anecdotal cases supported by thousands of coaches over the years. Some of the major benefits for all athletes include: 

1. Injury Risk Reduction 

2. Enhanced Performance

3. Improved Motivation & Intent 

4. Individualized Programming 

5. Managing & Monitoring Progress 

This, of course, is not an exhaustive list of benefits but the 5 that we feel are most comforting for parents to know about. 

2.1: Injury Risk Reduction

REDUCTION INJURY

We all want our children to stay safe and healthy. Starting off with injury risk reduction, this is a touchy subject. Of course, we can NOT prevent or predict injuries in sports. Sports are chaotic and sometimes unlucky. However, we CAN control certain variables in our athletes’ lifestyles that can contribute to the reduction in injury risk factors. 

The low hanging fruit is diet, exercise, sleep and mood. We can help educate our athletes on the importance of diet –– eating healthy foods & staying hydrated. 

We can remind our athletes that sleep is the king of recovery and wellness, and trying to get a solid 8 hours of sleep per night is an easy way to make progress. 

Mood is another important factor. We need to ensure our young athletes are happy & healthy mentally, not just physically. 

And lastly, exercise. Within our training programs, we can use VBT to help control & manage stress to make sure the athlete is getting enough stress to adapt to training, but not so much that the training becomes a negative stressor. 

One of the biggest risk factors for injuries is fatigue. And fatigue can be negatively or positively impacted by all of those 4 things mentioned above → diet, exercise, sleep and mood. 

Vitruve offers industry-leading fatigue management features to help coaches & athletes understand how and when to push it to the limits, and when to back off. 

One helpful VBT concept is velocity loss percentages. Velocity loss percentage VBT is a metric that quantifies the decline in lifting speed during a set, or throughout a training session. It is calculated as the percentage decrease from the fastest repetition to subsequent repetitions within the same set, or the percent decrement between set averages. 

This measure helps in determining the onset of fatigue and guides the adjustment of training loads to optimize performance and reduce the risk of overtraining. 

By monitoring velocity loss percentage, coaches and athletes can ensure that training intensity remains within safe and effective limits, enhancing both performance and injury risk reduction goals. 

Now, as a parent you may not be involved in the nitty-gritty of the training process, but knowing that your young athlete is training with these kinds of tools at their fingertips is a comforting feeling knowing that they’ll be working intelligently towards their goals. 

2.2: Enhanced Performance

ENHANCE PERFORMANCE

Another massive benefit of VBT is the ability to test & track performance outputs objectively over time. Not only does VBT itself help enhance performance, but it helps you track the performance trends as well. 

In many cases, families are training at private facilities that come at an additional cost, so this is a great point of emphasis for parents — return on investment. 

By making sure that athletes are training at the proper target velocities,coaches can confirm that the athlete is being challenged enough to achieve the desired training stimulus. And coaches can objectively measure the results and share that with both you and your young athlete. 

VBT is simply a piece of the puzzle. To gain strength, power and/or speed, athletes still need to be participating in a fully comprehensive program that includes various fundamental lifting movements, sprints, jumps and throws. 

VBT simply helps athletes & coaches categorize and manage the variations of stressors being applied through training and gives clear feedback on exactly what that training intensity looks like. 

2.3: Improved Motivation & Intent

MOTIVATION GYM

One of the most impactful and automatic benefits of VBT is the effects it has on motivation and intent during training. It’s pretty much impossible to correctly use VBT in a lazy, unmotivated way. 

The immediate data on bar speeds allows athletes to see tangible progress, or the need for adjustment, during their workouts. This feedback is monumental in the training process for helping athletes understand what certain levels of effort are associated with which bar speeds. 

The instant feedback loop created by VBT helps maintain high levels of engagement and enthusiasm, as athletes can directly correlate their efforts with measurable improvements. This ongoing positive reinforcement is crucial for sustaining motivation over the long term, making athletes more committed to their training regimens. 

VBT also introduces a gamified element to training sessions. Athletes love to compete, whether it’s against others or just against themselves. By setting specific velocity targets for each lift, athletes are challenged to meet or exceed these goals, turning each workout into a competitive and rewarding experience. 

This approach not only makes training more enjoyable but also promotes a high level of intent and focus, two of the most important factors in long-term athletic development. 

In addition to boosting motivation, VBT enhances an athlete’s intent by emphasizing the quality of each repetition rather than merely completing a set number of reps. Knowing that their performance is being closely monitored, athletes are more likely to maintain proper form and execute each movement with maximum effort. This gives the ultimate assurance to the parents knowing safety and quality is always at the top-of-mind.  VBT cultivates a mindset of intentionality, where every repetition is performed with purpose and precision, leading to better training outcomes and a more disciplined approach to athletic development.

2.4 Individualized Programming

INDIVIDUALIZED PROGRAM

Most athletes, especially young ones, overlook this but we know parents will appreciate it. VBT offers a highly individualized approach to training. Coaches have the ability to tailor programs to each athlete’s unique performance capabilities and needs, making it a one-size-fits-one approach rather than one-size-fits-all. 

No two athletes respond the same to training, so it makes no sense to expect one generic program to work the same for all athletes. 

Unlike traditional methods that prescribe uniform weights, percentages and volume, VBT uses real-time data to adjust training loads dynamically, as needed for each athlete. This personalized feedback ensures that each athlete works within their optimal intensity zone, enhancing the effectiveness of their workouts. 

These customized training plans evolve with the athlete’s progress. As your young athlete evolves, so does their programming. As athletes demonstrate improvements in performance, their training can be incrementally modified to introduce new stimuli to forge through plateaus and maximize results. 

By making the training process responsive, VBT helps athletes understand their bodies better, boosts their motivation and enhances their overall athletic experience. 

As a quick example, VBT uses velocity to program the intensity (weight) and to program the volume (repetitions) to do this, we use a velocity metric (ex. 0.68m/s) to determine how much weight that athlete should do; this assures that the athlete is using the appropriate load, according to their strength levels that day, if we were to use a % of their max, this will be inaccurate, as their max can change every day. Secondly, using a % of velocity loss, each athlete will do as many reps as possible with the same relative load, individualizing the volume; it is important to understand that not all athletes can do the same number of repetitions with the same relative load, as some can fatigue quicker than others. 

2.5: Managing & Monitoring Progress

Monitoring process

VBT has played a huge role in revolutionizing the management of athlete data & progress by providing precise, real-time data on lifting performance. Not only does VBT take the guesswork out of the training process, it leaves hints and clues along the way so coaches & athletes can track trends in their training progress

This data-driven approach enables personalized training adjustments, ensuring that each athlete’s program is tailored to their current capabilities and goals, which is crucial for consistent and sustainable progress. 

In addition to enhancing performance tracking, VBT significantly improves the management of training stress. One of the core principles of VBT is its ability to monitor fatigue through velocity loss percentage, as mentioned before. 

By managing training intensity based on objective data, VBT helps maintain an optimal balance between stress and recovery, ensuring that athletes remain in peak condition throughout their training program. 

This approach facilitates better communication and decision-making within the training process. Coaches, sports scientists, athletes and PARENTS can use the detailed metrics provided by VBT to make informed decisions about training modifications, recovery strategies, and performance goals. 

This comprehensive management of progress keeps everyone on the same page and moving in the right direction with more clarity and less confusion. 

For example, let’s imagine our kid is training during final exams. We can all agree that that is a great added stressor to his life, and this is going to show on training. The ability to measure speeds will help us make sure that the load is based on their current state, and not a max test that was taken several weeks ago. And what about the reps? What if we program 5 reps, but our athlete can only do 3 that day? This is where % of velocity loss comes into play, as it will automatically adjust to the fatigue. 

Section 3: 5 Helpful Tips for Parents 

With a solid foundation of VBT knowledge, now you and your athletes can tackle this training process as a team. Here are some helpful tips for parents when it comes to VBT training.

1. Master the Basics: Hopefully that is exactly what we’ve done today. Our goal with this resource is to help parents understand the basics of VBT and how these methods can benefit your child. With this foundational education, now you can make sure that your athlete is staying on track and your investment in their development is being upheld by their coaches. 

2. Encourage Consistency: Emphasize the importance of consistency in training attendance and effort. Consistent participation in VBT sessions is key to maximizing its benefits and achieving long-term athletic development. Encourage your child to approach each session with focus, dedication and a positive attitude. Consistency is the biggest factor in results, hands down. 

3. Monitor Rest and Recovery: Recognize the significance of rest and recovery in your child’s training regimen. More is NOT always better. And VBT helps us avoid the kind of more that isn’t better. Ensure they are getting adequate sleep, proper nutrition and recovery between training sessions to support their physical and mental well-being. Encourage open communication about any signs of fatigue or stress they may be experiencing. 

4. Progress, Not Perfection: Encourage your child to celebrate their progress and achievements along their training journey, regardless of whether they achieve specific performance goals. The goal is not to be perfect, but to make progress. Mistakes and setbacks may happen, but the goal is to always move forward. Recognize their dedication, effort and improvements in technique or performance as valuable milestones in their athletic development — no matter how far from the end goal they may be. 

5. Trust the Professionals: Place trust in the certified trainers and coaches overseeing your child’s VBT sessions. We encourage you to do extensive research into a trainer’s experience, education and background before entering a program with them. Once you find the right person, you’ll know they have the expertise to design safe and effective training programs tailored to your child’s needs and abilities. Communicate openly with them and seek clarification on any questions or concerns you may have. 

Keep these tips in mind and you can play a vital role in supporting your athlete’s training process. We’re glad that you’ve chosen to research VBT and hope that you find the best fit for your child to make amazing progress!

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