Technological advances of VBT devices
In the last 5-10 years there has been an increasing growth in the availability of sports science technology and performance equipment. With this increased access to technology, there have been more devices and companies that have started producing equipment for trainers. Velocity-based training has been around for a long time, the only thing that has changed is that our ability to measure velocity has become easier. An intelligent trainer can always see and understand the need to manipulate training variables to bring about certain adaptations.
Introduction to Strength and Conditioning through VBT Training Devices
In order to perform proper velocity-based training, we need a vbt device that measures the velocity of execution. We all know that the smaller the load, the higher the velocity at which we move it. However, the trainer’s keen eye has nothing to do with the objective quantification offered by a linear encoder.
The linear encoder is a device that is connected to the bar or the device that we are using for training and that measures the execution velocity , normally in meters per second, and indicates the effort that we are making. As you can see, the advancement of technology does not only go hand in hand with better phones, televisions or alexas, but also offers us devices and tools to control the physical exercise we do and achieve better levels of physical condition and performance.
The linear encoder is a device that gives you real time feedback while measuring the time and space in which you move a load . It is a good tool as it easily measures performance. Through a linear encoder you have a continuous and very simple monitoring of your athlete, and you know if he is training with the load that corresponds to him. Using a linear encoder in your training and for the measurement of your maximum repetition brings great value to you as a coach and to your athletes.
The linear encoder is a device that gives you accurate and precise real time feedback measuring the time and space in which you move a load in Velocity Based Training. It is a good tool as it easily measures performance.
Training based on velocity will allow me to improve my muscle strength and conditioning more efficiently and, above all, to achieve a good physical condition in a very precise way. After all, monitoring training will allow us to quantify the load more realistically and, therefore, achieve much more accurate training.
We must emphasize that the first thing is to focus on our athlete controlling the execution technique very well and feeling comfortable moving the weight load at high velocity. If we do not have this controlled, the only thing we can cause is greater damage. It is important to stay updated and read up on the principles of strength training. Velocity-based training has been around for a long time. The only thing that has changed is that our ability to measure velocity has become easier and more accurate.
Benefits of using a VBT device
As we have previously analyzed, a linear encoder is a tool that helps monitor the performance of your athletes. In addition, they help us to increase the efficiency of training and to be able to analyze the athlete’s progression. Not only does it measure performance and velocity, but it is a really useful device to know if our athlete is fatigued or not. When we have planned to do 4 series of 10 repetitions and we see that in the first series the performance falls below m/s, for example, it is a great indicator to know that our athlete is fatigued, due to a very intense training session the day before or because he has not slept properly.
Offers relevant information to the athlete and the coach
One of the latest updates on fitness trends puts velocity-based training in a very good place. The control of the weight load through the velocity of execution gives us very relevant information when it comes to training. Both professional athletes and amateur athletes already have their linear encoder that they use in practically all their training sessions.
Calculate the MR without the need for a specific test
Normally, linear encoders help to measure the maximum force without the need to carry out a specific test. For example, we all know that a one maximum repetition (1RM) test is a long process and losing a day of training in measuring the 1RM in each of the exercises would take too much time and would be very inefficient. However, the linear encoder is capable of autonomously calculating the 1RM through the weight and the running velocity. Currently, linear encoders have the necessary precision to correctly estimate the 1RM, although there are other ways to do it (1-4).
It helps us to perform similar repetitions
It is very common that as we increase the training load, the technique is modified. It is not the same to perform a squat without a load than with 80 kg. The depth, range of motion, and even the pattern of execution change. This technology offers us information about the range of movement and the force expressed. In this way, if we have the same range of motion and apply more force while maintaining the same technique, it will mean that we have gained strength.
In this week’s review we are going to analyze the different linear encoders that exist, and we will give an opinion based on the scientific literature to recommend one or the other.
Comparing Velocity-based training devices
First of all, let’s talk about the T-FORCE device. This device is one of the first linear encoders that began to be used in 2007. It is a device that is used by researchers, coaches and athletes to quantify performance for strength and conditioning. It is a device that has proven to be very high in accuracy and precision and that offers data not only on execution velocity but also on acceleration, position, force or power through any strength and conditioning training. Although a bit old and cumbersome, it is a system that offers great guarantees of a good measurement. In fact, both at low and high velocities it can estimate the person’s 1RM very well. As we have well indicated, it is a device that is already several years old, and it shows both in its software and in the device itself. However, since it is managed by computer, it allows you to save the files in Excel format and create your own teams of players and athletes.
Vitruve VBT device
On the other hand, we leave the crown jewel for last, the Vitruve vbt device. The first thing I am going to mention is that a while ago, in 2019 to be exact, a study was published that compared up to 7 devices to measure velocity.
Among them was the T-Force device and others of other commercial brands. The results of that study can be seen in the article itself linked here, but I would like to highlight the last part where they talk about practical applications. We see how at the end of the article they suggest that the Vitruve Vbt device (formerly Speed4lift) is the most reliable, precise and accurate for velocity-based training and strength and conditioning. Although, in this study they only analyzed the bench press movement, so their results cannot be extrapolated to other exercises. This is what the scientific method says, that is, until it is proven that it is still the most reliable in other movements it cannot be confirmed, but the results in the bench press are there.
Vitruve VBT device demonstrated in its day that it is a very valid tool to carry out training based on its results. As we have commented in previous posts, velocity-based training can have its drawbacks, but it seems to offer guarantees of being a good training method. In addition, Vitruve has proven to have the necessary characteristics to position itself first when compared to other vbt devices with the same characteristics.
First impressions of the VBT device of Vitruve
When a trainer starts training with a vbt device like Vitruve to perform velocity-based training, it is believed that all his training problems will be solved. However, young coaches have always been far from being able to buy a vbt device of this caliber for the cost they previously had. In this sense, Vitruve has managed to develop a very economical type of linear encoder with high reliability.
In addition, the use of this technology has meant a paradigm shift in the athletes themselves. Elite athletes, tired of following the same workouts, have found an ally in velocity-based training. The motivation and understanding of the exercises have changed. Athletes know and want to know why they perform one type of exercise or another and at what velocity.
Elite athletes, tired of following the same workouts, have found an ally in velocity-based training devices like Vitruve VBT device.
Differences between a linear encoder and an accelerometer
An accelerometer measures the velocity of a bar relative to the ground and gives slightly different numbers than a linear encoder. The main reason they find different values is because the measurement method is completely different. Basically, an encoder winds a rope around a spindle and when the rope unwinds it calculates the velocity at which the spindle moves. In contrast, an accelerometer creates an electrical charge which is then calculated by the position and velocity of the 3 axes it carries.
In this review of devices, we have concluded that Vitruve’s vbt device is one of the most suitable and precise encoders for measuring velocity based training. We do not want to forget that it is not only the measurement of the data (the most important part) but also the ease offered by the device. Its magnetic fastening ensures the device does not move when the weight load is moved at high velocities. In other vbt devices, we have seen that if the device moves, the measurement is no longer valid, and it is necessary to measure again.
Vitruve’s vbt device is one of the most suitable and precise encoders for measuring Velocity Based Training.
On the other hand, the ease that it offers with its mobile application and the bluetooth connection makes the vbt device very manageable and easy to use. As with other devices, hours of training are required. Vitruve offers a user-friendly and easy-to-use tool.
However, we are aware that everything can be improved and, for example, at Vitruve we know that training load quantification is almost always done with Excel. It would be a very good idea to allow the application to export the data in xlsx or csv files for processing in Excel.
For now, this is our review of the Vbt devices that allow quantifying velocity training. If you are still interested, do not hesitate to continue visiting our blog and asking us whatever you need to ask.
Unai Adrián Pérez de Arrilucea Le Floc’h and Sam Portland
- Bazuelo-Ruiz B, Padial P, García-Ramos A, Morales-Artacho AJ, Miranda MT, Feriche B. Predicting maximal dynamic strength from the load-velocity relationship in squat exercise. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 2015;29(7):1999-2005.
- García-Ramos A, Haff GG, Pestaña-Melero FL, Pérez-Castilla A, Rojas FJ, Balsalobre-Fernández C, et al. Feasibility of the 2-point method for determining the 1-repetition maximum in the bench press exercise. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance.13(4):474-81.
How the encoder works?
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Why Velocity-Based Training is recommended for athletes?
1. Track your perfomance.
2. Adjust the fatigue
3. Avoid injuries
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