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Velocity Based Training – The Ultimate Guide

9 April, 2022

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What is Velocity Based Training?

One of the latest updates on fitness trends positions VBT (Velocity Based Training) in a very good place. The control of the load through the speed of execution gives us very relevant information when training. Both professional athletes and amateur athletes already have their linear encoder that they use in practically all their training.

In this ultimate guide to (VBT) velocity based training, you will find useful information and tools for you and your athletes. The facilities given by the Vitruve encoder is that having a magnet placed at its base allows us to have a very good hold and also place it in any position without any grip. We must bear in mind that a linear encoder uses a system that by means of a cable measures the speed of execution. For example, when we do a squat and place it glued to the bar it allows us to know at what speed we are able to move X tonnage. This information is of vital importance for the control of fatigue since it is known that there is a direct correlation between the velocity of execution and force exerted (1)

 

 

Velocity-Based Training

Fuente: Rahmani A, Viale F, Dalleau G, Lacour J-R. Force/velocity and power/velocity relationships in squat exercise. European journal of applied physiology. 2001;84(3):227-32.

This new way of quantifying the load is nothing more than a different way to perform an extension and programming of training, and in this definitive guide to velocity based training or VBT, we are going to give you the keys to maximize its potential. Just as before programming based on the % of the RM was used to a greater extent, in this case we use the velocity in meters per second to know if the repetition we are doing is close to the 1 RM or not (2).

 However, although this idea occurred to them after a mere observation to some researchers in exercise sciences, this tool has evolved in such a way that it allows us to know the velocity of execution in different movements that can be very useful for certain athletes. Finally, we cannot forget that VBT or Velocity Based Training helps coaches to plan their session, but also athletes to train better. It seems that an athlete, immediately from the execution speed as offered by the Vitruve encoder, motivates the athlete to perform the execution with more force (3).

 

How does Velocity Based Training work?

The VBT is a type of training that through a linear encoder measures the velocity of execution and helps us to know the intensity of the exercise. As we have previously mentioned we can know how we are executing each of the repetitions. It is a very good tool for fatigue control.

 The VBT is a type of training that through a linear encoder measures the velocity of execution and helps us to know the intensity of the exercise.

 We all know that when we are doing a series of X repetitions the strength we have is decreasing (4).” We do not perform with the same force or with the same velocity the first repetition of the series as the second. In this sense, there is a concept called loss of velocity and that we can also calculate it based on the load we have and the exercise. Thus, for example, the loss of speed that we can experience in a squat is not the same as in a bench press.

 But, why is it important to analyze the loss of velocity? We have already commented previously that there is a close relationship between velocity of execution, strength and fatigue (5). When we are training we want our exercise to have a specific objective. For example, if we want to increase the strength or power of execution we must train with a specific intensity. The measurement of the speed will indicate if that intensity is being given or if on the contrary, we are no longer training in it and the loss of velocity as well.

 Imagine that we want to train at a specific intensity that corresponds to 0.8 m/s but that the loss of velocity is not low (20%). When we reach a velocity less than 0.64 m/s, we must stop. We take the weight that corresponds to that velocity of execution and begin to perform the exercise with the following velocity scheme:  

  • First repetition: 0.8 m/s
  • Second repetition: 0.77 m/s
  • Third repetition: 0.73 m/s
  • Fourth repetition: 0.67 m/s
  • Fifth repetition: 0.54 m/s

At that time, when the speed has dropped from 0.64 m/s is when we must stop doing the series, no matter how much we have planned 3 sets of 8 repetitions. The loss of velocity helps me to work in a specific velocity range and not deviate from the objective of the session, microcycle or mesocycle.

  

Velocity based training explained

 

Benefits of Velocity Based Training

Immediate feedback

Incorporating VBT into your workouts gives you instant results in the form of velocity, endurance, and a better ability to lift heavy loads. Likewise, the immediate result can motivate the athlete and cause an improvement in performance. In this way, endurance athletes and strength athletes can benefit from this VBT. An immediate response from the velocity of execution helps us to get results from our training at that very moment.

Objective feedback

The VBT provides valuable data on the amount of load that should be used for a particular exercise. Unlike other types of feedback such as the rate of perceived exertion (RPE) or repetitions in reserve (RIR), the speed of execution offers totally OBJECTIVE feedback. This set is done once it crosses a certain threshold. Now, how soon you cross this threshold determines some important things about your body’s response to VBT.

It’s competitive

The best thing about VBT is that it helps you to become competitive with yourself and your training. This training consists mainly of demonstrating performance in numbers. If we can move a load at a higher velocity in a workout this means that in the next workout, we can compare ourselves with the speeds of today. This quantification not only helps you surpass your current rank, but also helps you compete with your peers in the gym.

Strength and power

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

 A real example of a Velocity Based Training workout session

Below, we present the data of a series of exercises in high bar squat.

 

 

Here we can see how a person performs with a weight of 76 kg 8 repetitions. We see that this weight is “medium” since it starts with an average speed of 0.72. However, we can see that this load is moderate-lta since the loss of speed is considerable 0.72 to 0.37 in the last repetition.

 

Reasons why velocity based training is useful

Reference tables – % Load

We want you to take something very useful from this definitive guide to VBT and one of the most interesting aspects of VBT is that we have references of what the velocities should be in different exercises. For example, the most studied movements in exercise science are usually the bench press and the back squat. In this sense, researchers from the University of Seville analyzed the execution velocities by linear encoder associated with different percentages of the load from 30% (a work that we would associate more with power because it is executed at a higher velocity) to 100% during a bench press. Here are the results:

 

velocity based training vitruve

Source: González-Badillo J. Theoretical and experimental bases for the application of strength training to sports training. Infocoes 2000; 5(2): 3-14.

Taking into account that the bench press, the pull-ups, the squats and the deadlift are some of the most performed exercises we wanted to analyze their velocities. Below is a table-summary of various articles and sources of information. Similarly, there are data extrapolated from real data seen in tests carried out in the laboratory. This table serves as a reference when comparing our execution velocities with the general rule:And what does this mean? This means that the higher the percentage, the lower the execution velocity. But how far can we slow down the execution velocity? Apparently the study carried out by the colleagues of Seville seems to estimate that the velocity of execution of an RM in bench press is 0.19 ± 0.04 m / s. This offers us very useful information for the day we are training near that 1RM to know in what range of velocities we should be. And not only that, it is also really useful to know the velocity of execution with which I am training and to be able to estimate that on that same day I can be a little more fatigued than the previous day and, therefore, move the load at a lower velocity.

It should be noted that execution velocities vary in the type of exercise. For example, if we move to perform a deadlift, the relationship between execution velocity and 1RM may be different. Therefore, we should select the exercises that we are going to perform in our planning and make an estimate of the execution velocities and their relationship with the % of the 1RM. However, from the Vitruve blog we want to help you and therefore, in this definitive guide we are going to put the execution velocities for different exercises.

 

Velocity Based Training Vitruve

Source: González-Badillo JJ, Sánchez-Medina L, Pareja Blanco F, Rodríguez Rosell D. The speed of execution as a reference for the programming, control and evaluation of strength training. 2017.

What Science says

Research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health on May 14, 2021 studied the effects of VBT on strength and potency in elite athletes. This research was conducted to determine whether VBT could replace the percentage-based approach to increase overall and specific performance. The main objective of this research was to review other studies that looked at the impact of VBT on the power and strength of elite athletes.

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

Using velocity zones could improve body composition and improve performance.

In addition, getting instant feedback was found to be a more effective way to increase overall performance. According to research, this feedback helps more when coaches use it to keep athletes updated on their position.

 

Get our VBT Device

 

Learning from encoders and their characteristics

First, get a linear encoder. You won’t be able to measure the velocity of your workout if you don’t have the right tool. With so many devices available on the market, you have a huge variety of options to choose from. That selection can become an overwhelming process if you are not 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 workouts, you should choose a tool that helps you quantify, for example, your deadlift, bench presses and squats. You need a configurable device that can use different exercises to monitor all your workouts like clockwork.

How to start training with VBT

How To Workout Like The World’s Greatest Athletes

 

Initiation level

As we have previously defined, it is important that when we start doing speed training we focus on the correction of the technique. Moving a heavy load without good technique can be dangerous. Focus on improving the technique and familiarize yourself with the different speeds and values that the application gives.

Basic level

You already know the high and low velocities; you know what feeling it corresponds to. Measure your MRI and start progressing in basic exercises like squat, deadlift, and bench press.

 Advanced level

Advanced velocity based training can be defined by having baseline data on which to build my training and knowing on which microcycle I want what velocity. An advanced training plan would be to control each microcycle by the speed of execution I am running.

 

Incorporate Velocity Based Training into your powerlifting workouts

 Lifting more rapid

Velocity based training refers to being consistent with training intensity, effort, and lifting velocity. In other words, an athlete who trains with VBT has to be clear with their intention while continuing with each repetition without losing velocity. Remember, you can ensure data accuracy when the velocity of your workout remains constant throughout the workout. It’s worth mentioning here that the purpose of measuring velocity is to make sure you’re using an optimal load on the move at an ideal speed. So, be sure to stay away from lazy repetitions.

Collaborate with the coach

Data alone may not be of much benefit if you’re not working with your coach. You will need your coach involved to discuss each replay and ways to stay consistent with your VBT.

Get your strength-speed profile

VBT is all about charging and velocity. Therefore, you should keep your upload velocity profile as one of the first things when implementing the VBT. With the help of this profile, you can estimate a maximum of one repetition for each workout: an increase in load will lead to a decrease in velocity. Again, their tool is useful here, as it allows you to set up such a profile digitally. This profile will work in real time to help you with your VBT.

Adjust training loads

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

back pulls

 

Conclusion: Train, become strong and have fun training

In this definitive guide to velocity based training or VBT have given you the keys to have as a reference when carrying out your workouts with this tool. Remember that each exercise has its execution velocity and that programming a loss of velocity X will help you focus on a specific intensity.

 If you want to know more about the VBT do not forget to consult our blog and remember: “The VBT is a variant that you can use in your training, incorporate it to give an advantage to your training and your athlete.”

 Unai Adrián Perez de Arrilucea Le Floc’h

 

References

1.Rahmani A, Viale F, Dalleau G, Lacour J-R. Force/velocity and power/velocity relationships in squat exercise. European journal of applied physiology. 2001;84(3):227-32.

2.González-Badillo JJ, Sánchez-Medina L. Movement velocity as a measure of loading intensity in resistance training. International journal of sports medicine. 2010;31(05):347-52.

3.Wilson KM, Helton WS, de Joux NR, Head JR, Weakley JJ, editors. Real-time quantitative performance feedback during strength exercise improves motivation, competitiveness, mood, and performance. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting; 2017: SAGE Publications Sage CA: Los Angeles, CA.

4.Badillo JJG, Serna JR. Bases of strength training programming: Inde; 2002.

5.Sanchez-Medina L, González-Badillo JJ. Velocity loss as an indicator of neuromuscular fatigue during resistance training. Medicine and science in sports and exercise. 2011;43(9):1725-34. 

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Graduado en Ciencias de la Actividad Física y del Deporte.
Investigador en el grupo PROFITH-ACTIBATE.
Máster en investigación de la Actividad Física y el Deporte (UGR).
Doctorando en el programa de Biomedicina por la Universidad de Granada (UGR).
Colaborador del "The Voice of Science".

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