I have already highlighted in my previous blogs that I find it challenging to remember, focus on and apply key elements of various principles; therefore I constantly find myself having to re-read them as a refresh. However, a “refresh” is a good thing, right?
Our professional duty is to ‘be the best for our athlete(s)’. This is the phrase that I remind myself of when I think I have had a memory overload, when I feel nothing else can surely sink in. I remember this phrase as a motivational tool to push on and keep progressing.
This is why I have written this blog. To help you understand Velocity Based Training (VBT) in bite sized chunks and no doubt it will pose some scenarios you can relate to and hopefully serve as a teaching aid.
So, what is VBT?
VBT measures the speed at which the weight moves to tell you the loads you should use, when to stop a set, and how many sets to do.
How does it work?
By the use of a sensor strapped to the bar or person, it records the velocity at which the weight is lifted. From this data, you or your athlete(s) can alter the training load accordingly if it does not match up to their prescribed training load for that specific training session.
Why is this information important?
From reading various reputable journals, I have come to learn that our nervous system is never constant. Therefore when testing a 1RM, that weight would have been the absolute load for that day. Based upon this quantifiable data, when training at various percentages in the coming weeks, the actual relative load may seem higher than what it is meant to be.
For example, a lifter records a 200kg deadlift for their 1RM. Awesome! When training at 80% of this load in a following session, they may feel that they are working a lot harder than 80%. This is due to their relative load being higher, at perhaps 90%.
We’ve all had those days when we feel strong walking into the gym one day and feel weak in another. This is due to fluctuant changes in our nervous system.
The lifter, who recorded his awesome 200kg 1RM deadlift and worked at what was supposed to be 80% of his absolute load in his session, then found he was actually working at a perceived 90% load. This is due to these subsequent changes in his nervous system. Therefore, in laymen’s terms, he was suffering from a ‘bad day at the office’.
What are the Training Zones?
These have been diluted from the Training Zones found from the research carried out by the infamous Bryan Mann, PhD. His interpretations of the Training Zones are as follows:
By understanding the trait that is to be developed, the proper load can be selected for that training day in accordance with your absolute load (1RM) and Mesocycle. The focus shouldn’t be on what the % of the 1RM is supposed to be for that training day, because by following the prescribed velocity, your athlete(s) will be training with the appropriate loads.
How is it measured?
There are pieces of exceptional gym kit out there. One more specifically is GymAware. GymAware will not only give you crucial feedback, they will ensure that your athlete(s) are training the appropriate traits. You will be able to give your athlete(s) real time feedback on power, velocity and technique while they train.
I know what you are thinking, what if you don’t have a spare £2500 to invest in one piece of gym equipment, and how can you be more specific without spending this amount of money? You can achieve this by the use of constant Rate of Perceived Exertion RPE recordings from your athlete(s). From this data, you will be able to see any patterns emerging whereby your athlete(s) are working harder than what they are supposed to be at a given time.
In summary, specificity is key to training. Utilizing and understanding VBT will ensure your athlete(s) are moving the appropriate load at the appropriate velocity to develop their desired trait. With the inclusion of VBT, sessions will no longer be subject to your athlete(s) perception, as they will have the appropriate training velocities to follow to achieve their appropriate traits.
Going too heavy typically results in the use of poor form, which increases the risk of injury, poses additional stress on your central nervous system, and makes it impossible to become as efficient as possible at your lifts. By following these training zones, you will avoid such risks.
You're probably already going through some ideas in your head, right? Tell me how you plan incorporate VBT in your training. I'd love to help out!