Mikey Lau
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More adaptations with less volume using velocity-based training


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This blog post is a part of a series where we summarise the current literature on anything health, fitness and well-being related. These are research articles that can give you a better insight into different ways that you can train your clients to get better results - faster. Be sure to sign up to our weekly newsletter to get the latest exclusive contents and offers.



Paper

The study and its purpose


Dorrell, Smith & Gee (2019)

This paper began with the introduction of various training methods. With percentage-based training (PBT) being one of the most recognised. This involves the use of a submaximal load based on the individual's 1-repetition max (1RM). Though this method allows for great manipulation throughout an individual's periodised programme, it could present some real-world limitations. For instance, the individual's level of fatigue, effort or commitment could directly impact their performance to complete the session as prescribed. Other methods are also used in conjunction with PBT to adapt the programme where needed. The rate of perceived exertion (RPE) is widely used as it is a minimal and quick method at gauging the level of fatigue experienced by the client. However, RPE can limit the trainer's ability to design an effective programme for an athlete if they monitor fatigue with a subjective metric. Other methods must be included to assist in programme progression and design.

Velocity-based training (VBT) involves the measurement of maximal concentric velocity (MCV) and its relationship with the loads prescribed. Typically, it involves the placement of a device on the equipment that the individual is performing the exercise. The load-velocity profile (LVP) is based on the movement velocity, load and intent to move it, which can be utilised to predict a client's absolute and relative 1RM. LVPs are reliable across repeated visits and measures with trained athletes; however, limited research has been conducted with regards to its use for adjusting training loads in a periodised programme.

The authors of this paper intended to discover the effects of VBT on strength and power adaptations with trained males against traditional PBT. The rationale of such research will give practitioners a further insight into this area where they could implement such findings to assist their decision to use VBT.



Science

The Method

Key points:

  • A 6-week intervention with 2 sessions-a-week.
  • Pre and post-measurements are taken prior to and after the intervention.
  • Sixteen resistance-trained males completed the intervention.
  • Participants are required to have at least 2 years of resistance training experience and have been engaged in such training 6 months prior to the start date of the study.
  • A standardised warm-up which consisted of light aerobic activity and stretching at a self-selected pace.
  • Included a 1RM bench press (BP), overhead press (OP), back squat (BS), conventional deadlift (CD) and countermovement jump (CMJ).
  • All tests were performed 96 hours before/after the most recent bout of resistance training.
  • Performed on the same day for each subject at a constant environmental condition.
  • The 1RM tests were standardised for all subjects and they are given the chance to achieve their 1RM in 3-5 attempts.
  • The CMJ test consisted of a jump mat and a dowel. The subject placed the dowel in-contact with their trapezius (back squat position) before jumping and throughout the whole movement.
  • Participants were separated into two groups; a PBT group and a VBT group.
  • Both groups received the same base programme but the protocols differed.
  • The VBT implemented velocity zones and stops. The subjects were instructed to perform their MCV throughout the exercises. If the measured velocity of the movement fell within the zone, the subject preceded as prescribed. Otherwise, adjustments were made accordingly, e.g. if velocity was lower, then the load was reduced. Velocity stops were introduced at 20% below the target velocity where the set would be terminated.



Ruler

The Results

Both groups experienced significant improvement in strength for BS, BP, OP and CD. However, there was no significant group x time interaction effect observed for the BS, OP and CD. VBT significantly improved BP and CMJ than PBT. Interestingly, VBT performed significantly less volume than PBT for the BS, BP and OP.

In short, this study indicated that both VBT and PBT can improve performance over a 6-week intervention for trained males. However, VBT performed less volume than PBT. Implications can be made that VBT is more effective and efficient than PBT - requiring less time and possibly inducing less fatigue. VBT also improved power and other exercises that PBT did not.



Apply

Practical applications

The use of velocity-based training in a trained male population with the use of MCV, velocity zones and stops to alter the training load can induce better performance and efficiency. Using MCV provides greater control over the prescribed loads and the level of fatigue experienced without the need for multiple RM protocols.



Alert

Limitations

The tests were performed within an hour session before and after the intervention. This can produce inaccurate results as sequential maximal testing could alter subsequent performance in each RM protocol.


References

Dorrell, H. F., Smith, M. F., Gee, T. I., (2019). Comparison of Velocity-Based and Traditional Percentage-Based Loading Methods on Maximal Strength and Power Adaptations.Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 34(1), 46-53.