What is Velocity-Based Training?
Cut out the guesswork and start getting results
They say that only death and taxes are inevitable, but there might be one more thing: guesswork in an exercise program. Every time you pick up a weight, you can't really be sure that the weight you're using is ideal for your needs and goals. Perhaps you're fatigued from a hard workout the day before, or a lack of sleep. Perhaps you feel good, but your nutrition has been a little off and your strength isn't optimal. Any such scenario may affect how much resistance should be applied, but how? How much weight? How many sets? how much total volume? Even if you're working with a personal trainer, at best they can only estimate the correct loads, rest periods, and intensity for your workout that day. What if there were a way to ensure your workouts were based on objective data instead of guesses, feelings, and intuitions?
Velocity-Based Training, or VBT, solves these issues. Backed by research and supported with state of the art technology, VBT allows your trainer to use objective metrics to ensure that you are always working at the proper intensity for your training goals. Research indicates that a variety of metrics—maximal strength, hypertrophy (muscle growth), and power—are strongly correlated with peak and mean velocities in training. Using a special sensor that can be attached to weights or worn on the body and combined with cutting-edge software, we can now determine what velocity is optimal for your training goals. And because your strength levels vary day to day (by nearly 40%!), the velocity of the movement can always be used to fine-tune the resistance.
Let's say, for example, that you're performing a barbell squat with a goal of maximal strength. Research indicates that a velocity of 0.1 – 0.35m/secs produces development of maximal strength. If the weight is being moved too quickly (say, 0.46m/secs), the load should be increased; if the load is being moved too slowly (under 0.1m/sec), it should be reduced. No longer do we have to rely on "gut feelings" to guess at the correct load. Perhaps on another day, you could squat 100kg; but you helped your friend move some furniture up a few flights of stairs yesterday, so at 90kg you are just at the velocity threshold for maximal strength. This tells us that trying to do 100kg would be counter-productive, and so we keep the load at 90kg. By contrast, the next time you do squats you are fully recovered, but you didn't sleep very well and you aren't expecting to perform well. To your surprise, at 90kg you are well above the velocity threshold for maximal strength; now you can increase the weight, and despite "feeling" a bit lethargic, you're capable of lifting 105kg. Without VBT delivering those objective metrics, you likely would not have pushed your body when it was capable of better performance.
Train harder while reducing risk of injury
Not only does velocity-based training allow for optimal training intensities, but it's a safer way to train. When the resistance is not moving quickly enough—regardless of how you feel—we know that this is not a good time to increase the weight. Ordinarily, trainers and athletes alike rely on feelings, intuitions, and guesswork to estimate the optimal load for an exercise. With VBT, we can know objectively when to push harder and when to pull back or even take an extra rest day.
Measure progress objectively
Personal trainers frequently use tests like bodyfat measurements, bodyweight, and 1-rep maximums to measure progress. But all these metrics are subject to wide margins of error: fluid retention affects the scale, human error skews bodyfat analysis without complex equipment, and maximal strength varies significantly day to day.
Velocity-based training delivers truly objective metrics based on performance. Sophisticated software allows a wide array of performance metrics to be tracked over every single workout. "Progress tests" such as 1-rep maximums are now obsolete, because we can use data to predict your maximal strength.
Flexible Pricing for Clients, Athletes, and Coaches
Velocity-Based Training can be integrated into one-on-one personal training, one-on-one remote coaching, or small groups—with discounts available for student athletes. Contact us today to schedule a no-obligation consultation.