Dr. Dan Baker's VBT Masterclass - Chapter 2

Learn when to use Peak or Mean Velocity, normative scores, and individual differences in Dan Baker's VBT Masterclass Chapter 2.
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In Chapter 1, we covered (1) What is Velocity-Based Training?, (2) Why do we want to measure velocity during training?, (3) Velocity measurement devices overview and why Output is a good choice. You can watch the full workshop above and below, we'll break it down for you in detail!

In this chapter, we'll cover: (1) When to use Peak or Mean Velocity, (2) Normative Velocity Scores - Lower & Upper Main Lifts, and (3) Velocity Scores - Individual Differences.

When to use Peak or Mean Velocity

"Now when we look at the velocity scores within each rep we have two types of velocity: where the peak velocity (which is the highest velocity that occurs anywhere in that range of motion) and then we have the mean velocity (which is that velocity across the range of motion from bottom of the rep to the start of the rep) so each rep you have two and the below example shoes different devices, peak and mean. Which one do you look at?"

"It's pretty simple for me. Any strength orientated or muscle building exercise such as squat, bench press, deadlift, row and any sort of press, just look at mean velocity. Don't worry about peak velocity too much. You get paralysis by analysis looking at all these numbers. Mean velocity is where it's at. When we're looking at really speed-based exercises such as jumps, med ball throws, hops, bounces, anything really light, just look at peak velocity. Now, once we get these real power exercise in the middle you know our Olympic lifts our heavier jump squats with 20, 30, 40, 50, 60%. Dynamic effort work etc, we can look at both. I tend to look at mean velocity more than peak, because I found better correlations to sporting success. Other people might look at peak velocity but you know things like these power cleans we can look at both mean and peak so that that option exists."

Normative Velocity Scores - Lower & Upper Main Lifts

"I'm going to give you some normative velocity scores these are different percentages, this applies to the first or best rep in the set, not the set average. The set average, depending how many reps you do, (because your velocity is going to decrease every rep until you get to failure). So this is the best rep (which should be the first rep, if it's not the first rep in a set of squats, the athlete hasn't mentally prepared properly for the set. Same for deadlifts, same for hit thrust. So that that's the score at every sort of percentage for group data that we have. We say 75% of 1RM is typically associated with 0.6 meters per second on a squat typically in groups of athletes. The standard deviation here (I've left it out for clarity) is about 0.03 to 0.06 for every single percentage for every single exercise you see there and you'll see in the next slide".

"Be aware though that athletes on the weaker side, if we look down here where it says 1RM 91.2kg, but their 1RM velocity would be about 0.34, a stronger athlete will be around 0.24 or 0.25. The reason for this is it's not because they have a different 1RM velocity really, weaker athletes are just scared of doing heavy weights. So they get to what we would perceive as a 2RM and they go “oh that's enough for me, I don't think I can lift any more” or they take too big a jump and miss it, you know they just can't hold the technique together. So remember weaker athletes might be a slightly higher velocity than stronger or experienced athletes but it's no innate real change, they don't know how to max out basically, and they're scared of maxing out because of their inexperience. You know, we can accept that".

"Here's some scores for upper body exercises. The great thing about velocity-based training, and I'm going to go into load-velocity profiling later is you do not have to measure every single exercise once you know the velocity of someone bench presses, you know pretty much all the speed all their pressing exercises are about the same. So overhead press, incline press, dumbbell press, they’ll all be the same at these rough percentages of one 1RM. So, we see a touch-and-go bench press is about 0.18, if you're doing with a longer sort of power lifting competition pause it it'll be lower, it'll be 0.14-0.12 but these are all touch and go bench presses and you can see that when we're at the heavier weights, they're pretty much the same. Once you know bench press you have good ballpark of all other pressing movements.

These are pull-ups done from chin above the bar go down and pull up, rather than dead hang. If there's a dead hang start then this 1RM speed will be 0.25 rather than 0.2. Bench rows (or any sort of row that's strict, so not using your legs to get a bit of momentum), we get these scores a lot higher velocities etc.

What I want you to know and it's really important for me to point out is this 1RM velocity, why we want to know it is it's the same velocity you have when you fail. So if I'm doing 80% and I do seven reps to failure (and I can't do an eighth) will be this speed, on all these exercises or any exercise. By knowing this 1RM or doing a set of failure and finding out that failure speed, we know the velocity at which I'll fail irrespective of the weight I'm using and that helps us control training. We know below this velocity, I fail or this is where fatigue and failure occurs. I know that velocity, I either go to it in training or close to it, or I stay away from it. Again, it depends on your objective".

Velocity Scores - Individual Differences

"Some people try to predict 1RM from group regression equations so here's five athletes I train. This is one testing session they all had a 110kg bench press 1RM, now you can see that these five athletes despite having the same 1RM, the difference is when we get to 73% one is 0.52 one is 0.62 so some people think when they just look at velocity “oh that athlete hit 0.62 he or she should be stronger than the athlete who's lifting the same weight and getting 0.52”. That might apply in a lot of situations, but not for every athlete. So these all have the same 1RM, they just have different velocity scores. There's a standard deviation and that's why trying to predict a 1RM from a group equation for athletes is fool's gold. What I'm going to show you is we can predict it for the individual. That's why we develop the individuals load-velocity profile from four or five resistances and it just helps us guide training. With group equations, we can get that prediction but it's not super accurate as it's affected by state of fatigue in the training, readiness to train, your 1RM might not have changed but the velocity score for that weight might be down 0.02 or something. So, just be aware that trying to predict a 1RM from a group equation is fool's gold. If you want to predict, predict it from that individual athlete's own load velocity profile.

Chapter 3 - Coming Soon!

1. Normative Velocity Scores - Power Exercises

2. Summary of Key Velocity Takeaways

3. Individual Load-Velocity Profiling for Strength or Power Exercise

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