Introduction to Velocity-Based Training

Read a snippet of the new 'Ultimate User Guide to Velocity-Based Training' with insights from thought-leaders in the VBT space.
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The role of a strength and conditioning (S&C) coach can be split into two strands: the science and the coaching. Whilst one is no more important than the other, for this particular guide, we will focus purely on the science. An S&C coach has many responsibilities that fall under the science banner. These can be categorised into six groups:

Figure 1: A schematic depicting the main science-based responsibilities of S&C coaches

Traditional methods, particularly from a testing and programming perspective, typically focus on the one repetition maximum (1RM) test. A truly valid and reliable method of assessing strength and prescribing and periodising for all athletes, the 1RM is and should be a staple in any S&C coach’s recipe book. Nevertheless, the 1RM, on its own, is perhaps not fit for purpose, and here’s why…

Prescribing load and intensity via percentages of 1RM (% 1RM) is an excellent long-term programming strategy, providing a clear blueprint for what a training block should look like, based on the desired physiological mechanisms and adaptations. However, if using this method alone, prescriptions could become sub-optimal due to fluctuations in strength and power. These fluctuations could be due to improvements in strength, rendering baseline loads obsolete, providing a stimulus that is too light to achieve the desired outcomes. Similarly, fatigue due to excessive training, travel, fixture congestion, poor nutrition and sleep could all lead to a reduction in strength capabilities, rendering baseline loads too heavy and risking non-functional overreaching (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Hypothetical representation of the potential 1RM fluctuations possible across the course of an 8-week training block.

Therefore, to account for these fluctuations in strength, and essentially changes to neuromuscular function and readiness to train status, a strategy named autoregulation could be applied. Autoregulation is the manipulation of training prescriptions based on an individual’s physiological or psychological response to training or non-training stressors. Many strategies are available to practitioners (Table 1), however, there are several drawbacks that perhaps limits their application and feasibility. Here, however, is where Velocity-based Training (VBT) comes in!

Keep reading about VBT in our new comprehensive guide: The Ultimate User Guide to Velocity-Based Training!

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