Why Use Velocity-Based Training? VBT Mini-Course

Learn about the benefits of Velocity-Based Training from VBT Expert and Performance Specialist, Chris Tombs.
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Velocity-based training (VBT) is a training approach that uses velocity, or bar speed, to inform training and load selection decisions. VBT is based on the principle that velocity has a strong correlation with strength, power, and fatigue levels. Velocity is measured in meters per second (m/s) and can be measured using an array of devices including:

  • Inertial Measurement Units
  • Linear Position Transducers
  • Digital Optical Systems

The Output Sports V2 Sensor is an inertial measurement unit and the device chosen by Chris Tombs for this mini-course.

Output Sports Sensor

One of the main benefits of VBT is that it allows coaches to individualize training programs based on each athlete's individual readiness in a given session. This is important because, as Chris Tombs points out, strength levels can vary significantly from day to day. By using VBT, coaches can ensure that athletes are training at the appropriate intensity each day, even if their strength levels are not at their peak.

Another benefit of VBT is that it provides coaches with real-time feedback on athlete performance. This feedback can be used to help drive training intent, and adjust training loads/exercises on the fly, ensuring that athletes are getting the most out of each workout. For example, if an athlete is performing a set of squats and their velocity is decreasing, it may be a sign that they are becoming fatigued. The coach can then adjust the load or exercise to ensure that the athlete is still able to train effectively, depending on what the goal of the session is.

VBT can also be used to track athlete progress over time. By comparing an athlete's load-velocity profile at different points in time, coaches can see how the athlete is responding to training protocols and make reactive adjustments as needed.

VBT can be used to improve athletic performance in a variety of sports. It is particularly useful for sports that require high levels of strength, power output, and speed. Here are some specific examples of how VBT can be used to improve athletic performance:

  • Power/dynamic effort training and competition in the weight room: VBT can be used to improve power and dynamic effort by prescribing exercises that are performed at high velocity. VBT can also be used to create a competitive environment in the weight room by tracking the athlete's velocity and comparing it to other athletes or their own personal bests.
  • Modifying resistances in the sessions: VBT can be used to monitor the athlete's velocity during training and adjust load accordingly. For example, if the athlete's velocity is decreasing, the weight can be reduced. If the athlete's velocity is increasing, the weight can be increased.`
  • Aligning velocity scores to specific loads or %1RM to help guide weight selection: VBT can be used to create a load-velocity profile for each athlete. This profile can then be used to prescribe the optimal load for each exercise based on the athlete's individual goals.
  • Indicator sets: VBT can be used to analyze the athlete's velocity during the last warm-up set or first working set to help guide the load selection for the following sets.
  • Velocity scores and technical feedback: VBT can be used to provide objective feedback on the athlete's technique. This feedback can be used to reinforce the coach's eye and the athlete's subjective "feeling" regarding technique.

Finally, VBT can help to mitigate fatigue accumulation. By using VBT to monitor athlete fatigue, coaches can identify athletes who are at risk of accumulating unwanted fatigue and take steps to prevent this from happening.

If interested in learning about the above and more in our 9-part VBT Mini-Course hosted by Chris Tombs, register for FREE here and receive each episode straight to your inbox! You can also learn more about the course in the quick video below.

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