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Using Velocity-Based Training (VBT) for the Poor Performance Coach

There are so many great VBT products out there that are changing the sport performance game in Push, Tendo, Gym Aware, and others. The only problem is that some of these can be pretty pricey.

Aside from these products being high on price, they also require a knowledge base of data and technology to actually be able to understand what you are reading at first hand.

While having this type of discussion with multiple performance coaches, we agreed that “fast is fast”. However, the future of sport performance training tells us that this is not enough, and we need a way to measure this “fast” output.

I have been raised in an environment of creativity. What can I use in front of me to get the same task done?

Here is a table listed below on the different parts of the strength curve (taken from Driveline Baseball)

% of 1RMm/sft/s…if distance = 3 ft
0-25% (Starting Strength)>
25-45% (Accelerative Strength)1.3-1.1 4.2-3.60.71-0.83s
45-65% (Speed-Strength)1-0.75
65-90% (Strength-Speed)0.75-0.52.5-1.61.2-1.88s
> 90% (Absolute Strength)< 0.5> 1.6
> 1.88s

The only part that I added to this chart is the seconds column listed on the right. Great, we should be able to move 45-65% of our 1RM for 1 m/s speed, but what if we don’t have the technology to show us that we are moving within that zone?

This is where self research comes in!

Taking a distance of 3-feet into the equation, within the same example listed above, it should take us around 0.94-1.2 seconds to get the weight lifted against gravity. (This is only speculation based on my own research)

This is a great way for us to create an athletic profile. For example, one athlete might thrive in the 45-65% zone for power training, yet they move exceptionally slower than average once they get into the 85% zone.

Throwing a baseball and swinging a bat are in the starting strength zone since they occur in the blink of an eye. Since they are getting these true speed qualities on the field, during the season, we want to really prioritize that speed-strength (45-65%) end of the continuum.

In the same 45-65% example, let’s say we know that it should take the athlete no more than 1.2 seconds (again, speculation) to get the weight off the ground during the concentric phase of the lift. If they are well above that range, we know that we are dealing with fatigue, and this is when we will auto-regulate the volume that we do.

Yes, weights are still moving fast, but in the off-season we did SO MUCH lifting and med ball throws and sprints and volume was crazy high and work capacity was being pushed.

Now, we want to dial back a little bit and cut down the total volume of work, and trying to stay within a “zone” during a lift definitely slows down the total tempo of the training session for the day.

Last but not least, this leaves me to talk about the Tri-Phasic training model, and why this becomes important to still utilize during the season along with VBT.

For the most part, we eliminate the eccentric portion of some exercises to allow for total concentric output while limiting fatigue and soreness. However, eccentric strength still needs to be monitored.

If we are deadlifting, we can achieve the same result with different speed zones and phases of movement. We can perform a 65% deadlift while still controlling the weight on the way down, OR we can do a 45% deadlift focusing on power output while dropping the weight at the top.

Again, it all comes down to athlete readiness. Let’s get some research and numbers together during in-season lifts and try to collaborate on what works and doesn’t work, since this is a fairly new concept for those coaches who don’t have the fancy technology, including myself.

Always training,

Jarad Vollkommer, CSCS

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