Velocity Based Training

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past couple of years you'll know that Velocity Based Training (VBT) has been gaining popularity as a feedback and monitoring tool. Technology that was once only really available to pro-teams and sports with deep pockets has quickly become accessible coaches working on limited budgets. Dan Baker recalls paying $18000 20 years ago for a system that could measure velocity and power.

Last year I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a GymAware system (a great piece of kit) and whilst this is probably still probably the 'go-to' piece of kit, it is still going to set you back thousands.

I'm always looking for a bargain and a couple of months ago I picked up a Push Band for £150! Now we are talking!! The use of this technology will differ from coach to coach. I initially used GymAware to get 'buy in' from the players I was working with. I wasn't too bothered about the numbers because my main goal was to actually get the players in the gym and training. The augmented feedback helped to create a training atmosphere (competition) and within a very short space of time we had players, not only training, but training with 'intent'. Job done. For many coaches this may be enough.

But what if you want to push on?

Once you've got athletes training, and then training with intent, you can start to look at realy using the technology for what it's designed for, VBT. I've never really worked from rep max's for a variety of reasons, all of which Dan Baker does a far better job of describing in his article (great Q&A with Dan Baker that gives 'real world' advice on the application of VBT) and favoured selecting loads and training parameters based on what I was seeing on the floor as a coach (coaches eye, bar speed etc).

Not very scientific I know.

The development of affordable, wearable technology has now opened up the world of VBT to me and allowed me to start to look objectively at what is going on, rep for rep. There's a bunch of studies around looking at VBT and if you are interested in this area a great jumping off point is Dan Baker's Q&A.

I would also suggest you take a look at a paper from last year that explores the best method for assessing lower limb force-velocity relationship.

Another great paper looks at the applications of velocity based training writtend by Mladen Jovanovic and Dr Eamonn P. Flanagan

We still need to coach and shouldn't fall into the trap of a 'computer says no' or 'computer says yes' approach to training, but possibly for the first time, we can realistically start to apply technology and the information it provides to the athletes and teams we are working with to improve performance outcomes.