Monday, July 28, 2014

Velocity Based Training

In the last couple of posts we've looked at Force - Velocity curve (separate links for force and velocity there) and its implications in regards to program design.

In the last post there was an image that showed what spectrum of the force velocity curve you train at certain %'s of your max.

So you might be thinking "I already do train in some or all of those %'s, so I've got this covered."

Not so fast chief!

The force velocity curve is only valid if you are lifting with maximal acceleration, or at least the intent to lift with maximal acceleration, and as discussed in my previous post, most players lift more like bodybuilders, not power athletes.

So here's another image for you:


As you can see there are actually measurements needed to be reached to ensure that your are actually training in the force velocity spectrum that you intended to.

Looking at the graph you can see what most people would expect, that the heavier the load (or higher the force), the slower the velocity and vice versa.

So if you do a 1 rep max but that 1 rep takes you a full 8secs to grind out, then is that the best exercise or, implementation of that exercise, to transfer over to your sport? Probably not. There's no situation on game day that gives you 8secs to fend off a tackle of gather yourself to jump for a mark in footy!

On the other hand do those 20 rep sets performed at 50 - 60% of your max have a good chance of transferring to your on field performance? Again, probably not.

You've got to abide by the meters per second lifting range of motion number that corresponds to the force or velocity quality you aim to train for.

Next up: Ways to Implement VBT

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Force - Velocity Curve Part 2

Just over a week ago I posted about the force velocity curve and gave a very basic insight into what it is so
a quick recap is that one axis is force, or the heaviest load you can move irrespective of time and the other axis is velocity, or how fast you can move a given load.

So lets break the "curve" down a little shall we?


Now as you can see there are various strength qualities that you've probably never heard of or even trained for (on purpose that is).

Max Strength refers lifting loads that are 90- 100% of your maximum so we're talking max bench press attempts and lifts of that nature. Car pushes is another example here for "other" max strength related activities.

Strength Speed refers loads moved in the 80 - 90% range of your max so the force requirements is a slightly lower that will equate to slightly greater velocity outputs. So it's a submaximal effort here but at a relatively high load still like an Olympic lift.

Speed Strength refers to loads moved in the 30 - 60% range of your max so now your essentially using a 50% split or close, of strength and velocity during these activities like a resisted sprint or plyometric exercise.

Max Speed (or velocity) is pure speed of movement like sprinting or a boxing combination.

I left out power deliberately because it's where strength speed and speed strength meet and overlap and can be dependent on your muscle fibre make up and training experience. A weighted jump is an example of a display of power.

Notice I haven't mentioned anything about sets and reps yet - this will be discussed in a future installment, but generally I think we'd all agree the the lighter a load is then the more reps we can do with it. This is true but rather then think of training in terms of reps, volume etc, how about focusing on the speed of the movement?

So now that last paragraph reads "I think we'd all agree that the lighter a load is then  the faster we can lift it".

Yes much better!!

Next up: Velocity Based Training

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Force - Velocity Curve

Training for performance is not what most players do in the gym.

I'd say 80 - 90% of players train to increase muscle size with the other 10 - 20% training for strength.

So 1 of those options is an actual strength quality (strength) and the other is a by product of a particular type of training.

My suggestion is to work off the force velocity curve:

As you can see from the image above one axis is force and the other is velocity so they are at opposite ends of the spectrum essentially.

Getting back to my opening statements, most players seem to think that training for hypertrophy and/or strength will automatically increase speed which is partly true as strength would be represented here as the force part of the equation.

Unfortunately the velocity part is often neglected.

To simplify:

Force refers to the highest load you can move regardless of time (think of a slow 1 rep max attempt) and velocity is the speed at which you can move a given force/load (think throwing a punch in boxing).

In regards to footy, you'll be doing it hard in the gym to hopefully increase sprinting speed (the difference between professional and amateur footballers) followed by full body strength for strength over the ball and hypertrophy for armor to protect against collisions as well as for injury prevention.