After the articles on Optimal Speed and Strength Profiling were published, we have received a lot of questions regarding MVT or Minimum Velocity Threshold. For those who missed it, MVT is also known as the 1RM speed or velocity at 1RM.
While the optimal Speed corresponds to a target speed for best Power output, MVT is the minimum velocity that can be sustained during an exercise. It is exercise specific and most of the time depends on the height of the lifter and his/her technical capacity.
MVT is essential to correctly estimate 1RM with a Load Velocity Profile 1)Jidovtseff, B, Harris, NK, Crielaard, J-M, and Cronin, JB. Using the load-velocity relationship for 1RM prediction. J Strength Cond Res 25(1): 267-270, 2011. Once the Load Velocity profile for a lift has been established, simply put the MVT into the linear formula to have an estimation of the 1RM. More can be read here.
For powerlifting, it is quite stable among the different exercise families and most important, Mean Speed is used as MVT.
For olympic weightlifting, MVT may vary a lot depending on technical skills and the height of the athlete. Both Peak and Mean speed may be used as MVT, depending on the situation.
For most “bodybuilding” and “powerlifting” style of exercises, Peak Speed can not be referenced as MVT because it happens after the critical point in the lift. For this reason, Mean Speed is usually chosen as 1RM speed: the nature of the metric takes into consideration the whole concentric part of the lift. In some very technical lifts, it may be worth to use a more advanced method for 1RM estimation, consisting in the analysis of the sticking point. This happens through the Time – Velocity chart to spot when or where the speed of the lift is very slow and the load is close to a stop.
Best Rep Chart in our web portal offers this kind of insight.
Contrary to Powerlifting, in Olympic Weightlifting the catching phase is critical and defines success in the lift. Peak Speed better describes the critical point and therefore is chosen as metric for the MVT . Infact, when the second pull ends, the barbell enters “free fall” because of gravity and all the kinetic energy (speed squared) generated till the top of the lift, which then converts into potential energy (height) allowing only a certain time for the lifter to get under the bar to complete the catch phase.
Because of the punctual nature of Peak Speed, these MVT values strongly depends on the athlete’s height and technical skills. The ability to catch the bar in a deeper squat position heavily cuts the speed necessary to complete the lift. Simply put, the athlete can raise the bar to a lower height and therefore less kinetic energy is required. Since kinetic energy depends on the velocity of the lift, the ability to accelerate the bar to a peak speed pays top dividends. This is why short athletes have more chances of success in olympic weightlifting and in crossfit than tall athletes 2)Harbili, Alptekin, Comparative Kinematic Analysis of the Snatch Lifts in Elite Male Adolescent Weightlifters 3)Roman’s book “The training of a weightlifter” 4)Akkus,Kinematic Analysis of the Snatch Lift With Elite Female Weightlifters During the 2010 World Weightlifting Championship. Short athletes can compensate lack of speed with a lower height necessary for the lift.
Although it is actually quite hard to define one for the movement, kettlebell exercises like the swing would be nice to have some more data on because there is no current research on MVT for them.
Below is the Speed Table for 1RM using VBT. Print this table out and stick it out in your gym next to the squat or the olympic platform.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Jidovtseff, B, Harris, NK, Crielaard, J-M, and Cronin, JB. Using the load-velocity relationship for 1RM prediction. J Strength Cond Res 25(1): 267-270, 2011|
|2.||↑||Harbili, Alptekin, Comparative Kinematic Analysis of the Snatch Lifts in Elite Male Adolescent Weightlifters|
|3.||↑||Roman’s book “The training of a weightlifter”|
|4.||↑||Akkus,Kinematic Analysis of the Snatch Lift With Elite Female Weightlifters During the 2010 World Weightlifting Championship|