In our last article “Velocity vs. Percentage Based Training” we talked about the advantages of using Velocity for setting and programming your training session. As said, Velocity can be used as a thermometer of the state of fitness of an athlete, thanks to its stable relationship with the relative intensity of the concentric phase of the lifts and because it is less liable of variation than 1RM, across a training cycle.
This time we want to give you an inside view of a workout based on VBT strategies, by using BEAST sensor. The main difference between Velocity and Percentage Based Training is that the reference to set the work is switched. In VBT, you have a target speed to hit and the velocity of your lifts determines the loads. At the early stages you may not know the exact load you are going to use as you have no idea about the correlated speed, so we’re going to help you with a simple rule of thumb to use with most exercises. This is a good practice untill you are not working out and Beast has collected some of your metrics which you can use to build your own Load Velocity profile, like the one I draw in the image below. Your performances are strongly dependent to your daily condition but Speed is a more stable reference to use when programming compared to % 1RM and this is why VBT is a more efficient method of autoregulation.
Furthermore Velocity has specific individual characteristic that could be variable, in low percentages. Knowing the velocity you can lift a given load makes you able to edit what is called “LOAD-VELOCITY PROFILE”, relating to a specific exercise, in a specific day. But it’s not all: the most exciting feature of Load-Velocity relationship is that it is fixed and regular.
As the chart displays, the Speed varies from a maximum of 1m/s with 40 Kg (we can expect up to 1.2 m/s with the barbell only) to a minimum of 0.1 – 0.2 m/s which is the speed of my 1RM lift. We have a rough 1m/s gap in speed covering 100% of my relative load. Simplifying this means that a 10% of variation in load (related to my supposed 1RM) causes a change of 0,1 m/s in speed. So in the end, if my 1RM is around 100kg and I need to decrease my speed of 0.2m/s to hit my target, I need to add 20kg. This rule is very simple and helps me to quickly trim the resistance to my optimal conditions every day.
Linking loads to their velocities will give a more complete sight of your physical condition. 1RM alone, in fact, might not reflect the whole changes having place in a training cycle. Maybe you cannot lift more than 100kg, but if you do it faster than you did before, it means that you are improving.
If you understand how to apply the computation, you will be able to edit your Load-Velocity Profile and eventually also to predict your daily 1RM.
Ok, right now you have no more reasons to not entirely switch to VBT. So, let’s train!
FIRST: SELECT YOUR GOAL
Having clear ideas of your goals is the most important thing when you are about to program a training. If you don’t have it, all you are going to do could be useful or completely wrong. As known number of repetitions, number of sets, time of rest and load are the variables that determine the outcome of your training. In VBT Velocity is the key parameter, because load depends on it.
Remember that every conditional capacity has its own velocity range and every velocity corresponds to a certain intensity. Intensity is the result of two components: EFFORT and EXERTION. Effort is defined as the intent to perform a given exercise with the maximal possible acceleration and speed; Exertion level results by the number of repetition you leave in the tank.
So, what you have to do is:
- Decide the Training Mode for your workout;
- Open the VBT Tooltip and find the corresponding velocity.
- Choose your target speed for the day.
Be very picky with choosing your target speed! As we saw above with the Load Velocity profile, a 0.1 m/s difference also means a 10% difference in Training Intensity or relative Load.
Once you’ve decided the target velocity for the exercise, connect your sensor, and start warming up.
SECOND STEP: WARM UP
I use to start my training sessions with a general warm up and after I put some lights weights, keeping my focus on technique. When I feel enough ready, I shift my focus on the effort, trying to perform every rep with the intention to lift the barbell as fast as I can. The Intention to move as fast as I can, in any exercise, is needed to have the optimal activation of your nervous system and this will drive you to the best adaptation.
Sometimes I need 2-3 warm up sets before being close to my target speed; sometimes I have to do a couple of heavy sets to feel completely activated and ready to start the effective work of the day. Any session is different. BEAST will drive you with some advices about load, number of repetition, and speed regulation. If you do some mistakes, no problem, go to the bars widget and modify the output deleting the wrong bar.
THIRD STEP: FIND THE RIGHT LOAD
The huge advantage of the Velocity Based approach over the Percentage Based lies in its simplicity. By converting the Training Intensity from the Relative Load to a target Speed I have a more stable metric to pick my loads. This avoids testing 1RM weekly or doing unuseful math conversions to pick the load from the 1RM but then adjusting the load because it doesn’t feel optimal. Simply rely your decision on your speed, taking into consideration that an increase in load of 10% leads to a decrease in speed of roughly 0,1 m/s. In my case I was 0.35m/s above my target speed so I added around 30 kgs to the bar. You can see the outcome in the picture below.
It means that, through the drawing up of your own Load-Velocity profile, you will be able to predict your daily 1RM, without any load ramping and tests, and it results in economizing in energies and time.
Key takeaway about Autoregulation strategies :