The following Velocity Based program was used to increase Lower and Upper Body Power Output in American Football, Basketball and Rugby Players in the latest 3 seasons. It can be used as a stand alone program with one session per week. You can also implement this in a Conjugate setting as the Dynamic Session (the lightest session of the week).
The rationale behind the creation of this 9 Week Periodisation is to hit the whole middle range for the Load – Velocity Relationship, where the Power Output is greater. Two main ideas drove this and I’m going to further explain.
Most important thing is to find the speed at which Maximum Power occurs using the Load Velocity Relationship – read link here if you are new to this – once you have it, use it as your main reference to build and monitor: we want to hit that and the whole speed range around that. For this example we considered that speed being 1 m/s as an easy reference (may happen in the Barbell Squat), you may want to test this depending on the exercise you’ll find different results, for example in the Bench Press or in the Trap Bar / Hex bar Deadlift. After we’ve built and prepared over and under that Speed Target for the first part of the program, we finally target it in the latest mini-cycle for the final cycle.
Second most important thing is to provide variability and support to Power with a middle to long term vision in programming. The Training Stimulus must be different and variable, providing a different input for the athletes, avoiding accomodation. Yet we must hammer the same quality: Maximum Power Production. This is the reason supporting the use of Waving Periodisation among the mini-cycles: we go from Slow (.8 m/s) to Fast (1.2 m/s) to Medium (1.0 m/s) Speed Ranges that corresponds to Heavy Light and Medium Intensities and %RM. As well, we optimise Volume waving with Smallest, Highest and Medium Volume. If you are an advanced VBT user or coach here, this is where you might try and go with Velocity Loss to optimise the Sets x Reps scheme – again read useful link here if you are new to this – . The same concept for Volume and Tonnage was repeated inside the single 3 weeks mini cycle where the middle week (w2) should always have the highest Tonnage and the latest week (w3) should be the heaviest.
if you are wondering, this was heavily influenced by Westside Barbell’s Louie Simmons and his book Westside Barbell Special Strengths Development for All Sports, I am proud to say that I recently obtained their Westside Special Strengths Certification.
Last and important things to consider:
- you may want to repeat this whole wave for 9 more weeks.
- The intensities inside the 3 weeks cycles may be inverted going from slowest to fastest instead of the opposite. Since the speed difference is thin here, you may find yourself moving the same weight for 3 straight weeks: while moving the same weight faster would be a direct sign of improvement I’d rather prefer to differentiate the stimulus anyway.
- Add bands or chains. We did not address this during the whole article but it is probably one of the main keys to successful power training, when moving fast you want to compensate acceleration with elastic bands or chains so that the athlete can really accelerate throughout the whole range of motion.