Velocity Based Training & CrossFit


What is VBT? On first, it will be interesting to introduce the Velocity Based Training in order to understand what VBT is. This type of training is focused on the speed at which you move the bar to know exactly what type of goal you are trying to enhance. For example, it has been theorized that while moving in a range of 0.8-1 m/s in a squat or bench-press rep, you’re working to train strength-speed; it means that you can train with this purpose till you perform over the minimum value of the range of velocity.

In the following picture, we can see the “velocity zones” and the relative training goal that you can achieve, related to the percentage of 1RM (maximal weight that you can lift):

Velocity Zones

Therefore, we can easily understand that, thanks to those measurable and scientific indexes, we can auto-regulate ourselves to train every day at the 100% of the capabilities and to reach the target whereby we are training for.

Why to focus on auto regulation? Every athlete is different, not only basing this aspect on the performances, but also focusing on everything that can affect the yield in the gym. An athlete can be stressed, tired or at least “over-performing” and basing his/her training session on the velocity can make him/her to workout at their best with the correct loads.

(Just to be clear, today I could perform at 90% of my best with a 160kg load of a deadlift but tomorrow, according to several aspects of my life, my 90% could be achieved with 150kg. Looking for the speed whereby I perform a deadlift, tomorrow I could see that with 160kg I can’t complete the execution in a range of 08-1m/s, then I have to reduce the load to perform exactly as today, enhancing as well my goals and without risking injuries or over-training).

We said that VBT’s approach could be applied to every single type of exercise; however, the real value of this method is its applicability of a wide range of exercise with different goals, without changing the evaluation criterion.
This concept is critical in every training session that combines several and different exercises in a “no-recovery time” mode: circuit training (CrossFit).
In my opinion VBT’s mode is the easiest and the most effective way to track your exercise and to set up a training session (or a wod) whit a specific goal.
For example, if this evening I’ll have a CrossFit session based on developing power, the technical part of the training (pure weight-lifting) as well as the wod (understood as the circuit part of the session) could be set on the same goal (as strength or explosiveness as well) just paying attention on the speed.

Let’s see an example of CrossFit’s wod analyzed with the VBT approach.
The following pictures are showing the second round of the wod “Fran” (21 Thruster/21 Kipping pull-up, 15/15, 9/9), on particular, the second 15 Thrusters.


I was using 40kg (88 lbs) and, as we can see, I have a peak value of speed very high (over 2 m/s), convertible in an average speed of 1.1 m/s. That means that it was the right weight to train that specific wod (performing “Fran” you’re supposed to be very fast) where the real obstacle is the resistance that you can express at the maximum average-speed that you can reach. In fact, just at the end of the series of 15 reps I started performing slower, working on strength instead of speed. (this could be obvious because, easily seen on VBT’s approach, velocity is the first thing that decreases when you’re starting being tired).

Best rep Thruster

I’d like to close this article with a question, inspired by the application on VBT’s approach on CrossFit that I did: is VBT the most effective way to track your workouts?



by alberto.finadri

Sales Consultant and Marketing specialist. I do Crossfit since 2012 but i've played soccer and I skied in competitive categories.