Calculating your strength levels the easy way with velocity based training (VBT)

Start tracking your strength the smart and efficient way with this free online 1RM and strength levels calculator. Simple to use during your workouts.

Introduction on velocity based training (VBT)

Over the past decade, the evolution of strength and conditioning techniques has opened up new horizons in training effectiveness. One approach that has captured a lot of attention and proven its efficacy is the use of velocity tracking applications, commonly known as velocity based training (VBT). velocity tracking has a whole range of use cases and benefits for lifters tryign to get stronger and more powerful but one of the most popular is the use of bar speed data to estimate and predict strength levels.

Here's an in-depth look at how you can use velocity tracking technologies (such as Metric VBT) to revolutionise and streamline how you calculate your strength levels and 1RM on bench press, trap bar deadlift, overhead press, squats and all the other big lifts in the gym!

The importance of accurate strength level calculations

Monitoring and evaluating progress is a linchpin in any training regimen. Traditional methods such as the 1-rep max tests (1RM) have been widely used to gauge strength. However, these tests can be incredibly time consutimg and are not without inherent challenges and risks, including potential injury when not executed properly. Plus after all that effort and time taken to measure the 1RM is only effective for that specific day. Research has shown that strength levels can fluctuate wildly on a day-to-day basis as I covered in this Instagram post:

Comparative Analysis: VBT vs Traditional Methods

While VBT represents a significant advancement, traditional strength testing techniques remain prevalent. A comparison of these methods underscores the advantages of using velocity tracking methods, here are just some of the benefits compared to traditional 1RM testing.

  • No time cost (done with your normal training sets)
  • No lost sessions to testing day
  • Submaximal test so no testing fatigue
  • No risk of injury or failing a rep as all loads are below 80%
  • Can be done every single workout
  • Can be done in real-time for a more up-to-date measure of strength levels
  • Track progress on a more granular level (allowing you to flag dropping performance before it becomes an issue)

Bar velocity tracking: A scientific approach to measuring strength

Velocity tracking and VBT methods take the measurement of velocity across a series of submaximal lifts to calculate your strength levels from the speed that you are able to lift these submaximal loads.

Unlike conventional techniques that demand a genuine maximum-effort repetition, with velocity data we can estimate this strength level thanks to physics. Because force produced is a product of not only the mass we lift but also the acceleration of that mass, velocity becomes a great measure of how easy a weight was. Combined with the mostly stable and linear relationship between velocity and load on standard barbell exercises, an accurate strsength prediction can be made with only 3-4 sets, working up to only ~80% of your 1RM.

Not only can this be used to calculate an estimate 1RM (e1RM) but it also offers multifaceted insights into performance, considering power, and explosive potential on submaximal loads within an entire workout session.

I have written before about e1RM and how to calculate it here →

If you are interested in learning about other novel approaches to calculating your strength check out this article →

Adopting a Modern Approach to Strength Calculation

The precise assessment of strength levels is vital for tailoring and adjusting training programs. With the utilisation of velocity measurements, strength levels can be estimated more high precisions and frequency, helping lifters optimise the pathway towards achieving their training goals.

1RM estimator - free online tool

Start tracking your strength the smart and efficient way with barbell velocity tracking. You can do so (for free) with the free Metric VBT app for iPhone together with my free e1RM and performance index calculator spreadsheet, which you get as part of a free VBTcoach membership. Simply log your velocity and load numbers into the spreadsheet and it will provide an estimated 1 rep max value and heaps more insights. Works for all standard strength exercises (including tarp bar and barbell lifts).

Download Metric VBT for iOS here →

Become a VBTcoach member and claim your free strength calculator →

References and resources

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