Anyone who takes the training seriously knows it to make progress in the gym, it's largely a game of numbers. Sets, reps and loads, we manipulate these variables to adjust the training outcome. But for me, as a coach, these numbers really only tell me about the volume or the quantity of my training.
How much did I do? They don't answer that really important, crucial question. How well did I do that set? When it comes to measuring quality, coaches and lifters have largely relied on subjective methods, RPE systems eyeballing sets or getting a feel on how movements going. I believe the velocity is the missing metric in your training. When used well, velocity tracking can unlock a whole range of metrics and measures within your training. Fatigue, readiness, auto-regulation, intent, all these factors can help drive training outcomes and improve your performance Over this series, we're going to explore the fundamentals of velocity based training. Diving into what makes it such a useful tool for coaches and athletes alike. Let's take a look at a simple application of velocity based training in practice. Here's two sets of a trap bar deadlift, both with 100 kilos, both for five reps.
Which set do you think had a better strength and power adaptation? Now a good coach might be able to tell that set B is a little more explosive in the poppy than the first or set A, but by how much?
When we use velocity tracking instead of guessing, we start to really see the difference, and how much of a difference there is between these sets. From the data, we can see that set A has a velocity or an average velocity across the set of 0.59 meters per second, while set B was up at 0.7 meters per second. Now, that's a 16% differential in speed. That could be as much as five to 10 centimeters on your vertically or third of a second over 20 meters on a sprint.
Now, when it comes to training, you wouldn't train at, say, 84, 85 per cent on your sprints and your jumps, would you? You'd train with all that maximum intensity and the same rules apply in the gym with your lifting. If you're brand new to velocity based training or you're looking for a refresher, we're going to dive into the basics throughout the rest of this video.
We're going to cover five key terms, think of this as your velocity based training glossary. These terms come up a lot when we talk about the different training concepts within VBT, so these will be really important for you to be on a first name basis with. Velocity is the relationship between displacement and time. How far do you go and how long did you take? When we use Velocity in VBT, we're typically talking about the concentric portion of lift, the upward part of that lift only from bottom to top.
There are three different ways to measure velocity, and all of them have some sort of a use in VBT. The first and most common is mean velocity. That's the average velocity it took you from the bottom to the top of that rep. Then we have peak velocity, which is the peak moment or instant of velocity within that lift. That's a more valuable metric for things like jumps and Olympic lift, where there is a float phase in the movement as well. The third and I think the most valuable form of velocity or version of velocity we can use in VBT is mean propulsive velocity. That's the average velocity, but only the accelerated portion of your lift. So it doesn't count, say, a float phase and a jump or the decelerative portion of a lighter standard strength movement.
Power is the second most commonly used metric in VBT. Just like velocity, it can be measured in mean, peak and mean propulsive, and we talk about power in terms of watts. Unlike velocity, which is just displacement and time, power now incorporates the effects of gravity and the load on the bar to give us that output metric.
The more weight you try to lift, the harder it is to move, and so the slower it moves right? This is grounded in physics, in Newton's second law, and we call this the load velocity profile. This relationship between load and velocity in the heavier we lift, the slow we go, is really stable, consistent, and it's even pretty linear. We can estimate 1RM, we can use to profile our strength or even as a way of adjusting and setting readiness on a day to day basis.
When you start tracking velocity in your training, it becomes really intrinsically motivating. You really want to make those numbers pop and get those velocity as high as possible. We call this concept intent to move. It's the idea that no matter what the weight on the bar is, you try and lift it as fast as possible. Think of that set B energy from earlier in the video. We want to lift that weight with good explosiveness. One thing that's important to note with your intent to move, though, is that the more weight on the bar, the less the actual difference in velocity between a high intensity and a low intensity. It's really important, though, that you still are implying that maximal intent on every set, trying to explode through the bar no matter what the weight.
With lifting, the more reps you do across a set, the more your fatigue. When we start tracking velocity, we can measure this fatigue as a decrement in your velocity from your best rep or your first rep, all the way through to your last reps where your fatigue and the velocity slows down. For most people, they'll reach a failure point on most exercises, around 40 per cent velocity loss across a set. Now, we can use this velocity loss fatigue measuring idea for a whole bunch of things in our training. But in particular, it's really good for manipulating a volume so that we avoid fatigue. For example, in season for an athlete, keeping them fresh so they can perform on the weekend.
So while we haven't gone super deep into any one specific application of your velocity based training by now, you should be getting a pretty good idea that it's a broad and really useful tool to get more out of your training and your performance. We'll be exploring these concepts and many more, so I'll see you in the next video.