Periodization and Programming With VBT

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Periodization and programming with VBT can be difficult to understand when first learning about VBT. The two most common questions for those first learning about velocity based training are:

  1. How to program week to week
  2. How can overall periodization effect the training year for your team or athlete

As with most sports performance or strength and conditioning, there is no one size fits all approach . It will depend on the sport or type of athlete you are training, the needs analysis of the individual, the competitive season and game schedule, and what the tendencies of the sport coach are with regards to volume and intensity of training sessions. This is nothing new as far as periodization for strength training goes. Ultimately, velocity based training is no harder to conceptualize into an overall training plan than traditional percentage based training.

In fact, it may be easier because (as you will see) you simply assign a velocity zone or a specific velocity for a training adaptation through a phase and any alterations can take place on the fly with ease. The finer details with which you can assign velocities is often where the confusion lies. We will explain the most common ways to prescribe velocity here and you can experiment and select what works best for you and your program.

ANNUAL PLANNING

Quickly, we want to review annual planning for strength training before delving deeper. The annual plan is the zoomed out look at a team or individual’s training season. This is essentially the 30,000 foot view. And it is almost always in the best case scenario. We’re going to talk about this in terms of levels. The annual plan is the highest level and is used interchangeably with the term Macrocycle. After that comes individual mesocycles or two or more phases or cycles within the larger macrocycle. The NSCA text has categorized several mesocycles into the following [7]:

  • Preparatory phase/offseason (4-6 months)
  • First transition period/pre-season (6-12 weeks)
  • In season/early season competition (6-12 weeks)
  • In season/peak competition (6-12 weeks)
  • Second transition period/immediate post season (1-4 weeks)

You may notice there are general time assignments with each mesocycle. These are broken down further into microcycles which are shorter periods that can range from a few days to a few weeks and are the last major level of periodization. This is where specific adaptations for a particular training cycle come into play. Think hypertrophy, strength, speed-strength etc. And this is where outfitting percentages or in our case, velocity, also comes into play in a big way [7].

If you are a visual person, take a look at this basic annual plan categorized out for your convenience.

periodization, VBT

VBT ZONES ASSIGNED

There are some discrepancies in what percentages belong to what velocities. This is largely due to exercise selection and something we will address here too. Researchers González-Badillo and Sánchez-Medina concluded in a paper that there existed a near perfect relationship between relative load and mean velocity (R²=0.98). Meaning that knowing a velocity, the percentage RM can be predicted with great accuracy. Their study focused on the bench press, so while not perfect and ideal for every lift, it is a good starting point. The chart that accompanies their results is below [3].

Taken from Researchers González-Badillo and Sánchez-Medina paper Movement velocity as a measure of loading intensity in resistance training [3].
Taken from Researchers González-Badillo and Sánchez-Medina paper Movement velocity as a measure of loading intensity in resistance training [3].

Some more helpful charts/resources are below. Since velocity zones are variable given the exercise in question, and the training age of the athlete, among other factors, the following is to be taken with a grain of salt. It is not written in stone, and is subject to change within variables. The two charts do not necessarily agree either, which is why we wanted to give both. They are adapted from Bryan Mann’s book in addition to research cited below and will be a good starting point to help you with understanding percentages and VBT. The only true way to understand this is to try it yourself and with various teams to help you build your own profiles for athletes with more precision.

These two charts don’t agree on where the percentages and velocity zones coincide. That’s okay! Use them as guidelines and develop your own zones for your athletes.
These two charts don’t agree on where the percentages and velocity zones coincide. That’s okay! Use them as guidelines and develop your own zones for your athletes.

MINIMUM VELOCITY THRESHOLDS

A minimum velocity threshold (MVT) is exactly what it sounds like. It is the slowest velocity a bar can move at that a coach or athlete will safely find acceptable, or just before failure sets in. If you look at both charts above, the < 0.5 m/s is where we roughly cap a lift. Big heads up: this varies per lift and per athlete as well, it will typically be slower in athletes who are well trained, and higher in athletes who have a younger training age. The bench press presents a much slower MVT than the squat. And the squat and deadlift present similar MVT [8].

MORE PERSPECTIVE

If we go back to the 30,000 foot view or annual planning or macrocycle, we can get a better idea of where and when to assign these velocity zones. Again, this is all about training for specific adaptations at specific times of the year. That decision is still for coaches to make as the practitioner. Below is the traditional phases for strength training alongside its percentage, and alongside the suggested velocity. As a major disclaimer, this is by no means finite nor comprehensive. We want to provide guidelines and suggestions to help you get started with velocity based training. We believe in velocity based training as an incredible tool that can enhance performance and minimize injury if leveraged properly. So we want to help provide the means to do that. All of our suggestions are based on the research, so please read further into our sources if you want to know more! The two major sources for the below were Bryan Mann’s Developing Explosive Athletes and Tudor Bompa’s Periodization Training for Sport [2,6].

PROGRAMMING VBT AND ANNUAL PLAN CONSIDERATIONS

While periodization of training is an important factor, much like traditional percentage based training, velocity based training involves a lot of research and experimentation for you to figure out how you want to program. Everything stated above is based in the research, and is definitely a good place to start, but we encourage you to do more digging. We love sifting through data and research and providing educational content to you, but the best part of all of this is you can experiment with it too! Let us know what you find out.

OTHER RELEVANT POSTS!

Want to learn more about the basics of VBT? Check out Perch’s VBT Dictionary!

Curious about how to program VBT? Check out our post on Common VBT Programming Methods!

FOLLOW US!

Keep checking back for more velocity based training content, tips, tricks, and tools. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter , Instagram and Linkedin and like us on Facebook .

SOURCES

  1. Banyard, H.; Nosaka, K.; Haff, G. Reliability and validity of the load-velocity relationship to predict the 1rm back squat. J. Strength Cond. Res. 2016, 31, 1897–1904.
  2. Bompa, T., & Buzzichelli, C. (2015). Periodization training for sports (Third ed.). Champaign: Human Kinetics.
  3. Gonzalez-Badillo, J.; Sanchez-Medina, L. Movement velocity as a measure of loading intensity in resistance training. Int. J. Sports Med. 2010, 31, 347–352.
  4. Jidovtseff, B.; Harris, N.; Crielaard, J.; Cronin, J. Using the load-velocity relationship for 1rm prediction. J. Strength Cond. Res. 2011, 25, 267–270.
  5. Jovanovich, M.; Flanagan, E. Research application of velocity based strength training. J. Aust. Strength Cond. 2014, 22, 58–69.
  6. Mann, B., Kazadi, K., Pirrung, E., & Jensen, J. (2016). Developing explosive athletes: Use of velocity based training in athletes. Muskegon Heights, MI: Ultimate Athlete Concepts.
  7. National Strength & Conditioning Association (U.S.). (2016). Essentials of strength training and conditioning (Fourth ed.) (G. Haff & N. Triplett, Eds.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
  8. Lake, J., Naworynsky, D., Duncan, F., Jackson, M., Comparison of Different Minimal Velocity Thresholds to Establish Deadlift One Repetition Maximum. (2017). Sports, 5(3), 70.

Perch Install at the University of Georgia Football

"It just gives us the chance to give athletes autonomy. They come in the weight room and doing it their own. It's amazing how quick they pick up on the technology."

Perch Install at UPenn

"Penn in the Ivy League is the intersection of Peak performance and Peak academic stressors, we need a solution for stressors they receive in both of those environments. Perch allows us to do that by providing data-driven solutions."

Perch Install at UNC Football

"The ability to track guys instantaneously and to analyze their movement patterns through technology in the weight room has been fantastic."

Perch Install at University of Maryland Football

"The equipment, the technology, the Perch and the velocity-based training, I think it's been the single biggest influence on our program. It's given a whole new dynamic to our training because it's a new level of focus for our athletes."

Perch Install at McHenry High School

"What I loved about it there was no tether to have the camera be mounted in the rack where I can focus on the athlete and coaching. It's very user-friendly and so their ability to engage and get feedback has been phenomenal."

Perch Install at Kansas State

"Working with Perch has been a breath of fresh air, from day one, they provided us with Gold Standard customer service."

Perch Install at Hebron Christian Academy

"It's relatively seamless for the athletes. At the same time, I get really accurate objective data. I can literally take models of training and produce evidence that those models of training do or don't work."

Perch Install at Wake Forest University

"The team's been awesome. Got everything installed, all our guys were able to get around them, ask questions, get right into it and hit the ground running day one."

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Scott Sinclair

University of Georgia

Head of Strength & Conditioning Coach

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Cory Walts

University of Pennsylvania

Director of Strength & Conditioning

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Brian Hess

University of North Carolina

Head Strength & Conditioning Coach — Football

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Ryan Davis

University of Maryland

Director Strength & Conditioning — UMD Football

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John Beerbower

McHenry High School

Director Strength & Conditioning

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Trumain Carroll

Kansas State University

Director Strength & Conditioning

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Spencer Arnold

Hebron Christian Academy

Director Strength & Conditioning

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Chad Bari

Wake Forest University

Director of Football Sports Performance

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Periodization is a huge factor when longterm strength training. Perch explores how Velocity Based Training and periodization work together.

Nervous System Autoregulation and VBT

Perch examines autoregulation of the nervous system and correlation with readiness and fatigue when strength training. #VelocityBasedTraining

Molly Binetti Guest Post

South Carolina Gamecocks sports performance coach Molly Binetti shares her experience with Velocity Based Training in a Perch guest blog post

Understanding Load Velocity Profiles

Understanding load velocity profiles is integral to velocity based training. Perch shares how and why to a build load velocity profile!

What VBT Tech Is Right for You

As technology makes a permanent home in the weight room, Perch shares how to figure out which VBT tech is right for your specific needs!

VBT Through the Times - Sports Technology

Perch explores sports technology change and how Velocity Based Training has changed throughout the years to become what it is today!

Velocity Based Training - Intro

Velocity Based Training measures athlete's lifts not just by how fast they lift, but how slow. Join Perch in our intro to VBT blog post!

Welcome To Perch

Welcome to the Perch blog! Research reviews, guest blog posts from coaches, to return to play series! We have all you need to know about VBT!

Perch, A Techstars Startup, Is Lifting The $30 Billion Fitness Industry To New Heights

"Our hope is that with Perch, we can begin to build the foundation for "smart gyms" or gyms with equipment that has our technology installed into it, so that from the moment you walk in to when you walk out, you can get comprehensive data on your workout performance so you can improve in your next session," Rothman says.

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