1/1/23 Literature Review
Velocity based training --- A way of measuring bar speed using various devices during weight lifting. This can be used to manage many things in training. This can be used to assess readiness during that particular day or also used to replace certain variables that are often fixed within training. For example, instead of using a fixed percentage of 1RM when prescribing loads we can prescribe a specific velocity range on a day. This is because across people there is a standard profile for how percentages correlate to certain bar speeds. So instead of having a fixed percentage for that day which may be too heavy, or too light, based on someone's readiness, we can adjust to the speed of the bar with a given weight. This can help mitigate fatigue to allow for better performance and adaptation. Pushing when an athlete is more ready or pulling back when they are not. Usually this is still used with RPE and RIR. This can also help athletes better assess their RPE/RIR.
This can also help assess 1RM without always having to test 1RM because you can monitor for example singles at a specific correlated velocity and thus track progression of E1RM with more certainty without always asking someone to max. This also seems to have some benefits as far as motor unit recruitment and training strength. Thus far in literature training fast with moderate loads seems to be a sweet spot of allowing for strength improvements while minimizing fatigue as much as possible. There are several ways to prescribe velocity. For example, you can work within ranges as mentioned before and when someone is no longer able to maintain the velocity range you terminate the training for that movement. You can also prescribe velocity loss thresholds where at a certain velocity loss that individual also terminates their training for this movement. This then allows the volume of their training to also autoregulate based on readiness. Training more sets when more fresh and less when they are more fatigued based on these markers. And because it is “more objective” it is measuring an outcome and is less based on how someone feels that day which can be off by up to 18% in some cases. Typically someone will make a velocity profile over time to generate data to help understand how to use their device and perform minimizing the learning curve and implementation once programming is based off of this metric. Brooks, Toby; Fleming, Wil; Munger, Larry; and Munger, Katie (2022) "Velocity-Based Training: Current Concepts and Future Directions," Topics in Exercise Science and Kinesiology: Vol. 3: Iss. 1, Article 1. Attentional focus while training: How internal versus external cues impact training --- When lifting we often focus on specific cues. Or how to move the weight. Some studies have started to look at external versus internal cues. External cues are those like pushing the floor away on a deadlift, gripping the bar on bench press, pushing your back into the bar when squatting, pulling your elbows to the back of the room during a row etc etc. Internal cues are like the mind muscle connection or specifically contracting that muscle as hard as possible during the movement. Below is a list of cues that were given in the studies this Meta Analysis reviewed.
It appears that there is an acute improvement in strength when using external cues during lower body compound exercises. This also seems to hold for long term as well as in motor learning focus on the outcome of a task appears to be more important the more complex the movement is. This seems to reduce co-contractions during the movement that would reduce strength and speed of a movement. It appears in some studies however that muscular hypertrophy is greater in those who use an internal focus during exercise and concentrate on contracting muscles as hard as possible or above cues. Particularly this may be most beneficial for single joint exercises where it is a less complex motor task. As in the studies looking at internal vs external cues, that favored internal cues they used exercises like leg extension, bicep curls, and isometric strength versus complex movements. This also appeared to result in around 6% difference in hypertrophy between groups in these studies. Not a lot but I think many people would be happy with this % difference by only changing their concentration during an exercise. This may also be able to be applied to machine based exercises as they would not be as complex motor tasks due to fixed movements that done require as much stabilization. These are likely recommendations we make already with clients of something we talk about as often single joint, or machine exercises tend to have the focus being hypertrophy and in session pump versus absolute strength. This also plays into the VBT discussion as it is often seen that external cues result in better bar speeds and may be more applicable to strength specific training. As it appears this can help with training high threshold motor units. Which we will cover in the coming months discussing alternative set structures using VBT. So practically, depending on the complexity of the exercise, and original intended purpose it may be better to change the focus between internal and external to maximize our effectiveness. But again none of this will matter if you aren’t consistent in your training with adequate recovery, volume, and progression. Grgic J, Mikulic I, Mikulic P. Acute and Long-Term Effects of Attentional Focus Strategies on Muscular Strength: A Meta-Analysis. Sports (Basel). 2021 Nov 12;9(11):153. doi: 10.3390/sports9110153. PMID: 34822352; PMCID: PMC8622562. Schoenfeld BJ, Vigotsky A, Contreras B, Golden S, Alto A, Larson R, Winkelman N, Paoli A. Differential effects of attentional focus strategies during long-term resistance training. Eur J Sport Sci. 2018 Jun;18(5):705-712. doi: 10.1080/17461391.2018.1447020. Epub 2018 Mar 13. PMID: 29533715.