VELOCITY BASED TRAINING PROGRAM TO INCREASE MAXIMAL STRENGTH
In this article I'd like to provide our readers with a simple Training Program for Maximum Strength. This program was so practical and efficient that we applied it multiple times with our Beast Strength Lab customers, with great satisfaction.
This routine was applied multiple times with volleyball, basketball, rugby and american football players of intermediate experience. Lately, some more technical Powerlifters adapted this program as well, adding a lot of accessory work with success.
THE REASON BEHIND THE PROGRAM
Since Strength comes from multiple traits this training program is based on 2 different weekly sessions. This might seem quite an amount of work compared to the norm, however AUTOREGULATION AND VBT make it possible: it is easier to deal with volume and intensity because both the stimulus and the feedback are controllable by the coach and the athlete. We're about to show you how.
The two weekly session should be separate by 72 hours to ensure optimal recovery so we generally trained at the beginning and toward the end of the week.
This same model adapts well to lower body or upper body compound movements like Squat, Deadlift, Bench and variations: this is why we only displayed the basics training prescriptions. For the same reason there is no %1RM: I can explain further how to convert this into percentages, either I don't think it would be useful. Just drop us an email.
The same periodisation can be applied twice to your weekly split: 2 sessions each for lower body and upper body totalling 4 sessions per week.
Because each exercise is performed twice a week, the training stimulus must be varied and alternated: this is why a more intense first session and a less intense but more volumetric second session were combined. For those who know, this is the Conjugate Method.
There you go, just like a good recipe!
8 Week Max Strength Training Program
USE FEEDBACK TO CONTROL RESULTS
Once again the great thing with Velocity Based Training, FEEDBACK AND TESTING ARE AUTOMATICALLY BUILT INTO THE TRAINING PROGRAM. The Final week of the cycle, Week 8, can be used as main evaluation of the results, altho every week is a chance to monitor the reaction to the workouts.
Week 8 might be as well a deloading opportunity, with 1 session instead of 2. This represents a better opportunity if you are a fan of testing. Week 8 might as well be the beginning week for another training cycle.
Once again, it is not optimal to repeat training stimuli over long periods of time, however if the intention is to increase Maximal Strength working with intermediate athletes, it is easy to bring little variations to this periodisation such as variations in the exercises and still being able to mantain the prescribed speed, reps and sets schemes. For example, you might begin with Squat and repeat the same cycle moving to a Box Squat in the next.
If you are more experienced or working with shorter cycles, the same principles can be used to create a 3/4 weeks training cycle. I leave this act of creativity to you.
The way the program is built, it is pretty easy and time efficient to gather data from the test.
LOAD VELOCITY PROFILING gives us a wider and more holistic approach to evaluating Strength and you can take advantage of this by Conjugate Periodisation. Not only Maximum Strength but also all other Dynamic Strength Traits will be monitored (they should improve as well).
Simply by repeating the same weekly target speed prescription each athlete has a chance to control improvements over short periods of time. For example, loads should be increasing on the second session of the week comparing Week 2 and Week 5 or Week 3 and Week 6.
Also Session A is repeated week in a row (example, Week 2 and 3 at .4 m/s): this is the first opportunity to evaluate how your CNS is responding and recovering one week with the next. Aim for a higher load moved at the same speed, this will be a good sign of recovery and improvement in Maximum Strength.
We're now giving you tools to adapt what you're doing following the feedback.
USE AUTOREGULATION TO CONTROL INTENSITY
Whatever you do, make sure Range and Quality of Motion are the priority. Solid technique is fundamental.
Now, because this is about Maximal Strength, use THE FASTEST REPETITION of your earliest set to control weight. We're looking for maximal single performances, so sets are short and must be high intensity, this is what we evaluate.
Starting with the very first week of training, you might not have any clue about how much to put on the bar. Start with roughly your 80% 1RM and move from there looking for values inside .05 m/s the prescribed speed.
You want to be rigid with this range otherwise you will not be able to distinguish between following training sessions.
When you need to adjust weight, keep in mind a good rule of thumb for basic powerlifting exercises, 10% DIFFERENCE IN BAR WEIGHT WILL VAY BAR SPEED BY ROUGHLY 0.1 m/s. Adjust accordingly.
USE VELOCITY LOSS TO CONTROL VOLUME
This Training Program is pretty heavy on your CNS and a slight Velocity Loss with each set will be quite natural, especially with Session A in the week. Control this by taking longer rest times and if you can't prolong it anymore, evaluate between cutting volume or diminishing the load to mantain the speed.
The orginal suggested number of reps was taken from the Prilepin chart.
If you experience greater than 20% INTRA-SET VELOCITY LOSS this might not be optimal for you and you will need to adapt. Take less Reps for each set, avoiding extra VL but still trying to maintain the same amount of total repetitions in the session.
Once again some practical example, in Week 1 we're starting from .5 m/s this should result in .1 m/s difference between the first and the last repetition (20% VL). This is going to be applied very similarly for each Session B moving on the cycle.
Some additional care when working close to 1RM speed at very high intensity, doing triples and doubles close to .35 m/s. This is where you might do doubles and singles instead of triples and doubles if you experience a drop. Yet, try to maintain the total number of repetitions around 10-12.
The key here is to be aware of what we're trying to improve: Maximal Strength differs more Maximal Strength resistance. You want to repeat your best performance for how many times as possible in the first case, you want to stay at a level close but minor to your best performance in the second. Managing Velocity Loss and reps is the key to achieve this difference. You might be interested in Clustering going down this path and I should write an article about it.
Wrapping it Up
We though this program strategically to increase Maximal Strength with an alternating stimulus and still leaving the opportunity to monitor and grow other Strength Traits at the same time. This is a key component for Team Sports Athletes and a staple of te Conjugate Program.
Beside the initial and final week of the cycle there are different opportunities for feedback and you will have the chance to gain knowledge about how to continue with future programs.