Strength Profiling Part 3
5 STEPS TO BUILD THE STRENGTH PROFILE
Back to Table 1, we need only 4 steps to collect the data we need. Get your spreadsheet ready, you're going to repeat this for each set.
Step 1 – Begin your set and make sure you are exerting maximum intention, that is you are accelerating the bar as fast as the load allows you to;
Step 2 – Insert the load in the Excel table; in the corresponding line
Step 3 – Insert the resulting Bar Speed beside the load (more on this at the end of the list)
Step 4 – Read the Power value from the Beast App and place in the third slot of the line;
Step 5 – Repeat the same steps by using increased loads
There are different strategies to choose the value for Speed and Power that goes into the profile. Average Set Values can be used when there is little to no fatigue accumulated during the set: these values can be displayed in the first widget: Velocity Based Training values (picture below). Also in the same Set Values screen, the Power Set Average can be found by switching tab.A different strategy consist in using the best values for each set. If this is your choice, please go to Edit Reps, on top right corner of the App “Rep Edit View” and pick the values by choosing the tallest bar.
Before we begin, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org requiring your free Strength Profile Excel spreadsheet, we'll be happy to support you !
To correctly estimate 1RM we are using the Load Velocity relationship. As explained before, we can use the relationship to estimate a load with a specific velocity. Thus, we need to determine the 1RM speed to have 1RM load. 1RM speed is the lowest speed attainable in that exercise, as a matter of fact it is also called Minimum Velocity Threshold (MVT). You can find out MVT yourself by performing a set to failure and pick the slowest rep before failure. Use that as your best estimation. Each exercise has its own MVT. In Figure 4 below you can see some the MVT for some of the most common exercises.
A lot of research regarding MVT was summed up in Spain by Sanchèz Medina and Lorena Torres, the second one reviewing the research of the Spanish Professor Sanchez Medina and Gonzalez Badillo, pioneers of VBT research. (4)(5)(6)
Two main strategies to find out 1RM Speed (Minimum Velocity Threshold):
- Directly: by tracking Bar Speed during a real 1RM;
- Indirectly: by going to failure in a set and estimating the slowest rep in the set. We recommend to use a moderate to heavy weight for this kind of test (above 75% of the supposed 1RM).
In my experience most coaches use the second strategy to estimate MVT since it is safer and easier to stay far from the risks of 1RM, for some coaches an estimate of the 1RM is better than having the Athlete really perform the 1RM lift, also they simply want a heavy load to be estimated at a slow reference speed even thou the prediction does not really reflect the 1RM. This last condition comes handful when assessing progress for a Strength profile over time.
Practical example: let's say that 1RM looks over or underestimated, since MVT might not be accurate: if that 1RM Load increases over time using the same MVT, this still indicates an improvement.
Do not overthink MVT, most of the times you are simply trying to get an estimation and you can treat this more like a score than a real number: it and all the other load/speed estimations are still valid and correct. This is a linear relationship connecting speed to load: if the same speed predicts increasing loads over time, that is a clear and real indication for improvement. This is a real advantage of assessing the Strength Profile by using Speed and only 4 sets are necessary.
After you have data, daily conditions can be assessed: It might be a good day or a bad day, we like to call bad as "challenge yourself" day. One of the best answers I've ever got by a Powerlifter was " can you please estimate my 1RM so I can try and beat it ?" It is a match, man versus math. Think about the spark in your eyes discovering a new and increased 1RM: this might even happen before you ever start your training session.
ESTIMATE MAX POWER OUTPUT
Most of the times in Sports Performance Absolute Strength is not enough, coaches must consider and trim the Maximal Power output. The relationship between Power and Velocity is descibed by a convex parabola (belly of the parabola facing down) and therefore there is a critical point: its vertex is somewhere around 50 to 80% of 1RM. Some considerations following this:
- There is a Maximal Power Output or Peak Power
- There is a Load allowing Maximum Power to be expressed (Max Power Load)
- Crossing data with the first part of the profile, Velocity at wich Max Power can be extrapolated (Max Power Speed). In order to do this, just take Max Power Load into the Load Velocity Relationship and extrapolate the corresponding Velocity.
HOW TO DETERMINE MAX POWER OUTOUT
Max Power is the highest Power Output attainable by the Athlete in that exercise and it is a parameter useful for different evaluations. We can rank different exercises to understand which provides better conditions to express and train power. Which exercise is better for lower body power production: Squat or Deadlfit? Power Cleans or Squat Jump?
Vertically projecting the parabola to the X axis we can find Max Power Load (7). This is once again a critical parameter to reference for many coaches. Heavirt Loads than Max Power will provide Strength Speed while loads lighter than Max Power Load will provide Speed Strength. These absolute load values will vary and obscillate and there is no other way other than speed to prescribe these training conditions around Max Power. Quantification is one of the most precious features of Velocity Based Training.
To hit the Training Goal, just cross informations between the two Chart, Load Velocity and Power Load, so you can estimate informations regarding Max Power Speed. This is the Training Zone to increase Max Power, Strength Speed or Speed Strength. This is also the basic condition for the Maximal Power Training Method.
It is a Sacre Graal for those coaches using this method (8), iust like the Dynamic Effort Method (9) coming from the classic Russian Strength and Conditionign.(10) (11)
Dynamic Effort Method, as described by Zatsiorsky or in Westside Barbell Periodisation consist of undulating periodisation of training intensities and volumes in exercises like Squatting and Deadllfting (training submaximal loads at maximum intention).
Since we have a reference with Maximal Power Conditions (Load, Speed, Power Outout), slower days will correspond to less Power and viceversa. Bang, you just got more powerful!
Practicality of data management is the difference between using Velocity or Power when Coaching or lifting: it is easier to remember a double digit number, just like in the case of Speed rather than a triple digit number, as with Power. Also since Speed does not depend on Load, some reference Speed might be sorted out because recurrent and they will be easy to remember. As an example Power Conditions for Squat, Deadlift and Bench Press are all around .8 m/s
This is just scraping the surface of Velocity Based Training and there is more and more research for those who are curious about it. (15)(16)
Beast Sensor makes this training method more accessible and classic and effective Training Strategies like the Maximal Power Method can be applied and adapted to every training session.
TIME CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE STRENGTH PROFILE
Every single performance may provide its one profile therefore a Strength Profile created with single repetitions or best values taken from one single session should be treated like fresh milk as adaptions will be quick and the references are going to expire within days. This is the reason to gather data for a longer time span (3 weeks for example) and create a profile over that time span with average values.
If that is your goal, filter the data over a longer time span such as 3 weeks or an entire mesocycle, A greater set of data will results in a more stable-in-time profile and will last for more weeks. This is one of the most robust strategies to evaluate the results obtained over more than one training cycles and to compare adaptations over different mesocycles.