Last month we solicited entries for a giveaway of a PUSH band velocity measurement device. To enter, podcast listeners simply had to send us an email with a description of how they would use a PUSH band. After some time to review the entries, Nick and I have are happen to announce Cal State-Fullerton masters student and assistant strength coach Arjan Dougan as the winner.
Before we share Dougan’s submission we would also like to recognize the quality of entries we received. Velocity technology has been around for decades, but it is only in the last few years that substantial strides are being made in its application on a variety of fronts. Nick and I will share some of the ideas we are pursuing over the next month in blog posts and the other finalists had some even better ideas. Here is an overview of their submissions that put them a step ahead of the competition:
- Using the PUSH band to find a more precise definition of proper loading for female athletes. Weight ranges for female athletes, especially beginners, can be quite small. For example the difference between 70 and 100% is not that large and more precise measurements can help better define the loading.
- Trying to further explore the connection between bar speed, throwing distance, and sport form, as Nick and I have discussed on the podcast and on HMMR Media.
- Measuring and long-term tracking of work capacity. By identifying speed ranges, coaches can monitor how long an athlete can stay in those ranges throughout training and then track improvement in work capacity by comparing results over the long term.
- Better defining the training zones for speed, size, and strength, and monitoring of when athletes are in those zones.
- Integrating velocity-based principles in a Westside Barbell training scheme.
And now on to the winning submission. As I mentioned, Dougan is both a student and a coach. By being in both an academic and practical setting, it will give him a chance to hone into more detail that coaches can use. His focus isn’t revolutionary, but a simple topic that can be looked at in more depth as it has direct application to almost all coaches. His two main interests are:
- The validity of using movement velocity/bar speed as a tool to estimate 1RM in trained individuals.
- The subsequent development of an equation to determine individualized load-velocity profiles for people.
One simple way to use velocity measurement tools is as a substitute for maxing out. Most weightlifting protocols are based on the athlete’s percentage of their one-rep maximum. Therefore an accurate one-rep max is needed. The difficulty is that testing frequently is not practical. Frequent testing can increase risk of injury, substantially reduce training volume, and impact skill work. Research has shown strong correlations between bar velocity at lower rates. For example, in the squat 60% equates to the weight an athlete can typically move at 0.80 meters per second. As Bryan Mann mentioned on our podcast, using a velocity as a parameter is a more accurate predictor as it can give you your 60% on that day, not just what it was the last time you maxed out.
But there are some limitations. As different athletes have different levels of maximum speed, there are individual variations in how fast they can move each percentage of their max. By looking at this topic in depth, I hope that Dougan can find some additional tips that coaches can use to help better train their athletes. We’re looking forward to it.