RTP #4: Lifting Heavy Weights, Safely

Welcome back! This week: More of our 6 Key Ways Weight Room Monitoring Can Help Return Athletes to Play with our fourth installment: Lifting Heavy Weights, Safely. Lifting heavy is necessary, but it is important to do so safely in a way that adheres to the athletes’ capabilities daily, velocity can help dictate load, read on for more!


Lifting heavy weights is important. It develops key performance attributes that athletes need to perform their sports and prevent injury on the field. The closer an individual gets to their 1RM, the greater risk for injury. Everyone can benefit if nearing the “danger zone” is approached with more accuracy. Coaches can tell their athletes to lift at 0.3 m/s (around 95% of 1RM), and if they never dip below that number, a coach can be certain they aren’t putting their athletes at risk.

I can keep kids with less experience at different speeds and weights for longer to ensure they are proficient at the movement and have a quality base before I progress them and focus on something else.

Brandon Golden, Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach, Eastern Carolina University


In a blog post about VBT and Max Strength a few months ago, we wrote the following: Velocity Based Training is not moving the implement as fast as possible at all times. It is moving the implement with as much intent or effort as possible at all times. VBT is not exclusively moving submaximal loads at maximal speeds. It is optimizing bar speed at varying loads based on specific traits and desired adaptations. VBT is not just velocity-based. It is intent-based [12].

Providing axial loads can help prepare athletes for greater impact on the field, in short: lifting heavy is necessary for overall athletic development. By using velocity and velocity zones, you can ensure the quality you are training for is the quality you are getting. If you profile your athletes (using the protocol below) you will be able to infer a minimum velocity threshold (MVT) for each exercise and know how slow is too slow (and therefore how heavy is too heavy). So go forth and lift heavy! And use velocity zones to make sure the adaptations will be your desired outcome.


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 .

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