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Category Archives: Research Reviews

We are back with another research review! It’s been a few months since we brought you a new crop of peer reviewed research, and we wanted to make sure we were keeping our information relevant for you and staying true to our mission of bringing science-backed research straight to you.

This week we covered three unique pieces of literature all related to Velocity Based Training in some capacity or other. We’re excited about these three and their findings so, without further ado, we’ll get right down to it!

STUDY 1

Velocity specificity, combination training and sport specific tasks

Researchers Cronin, McNair, and Marshall investigated whether or not velocity-specific strength training was important for improving overall sport performance for netball athletes. Twenty-one female netball players were randomly assigned to one of three groups (Strength Training n=7, Power Trained n=7, and Control n=7). Pre and Post testing measures consisted of a netball velocity throw, mean volume test, and mean power outputs. After 10 weeks of training, the strength and power trained groups had significantly improved in their netball throw velocity (by 12.4% for strength group, and 8.8% for power group). The strength trained group improved significantly more in the mean volume of weight lifted (85kg) and mean power output (13.25 W) than in either the power or control groups. Researchers concluded that the combination of strength training with intent to move load as fast as possible in addition to training sport-specific movements “promote efficient coordination and activation patterns.” Ultimately, training with maximal intent in the weight room and training specifically for sport outside of the weight room will yield the most positive sport-specific adaptations.

Cronin, J., McNair, P. J., & Marshall, R. N. (2001). Velocity specificity, combination training and sport specific tasks. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.

STUDY 2

Adaptations in athletic performance after ballistic power versus strength training

Researchers Cormie, McGuigan, and Newton looked to determine what the effects of either ballistic power training or heavy strength training had on improving athletic performance metrics in untrained individuals. Twenty-Four relatively weak men, as determined by the researchers, were randomized into three groups: strength training (ST: n=8), power training (PT: n=8), and control (n=8). All subjects tested their 1 repetition maximum, vertical jump, 40m sprint, and assessed their force/velocity profiles pre and post training. The training groups had three sessions per week for 10 weeks where subjects performed back squats with 75-90% RM load (ST), or maximal effort jump squats with 0-30% RM load (PT). Results showed significant improvements in jump and sprint performance with no significant differences between the groups for peak power (ST = 17.7% +/- 9.3%, PT = 17.6% +/- 4.5%) and for sprint performance (ST = 2.2% +/- 1.9%, PT = 3.6% +/- 2.3%). The ST group had a significant increase in maximal or 1RM strength that was significantly greater than the PT (ST = 31.2% +/- 11.3%, PT = 4.5% +/- 7.1%). Unique findings were changes in the force/velocity profiles where the PT group shifted their max power zone, and the ST group skewed towards velocity-deficient, but force-efficient. Researchers ultimately concluded that both strength and power are important traits to train for and depending on the sport, overall athleticism can be improved by improving both strength and power.

Cormie, P., McGuigan, M. R., & Newton, R. U. (2010). Adaptations in athletic performance after ballistic power versus strength training. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 42(8), 1582–1598.

STUDY 3

Changes in the human muscle force-velocity relationship in response to resistance training and subsequent detraining

Researchers Andersen et al., investigated the changes in an individual force/velocity profile in response to resistance training and then a detraining period. Twenty four sedentary male subjects were recruited for this study, none of whom had previously participated in regular resistance training. Subjects were separated into two groups; control (n = 10) and training (n = 14). Measurements (isokinetic dynamometry muscle strength test, maximal unloaded knee extension, muscle EMG test, muscle CSA at mid-femur, muscle biopsy and MHC analysis, and muscle twitch measurements) were taken pre-training, post-training, and post-detraining. Subjects initially trained for three months with 38 total training sessions evenly dispersed into three unique training cycles of progressive resistance exercise. Following this, subjects detrained for three months. Results were largely as expected and in most measures went from baseline (pre-training), to peak (post-training), to elevated baseline (detraining). The notable results were that after 3 months of detraining, maximal unloaded knee extension velocity and power both increased in conjunction with faster muscle twitch contractile properties and increased proportion of fast muscle MHC. Researchers believe that this increase in velocity is likely exclusive to unloaded movements (punching, kicking etc) but not loaded movements (sprinting, jumping etc) but recommended further research be done.

Andersen, L. L., Andersen, J. L., Magnusson, S. P., Suetta, C., Madsen, J. L., Christensen, L. R., & Aagaard, P. (2005). Changes in the human muscle force-velocity relationship in response to resistance training and subsequent detraining. Journal of Applied Physiology, 99(1), 87–94.

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Happy Holidays from Perch! We hope you are amidst a relaxing week and looking forward to the New Year celebrations. Our idea of celebrating the end of the decade was to finish it out with some extra learning and a research review. Think of it as our gift to you! This week we dug into three more VBT – related research articles and have brought you the synopses. Two of these research articles were related to higher velocity resistance training with an aging population.

To preface these, we wanted to remind you that aging includes a progressive loss of strength due to the atrophy of muscle tissue and loss of muscle fibers. This is a result of a combination of factors including less regular movement and exercise, hormonal responses, and health issues arising. The type II fibers (or fast-twitch) are the most compromised fibers, which impacts an individual’s ability to rapidly produce force. All three of these articles complement each other well and should certainly add some food for thought while training certain populations. We hope you enjoy!

STUDY 1

Hormonal Responses from Concentric and Eccentric Muscle Contractions

Researchers Durand, Kraemer et al., investigated the effects eccentric and concentric muscle contractions have on hormonal response. Testosterone (T), free testosterone (FT), growth hormone (GH) and lactate were measured. Ten young men (age: 24.7 +/- 1.2 yr, weight: 85.45 +/- 24.2 kg, and height: 178 +/- 0.2 cm) were recruited and completed three trials on separate days. The first trial was a preliminary familiarization session. The subjects were then split into two groups; the first completed a CON exercise trial followed by an ECC exercise trial. The second completed an ECC exercise trial followed by a CON exercise trial. All workloads were predetermined at 80% of the subjects’ unique 10 repetition maximum (10RM) for four different exercises: bench press, leg extension, military press, and leg curl. The subjects performed four sets of 12 repetitions of each exercise. Following each trial, subjects’ blood samples were analyzed for lactate, GH, T, and FT. Results indicated there were significant increases in GH, T, and FT for both trials, but GH and lactate were both greater for the CON trial (. Researchers concluded that CON exercise increases GH concentrations to a much greater extent than ECC exercises at the same absolute workload. And that despite the greater metabolic stress during CON contractions, the significant increases in both T and FT for both ECC and CON trials indicated that CON contractions did not negatively impact the hormonal responses. Finally, researchers hypothesized that the increases in GH was likely due to intensity rather than the mode of muscle contraction.

Durand, R. J., Castracane, V. D., Hollander, D. B., Tryniecki, J. L., Bamman, M. M., O’Neal, S., … Kraemer, R. R. (2003). Hormonal responses from concentric and eccentric muscle contractions. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 35(6), 937–943.

STUDY 2

High-Velocity Resistance Training Increases Skeletal Muscle Peak Power in Older Women

Researchers Fielding, LeBrasseur, Cuoco, Bean, Mizer, and Fiatarone hypothesized that a high-velocity resistance training program (HI) would have a greater increases on muscle power than a low-velocity resistance training program (LO). Researchers recruited 30 women with self-reported disability (aged 73 +/- 1, body mass index 30.1 +/- 1.1 kg/m2). Only 25 women finished the study HI (n = 12) and LO (n = 13). All baseline measures were taken at a familiarization session. Then a randomized trial was conducted where subjects performed three training sessions per week in either the HI or LO intervention group. Three sets (8-10 repetitions) of leg press (LP) and knee extension (KE) were performed at 70% of subjects’ 1RM. Measures were taken at baseline, 8 weeks, and 16 weeks. Following the completion of the study, researchers found results to be training force and total work was similar between HI and LO groups, as were increases in 1 repetition maximum (1RM). But the HI group power outputs increased significantly for both LP and KE (267 W vs 139 W, p < 0.001). Ultimately HI group exhibited similar 1RM strength gains and greater power output improvements. Given these results, and pre-existing research on aging populations, researchers suggested improvements in lower extremity peak power may have a greater impact on age-associated reductions in physical functioning than other exercise interventions.

Fielding, R. A., LeBrasseur, N. K., Cuoco, A., Bean, J., Mizer, K., & Fiatarone Singh, M. A. (2002). High-velocity resistance training increases skeletal muscle peak power in older women. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 50(4), 655–662.

STUDY 3

Improved Physical Performance in Older Adults Undertaking a Short-Term Programme of High-Velocity Resistance Training

Researchers Henwood and Taaffe investigated the effects of a short-term high velocity resistance training program on overall physical performance measures in aging adults. Twenty five healthy adults (women = 17, men = 8) aged 60-80 years were recruited to participate. Subjects were familiarized with training protocols in two separate sessions and were separated into two groups, exercise (EX; n = 15) and control (CON; n = 10). EX subjects trained 2 days/week using machine weights for three sets of eight repetitions at 35%, 55%, and 75% of their 1 repetition maximum (1RM) for seven different upper and lower body exercises using explosive concentric movements (bench press, seated row, shoulder press, leg press, leg extension, leg curl, seated calf press). Performance measures included a muscle strength measures using a 1RM protocol, a peak and average knee extension power test determined using a Cybex 6000 isokinetic dynamometer, a chair rise to standing test, a six-metre walk, a six-metre backwards walk, a floor rise to standing test, and a lift and reach test. The EX group experienced a significant improvement in all exercises (p = 0.001), and in both upper and lower body strength and power measures. Researchers suggest that varied resistance and high-velocity resistance training appears to be safe and effective means of increasing muscle strength and power.

Henwood, T. R., & Taaffe, D. R. (2005). Improved physical performance in older adults undertaking a short-term programme of high-velocity resistance training. Gerontology, 51(2), 108–115.

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After digging into a bunch of research the last few months, this week we wanted to bring you our second research review! These three articles reviewed below are related to velocity based training and muscular fatigue. We hope they will provide you with some food for thought, and some new ideas and conclusions based on the evidence. Below you’ll find three recent research articles and the purpose, methods, and results the researchers ventured out to discover. If you have any questions, let us know. Here we go!

STUDY 1

Neural Contributions to Muscle Fatigue: From the Brain to the Muscle and Back Again

Researchers Taylor, Amann, Duchateau, Meeusen, and Rice conducted a research review that examined the progressive reduction in the ability of a muscle to produce force during exercise. The researchers sought to understand the origin of and mechanisms through which muscular fatigue is experienced ranging from impaired motor system functioning to neural changes and the reduction in performance capability during exercise. Ultimately, three main conclusions were found: 1 – The mark of fatigue in the neuromuscular pathway is the slowing or stopping of motor unit firing, which causes the loss of force production. 2 – Those changes in motor unit firing is the result of various influences on the motor neurons, primarily changes in afferent input (nerve impulses heading towards the brain) and synaptic inputs (messages decoded at the synaptic junctions resulting in nerve impulses). 3 – Neurotransmitters interacting with the brain can alter performance upon interpretation depending on environment, temperature, and sensations of fatigue. These conclusions combined led the researchers to determine that “Changes in the neuromuscular, sensory, and homeostatic systems can all contribute to fatigue with exercise.” The brain, therefore, has as much to do with determining the cessation of exercise as the muscle does, as signals are rapidly passed back and forth between the two during exercise.

Taylor, J. L., Amann, M., Duchateau, J., Meeusen, R., & Rice, C. L. (2016). Neural contributions to muscle fatigue: From the brain to the muscle and back again. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

STUDY 2

Factors Related to Average Concentric Velocity of Four Barbell Exercises at Various Loads

Researchers Fahs, Blumkaitis, and Rossow set out to examine the differences of average concentric barbell velocities between 35% and 100% of a 1-repetition maximum (1RM) for four exercises: back squat, bench press, deadlift, and overhead press. They were primarily investigating how training age, frequency, limb length, height and relative strength are related to concentric mean velocities. A total of 51 resistance-trained men (18 women; 33 men) participated and completed two separate testing sessions where the velocities of each of the four exercise was measured during a 1RM testing protocol. Results were that concentric mean velocity was significantly different among the four lifts at all relative loads between 35% and 100% (p<0.05) with the exception of 55% (p = 0.112). Researchers concluded that load-velocity profiles are different for each exercise and that primarily relative strength level and height played important roles in determining the concentric mean velocity for the various lifts. As a result, researchers suggested the velocity zones should be individualized for exercises and for athletes.

Fahs, C. A., Blumkaitis, J. C., & Rossow, L. M. (2019). Factors related to average concentric velocity of four barbell exercises at various loads. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

STUDY 3

Considerations for Velocity Based Training: The Instruction to Move “As Fast As Possible” Is Less Effective Than a Target Velocity

Researchers Hirsch and Frost investigated the difference in instructing athletes to move at a target velocity vs. “as fast as possible” during a free-weight bench press. Thirteen male powerlifters were recruited and completed two separate testing sessions, the order of which was randomized and separated by 3-7 days. Participants underwent a warmup, a 1RM test, and 4 sub-maximal “velocity” sets of 5 reps at 45% 1RM, and another RM test. The target velocity for the velocity session was 1.0m/s. The “as fast as possible” group still had their velocities recorded, but not reported to them during the session. The target velocity sessions produced a significantly higher mean velocity than the “as fast as possible” (p<0.001). Researchers therefore concluded that giving athletes a target number to aim for is more effective than instructing them to move the barbell as fast as possible.

Hirsch, S. M., & Frost, D. M. (2019). Considerations for Velocity-Based Training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, (July).

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You may have noticed the numerous sources we cite at the bottom of each of our blog posts. Peer reviewed research is important to us because it adds evidence and validity to the information we bring you. We want to be a trusted resource for all things velocity based training, and in doing so, we have to keep our findings and summations based in the research. With that in mind, we wanted to deliver a quick research review this week. A velocity based training research review. Below you’ll find three distinct sources, cited (obviously) and we will walk you through the purpose, methods, and results of each. We will be bringing you research reviews periodically to make sure we keep you reading the research too! if you have any questions, just let us know in the comments.

STUDY 1

Effect of instantaneous performance feedback during 6 weeks of velocity-based resistance training on sport-specific performance tests

Researchers Randell, Cronin, Keogh, Gill, and Pederson investigated the effect of peak velocity as instantaneous performance feedback on sport-specific performance tests. Thirteen well-trained professional rugby players were randomly assigned to one of two groups: feedback (n = 7) and non-feedback (n = 6). The pre and post sport-specific performance test indicators were vertical jump, horizontal jump, and 10/20/30m timed sprints. Over a 6-week training cycle, both groups trained 3 sessions per week, squat jumps were performed twice a week for 3 sets of 3 reps with a barbell and an absolute load of 40kg and this was the exercise tested. The feedback group (Group 1) was given real-time feedback on peak velocity of the squat jump after each repetition. The non-feedback group (Group 2) was not given any feedback. Results indicated that the pre and post test results were statistically significant in the horizontal jump (p = 0.01) and 30m sprint (p = 0.0008) performance tests. Practical significance was found in all of the performance tests, meaning the inclusion of live performance feedback can benefit and improve sports-specific performance tests over the course of a 6-week training period.

Randell, A. D., Cronin, J. B., Keogh, J. W. L., Gill, N. D., & Pedersen, M. C. (2011). Effect of instantaneous performance feedback during 6 weeks of velocity-based resistance training on sport-specific performance tests. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 25(1), 87–93.

STUDY 2

Velocity Loss as an Indicator of Neuromuscular Fatigue during Resistance Training.

Sanchez-Medina and Gonzalez-Badillo researched both the mechanical (velocity loss and countermovement jump height loss) and metabolic (lactate, ammonia) response to resistance exercise protocols consisting of variable sets and repetitions. Over the course of 21 different exercise sessions separated by 48-72 hours, eighteen strength-trained males were separated into either Bench Press (n =10) or Squat (n = 8) and performed three different protocols. 1) A one repetition maximum (1RM) test with a Linear Position Transducer (LPT) to help determine the load-velocity profile. 2) Tests of maximal number of repetitions to failure under various loads. 3) 15 Reps broken into various set and rep schemes with five minute interset rests. Blood lactate and ammonia were measured both before and after exercise. The researchers found that both the mean repetition velocity loss after three sets and the loss of velocity pre and post exercise were significant for all groups and highly correlated to each other (r = 0.91 – 0.97). Also found was the velocity loss was significantly greater for the bench press group than for the squat group. The velocity loss for both groups was found to be highly correlated to postexercise lactate (r = 0.93 – 0.97). Ammonia showed a curvilinear response to the loss of velocity. Based on the results, the researchers concluded that the high correlations between mechanical (velocity loss and countermovement jump height loss) and metabolic (lactate, ammonia) fatigue indicators supported the validity of using velocity loss to quantify neuromuscular fatigue while resistance training.

Sánchez-Medina, L., & González-Badillo, J. J. (2011). Velocity loss as an indicator of neuromuscular fatigue during resistance training. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

STUDY 3

Comparison of Velocity-Based and Traditional Percentage-Based Loading Methods on Maximal Strength and Power Adaptations.

Reseachers Dorrell, Smith, and Gee recruited sixteen trained men to determine the effects of velocity based training (VBT) on maximal strength and jump height. The subjects completed a countermovement jump test (CMJ) along with a one repetition maximum (1RM) assessment for back squat, bench press, strict overhead press, and deadlift. The subjects were then assigned to either a percentage-based training (PBT) (n = 8) or velocity based training (VBT) (n = 8) group and trained for 6 weeks. The PBT group’s load was based on their 1RM data, the VBT group’s load was dictated via real-time velocity monitoring. Results indicated significant increases (p < 0.05) in maximal strength for back squat (VBT 9%, PBT 8%), bench press (VBT 8%, PBT 4%), strict overhead press (VBT 6%, PBT 6%), and deadlift (VBT 6%). The CMJ only found significant increases with the VBT group (5%). Overall the VBT group was found to have greater adaptations in maximal strength as compared to the PBT group. Moreover, the VBT group was found to have performed less total training volume as compared to the PBT group. Meaning monitoring fatigue while still achieving positive adaptations was made possible by using VBT protocols as opposed to PBT.

Dorrell, H. F., Smith, M. F., & Gee, T. I. (2019). Comparison of Velocity-Based and Traditional Percentage-Based Loading Methods on Maximal Strength and Power Adaptations. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

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