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There are many ways strength and conditioning coaches can monitor athletes readiness or fatigue levels. Force plates and vertical jumps and grip strength measures for objective data. And subjective methods like daily questionnaires and rate of perceived exertion (RPE) scales. Tracking fatigue with VBT is a growing area of research too. Deviations from an individual’s baseline on any given day can dictate the need of the training load or volume for that day to fluctuate up or down.

The main reason to check athlete readiness in a weight room is to assess that fatigue and understand how a program may need to be altered to accommodate it. Knowing this we must take it upon ourselves to make sure we are prescribing the most accurate training load and volume we can to our athletes. That way we may decrease the incidence of overtraining or under training.



To follow up on our post of impacting on-field performance, we wanted to have this post focus on performance and assessment within the weight room. Velocity based training can help assess fatigue both in-sessions and by a separate assessment. There are two considerations for the best way to assess fatigue with VBT:


  1. Consistency is key! You will need to gather consistent data for each athlete to understand when they are ready to go, fatigued, or in danger of overtraining. The only way to do this is by tracking it consistently
  2. Jump squats are the quickest way to implement testing. Not only will you get real time feedback for how fatigued an athlete is, but this is stored in the cloud. In this way you can track longitudinal data to understand deviations from the baseline. And as a bonus you’ll get a quick explosive movement in pre-lift.


We recommend a dowel or barbell squat jump depending on the training age of the athlete. One attempt, three jumps, and then make your assessment and get to lifting.


Readiness assessments can also take place during the lift. If an athlete is consistently underperforming on their set velocity with a weight they typically can do, it is likely that they are fatigued and you can assess that during the lift in real time.


One of the biggest benefits of an objective data output is how quick and easy it is to understand athlete performance capabilities daily. Tracked over time, you get a really good understanding of readiness and fatigue, and can use that data in conjunction with on-field training plans to program effectively. In this way we can prevent overtraining and injury and continually improve athlete performance. This is true for both in the weight room and on the field of play.


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 . And more on our YouTube Page!



  1. Micklewright D, Gibson ASC, Gladwell V, Salman AA. “Development and Validity of the Rating-of-Fatigue Scale.” Sports Medicine. March 2017.
  2. Thorpe, R. T., Atkinson, G., Drust, B., & Gregson, W. (2017). Monitoring fatigue status in elite team-sport athletes: Implications for practice. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 12, 27–34.
  3. 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.
  4. 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, 43(9), 1725–1734.
  5. Spiteri, T., Nimphius, S., Wolski, A., & Bird, S. (2013). Monitoring neuromuscular fatigue in female basketball players across training and game performance. Journal of Australian Strength and Conditioning, 21(S2), 73–74.
  6. Flanagan2, M. J. & D. E. P., & 1Hammarby. (2015). RESEARCHED APPLICATIONS OF VELOCITY BASED STRENGTH TRAINING Mladen. Journal of Australian Strength and Conditioning, 23(7), 58–69.
  7. Thorpe, R. T., Atkinson, G., Drust, B., & Gregson, W. (2017). Monitoring fatigue status in elite team-sport athletes: Implications for practice. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 12, 27–34.
  8. Bourdon, P. C., Cardinale, M., Murray, A., Gastin, P., Kellmann, M., Varley, M. C., … Cable, N. T. (2017). Monitoring Athlete Training Loads : Consensus Statement Monitoring Athlete Training Loads : Consensus Statement. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 12(May), 161–170.
  9. Taylor, K., Chapman, D., Cronin, J., Newton, M., & Gill, N. (2012). Fatigue monitoring in high performance sport: a survey of current trends. J Aust Strength Cond, 20(1), 12–23


Coach Brandon Golden was a performance coach in baseball for many years. He formerly was an assistant strength coach at East Carolina University, then with the Dodgers organization in the MLB, and is now with Future Fit. Brandon learned about velocity based training while at St. John’s University and used baseball and VBT to dig deeper. Brandon’s introduction to velocity based training was via Tendo Units. He saw how easy assessing athletes and planning programs could be.
Brandon saw the immediate difference VBT made for his players. When Perch came onto the scene, Brandon dug deeper and realized how big of a difference passive data collection and stored analytics could make. Brandon saw his athletes increase in power and strength with immediate feedback on each rep. He can watch them get excited with instant results as they lifted, helping create an even more competitive atmosphere. Baseball and VBT go hand in hand, here is why!



Brandon tries to meet athletes where they are. He uses velocity as markers and understand if an athlete is deficient in a specific train. He will then train them through a cycle using desired velocity parameters for specific adaptations. Brandon assesses athlete efficiency at the end of each cycle at heavier loads in that velocity range to determine where to train his athletes next.

  • Easily build and maintain athlete profiles based off of VBT and Perch data. Immediate feedback enhances the individual session, while stored data enhances long term development.
  • Recovery is easy to track and maintain with athletes by using velocity ranges to see how much an athlete can handle. Coaches can then keep athletes healthy in season more easily.
  • Increase efficiency with instantaneous data and feedback from your VBT device. Coaches don’t have to wait to assess athlete lifts for the day. 


VBT in the weight room has created a new kind of buy-in with Brandon’s athletes. Athlete goals can be set, kept, and monitored over time for each individual. Each athlete sport and positional specific needs are taken into account with baseball and VBT. Moreover, training with VBT can help gamify the weight room even more, so athletes can push themselves both in the weight room and on the field of play. Brandon profiles each athlete to build a road map and track progress over time.

Velocity Based Training creates a competitive weight room atmosphere. Athletes will regularly try to one-up each other within their loads in specific velocity zones. The weight room atmosphere improvements wasn’t something Brandon even expected. But competitive by nature, athletes will do everything they can to out-perform each other, VBT facilitates that too!


Using velocity daily is like continuously checking a map. Athletes will tell you how they feel, how recovered they are, and where they need to go next with their bodies and with the objective data from VBT devices. Without velocity, we are guessing on loads.

Monitor readiness daily and you’ll learn a ton about fatigue and VBT alike. Brandon recommends assessing 70%RM for athletes daily to gauge performance.

Train deficiencies until they are efficiencies. Athletes can work on “areas of improvement” and literally see themselves get better with the objective data. With that, they’re bought into you and your program at once.



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VBT and On-Field Performance is exactly the pairing to focus on. There is no doubt that using velocity based training can make athletes stronger, faster and more powerful in the weight room. However, the most important thing is if these adaptations effect on-field performance.


So the question remains: can these changes impact on field performance and can velocity based training in the weight room help athletes improve their game? Can VBT and on-field performance go hand in hand?



A huge benefit to using VBT systems is the instantaneous feedback you get on every rep throughout a workout. A constant source of feedback can guide an athlete to perform at their most optimal level. 

For some context, a study by researchers Randell et al. compared VBT in the squat jump with feedback given and and not given and compared performances. Performance was compared in the vertical jump, horizontal jump, and 10/20/30 meter sprint. This took place pre and post six weeks of training. Thirteen professional rugby players underwent the protocol. After the six weeks, performance in the horizontal jump and the 30 meter sprint showed the most significant improvement with the probability of feedback being beneficial 83% and 99% respectively. The vertical jump, 10 and 20 meter sprints showed insignificant improvement, but improvement nonetheless.

Regardless, it was a great nod to the use of VBT and on-field performance to impact each other and improve with each other.



From a sports perspective, it is also valuable to get the most out of the weight room while also keeping the player’s readiness as high as possible. In a perfect world, coaches would like to make gains in the weight room and keep player stress down to be optimized for a game. Therefore, VBT and on-field performance can enhance each other.

To reference another study, Researchers Orange et al. compared percentage based in-season training against velocity based in-season training. They evaluated 27 Academy Rugby League players. Performance was compared in the back squat 1-rep max, counter movement jump, and 30 meter sprint. 

And for the results? After seven weeks of training, VBT yielded higher session mean velocity and mean power in the back squat while time under tension and perceived stress were lower compared to percentage based training. Countermovement jump height and one-rep max squat improved in both groups. Sprint performance decreased in both groups, however the researchers designated this decrease to not having sprint training in-season, as well as being later in the rugby season when fatigue is higher. Overall, the researcher’s deemed VBT to be beneficial in-season to improve lower body training stimuli. It also helps decrease training stress, and promotes velocity-specific adaptations.



The best way to keep your athletes powerful in the weight room and fresh on the playing field is to use the VBT advantage. Monitor your athlete’s stress, make gains when they matter the most and make sure you have the most optimized athletes on the field.



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 . And more on our YouTube Page!



  1. Orange, S. T., Metcalfe, J. W., Robinson, A., Applegarth, M. J., & Liefeith, A. (2019). Effects of in-season velocity- versus percentage-based training in academy rugby league players. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 1-8, 1–8.

  2. Randell, A. D., Cronin, J. B., Keogh, J. W., 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.

Movement quality has been a hot topic in the strength and conditioning field for years. The quality of movement has an effect on athletic ability and injury prevention. The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is the leading movement screen for athletes and the general population.


The FMS is able to quantify efficiency in different movement patterns to give the evaluator an idea of how well an individual moves and gives us insight to look at the body’s joints for dysfunction. It is another objective measure to help determine performance. Using another objective measurement device, we can determine if VBT and Movement Quality can work together to improve athlete performance. And if return to play protocols using VBT can help.



A major question around movement quality is if the body can provide maximal force when joints are not in alignment with their stable and mobile nature? If the knees and ankles are unstable in a squat, it’s like trying to shoot a cannon out of a canoe; The body is being asked to perform a stable task in an unstable environment.

This said, movement quality matters, especially when maximizing intent in the weight room. Coaches sometimes err away from VBT because when an athlete is challenged to move fast, form can slip. This is why we emphasize that VBT is a great tool to help provide objective guidance around loads, but coaches are still needed to coach. In this way, movement quality is retained. Therefore, VBT and movement quality can go hand in hand, the extent to which is up to the coach.



Returning to play after injury is an enormous field of research. Assessing movement quality subjectively and using VBT for objective data can alleviate guesswork in this process. A common injury across sports is anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears. Knee instability is commonly found post ACL surgery. Due to this, in return to play protocol it is common practice to evaluate individual limb differences with force output.

Researchers Ardern et al. found that after an ACL reconstruction surgery, only 63% of 5770 athletes were able to return to their pre-injury level of play. These individuals were evaluated using strength metrics but not power. In addition, Researchers Angelozzi et al. found that even when strength levels returned to normal post-ACL reconstruction, there were still significant deficits in rate of force development 6-months afterward. 



VBT devices can shed light on differentiation between lower body limbs. And Perch specifically is able to categorize unilateral movements and assign velocity and power metrics to right vs left limbs. Therefore, coaches can use these metrics to gain insight into individual leg differences in force development. 

For example: using a single leg jump protocol, Perch can measure the velocity of a single leg vertical jump. Additionally, we know the less force put into the ground, the lower the velocity of the bar. From this we can then get an idea as to unilateral differences in stability and rate of force development. This insight into athlete movement and rate of force development could prove invaluable when making programming decisions for our athletes. In turn, this can help them return to play safely and functionally.



Could movement screening paired with velocity screening provide us the looking glass we need to spot deficits in athlete rate of force development? Bridging the gap between movement quality and accurate analysis of force production could be the next best way to keep our athletes safer and stronger on and off the field.



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  1. Ardern, C. L., Webster, K. E., Taylor, N. F., & Feller, J. A. (2011). Return to sport following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction surgery: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the state of play. British journal of sports medicine, 45(7), 596–606.

  2. Angelozzi, M., Madama, M., Corsica, C., Calvisi, V., Properzi, G., McCaw, S. T., & Cacchio, A. (2012). Rate of force development as an adjunctive outcome measure for return-to-sport decisions after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. The Journal of orthopaedic and sports physical therapy, 42(9), 772–780.

Determining an athlete’s 1RM is an important part of developing a training program. A 1RM can help coaches program appropriate loads through training cycles. They can then retest the athlete’s 1RM to determine if the athlete got stronger. With new technology, it is possible to accurately predict athlete 1RMs. This allows coaches to assess athletes within lifting sessions and saves time otherwise reserved for testing days. There are multiple ways to do this, but this is our favorite.



Traditionally, the maximum load an athlete can lift without failure has been determined just like that: the athlete performs an exercise with progressively heavier loads at maximal effort until they no longer can. This poses 3 primary concerns:

  1. Time: Coaches testing all athletes on the team takes time. Each athlete must keep lifting increasingly heavy weights until they no longer can. While there is something to be said for the energy in the weight room, this requires coaches to set aside valuable training days to test performance, instead of assessing while training.
  2. Injury Risk: As athletes try to go beyond their 1RM their risk of poor form and injury has been shown to increase, particularly in novice or untrained athletes [1].
  3. Fluctuations: A 1RM can change by up to ±18% day to day due to stressors, fatigue, lack of sleep, or a really good day. The percentage fluctuations are usually much less than that, the fluctuations can still be significant in the grand scheme. Additionally, an athlete should be getting stronger throughout the workout program so any prescribed weights based on the 1RM measured at the beginning of the program are no longer accurate. Prescribing a workout based on the initial 1RM will not account for daily fluctuations or strength gains, potentially leading to under or over training [1].


Just testing a thing or two here.



VBT offers a solution to all of these concerns. An estimated 1RM can be calculated quickly and easily over the course of warm up sets. These MUST be done with maximal intent for this to be an accurate number. Research by Mladen Jovanovic and Dr. Eamonn P. Flanagan determined a simple linear model that can predict 1RM from lighter loads: 

  Load = m(Velocity) + b

In this equation, velocity is equal to the mean velocity for the set at the prescribed load, and m and b are the slope and y-intercept. Using this, an athlete can perform a few warm up sets at their maximum velocity and use the mean velocity output by Perch to solve [1]. This can be done easily with a little bit of algebra, or by using a graphing software. It is also forthcoming into Perch software. To determine the 1RM, plug in the expected velocity for the 1RM, and solve. Voila – an estimated 1RM!



If an athlete’s 1RM velocity is unknown, there are two options:

  1. Perform a set below the 1RM to failure using Perch. One of the many cool things about VBT is that the minimal velocity threshold (MVT) for a given exercise is pretty standard regardless of load [1]. This means that the velocity of the last rep before failure at any load is a good predictor of the velocity of a rep at the 1RM. 
  2. Use the generally accepted MVT for an exercise. For a bench press, the average MVT is 0.15 m/s and for a back squat the accepted velocity is 0.3m/s [1]. Obviously, these are averages and fluctuations between athletes are expected.


Jovanovic and Flanagan’s formula is a good estimate of 1RM. It is also easy to employ in the weightroom each day to tailor an athlete’s program to their 1RM on that particular day. It can account for increases in strength or an athlete having an awesome day, or stressors that are causing an athlete to not be at their peak for a particular session. 

That said, it is never a bad idea to perform a true measure of 1RM from time to time. Do this by one of two ways:

  1. An athlete lifts a lighter load until failure, measuring velocity, and using a 1RM predictor. OR
  2. An athlete lifts heavier loads until they no longer can [1].

Doing both will help check the accuracy of the formula and make sure athletes are getting what they need out of the training program [1]. Lastly and still incredibly important, testing 1RM can be a fun and competitive training environment to enhance team camaraderie and maximal performances!


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 . And more on our YouTube Page!


  1. Jovanovic M, Flanagan EP. Research Applications of Velocity Based Strength Training. Journal of Australian Strength and Conditioning. 2014;21(1):58-69. 
  2. Baechle, T., Earle, R., & National Strength & Conditioning Association (U.S.). (2008). Essentials of strength training and conditioning (3rd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Here at Perch, we talk a lot about lifting heavy things fast. That is because power relies equally on force generation and velocity. Power equals force x velocity: P=F*V. Developing power in athletes can be confusing, in this power we try to break it down into digestible bites.


Power is also arguably the best single measure of an athlete’s overall performance. Lifting heavy loads is only half the equation, just like lifting quickly is also only half the equation. To be a powerful athlete, both the force and velocity components must be developed.




Developing an athlete’s power output across a wide range of loads will help translate weight room sessions to sport specific performance. Research suggests that training at the load that maximizes power output is the most efficient way to develop power at a wide range of loads [1,2]. That said, you must also learn how to recruit muscle fibers with max strength and accelerative-strength/hypertrophy zones and traits. And recruit them quickly with starting strength and speed-strength zones and traits as well. 




Velocity based training devices like Perch can help guide training within your maximal power zone to optimize protocols for you specifically. Remember, the peak power zones span across speed-strength and strength-speed in VBT. This is approximately 0.75 to 1 m/s for strength-speed, and 1 to 1.3 m/s for speed-strength. Maximal power output lives in that zone!

  1. Monitoring: Perch can help determine load with max power output! You will know in watts what your maximal power output is by using Perch and monitoring data over time. This will guide the velocities and loads at which you are most powerful, and what is optimal for you to train at.
  2. Base Loads off of Adaptations: Loads do not have to be based on percent of RM. We know this, but still worth stating. If your loads are based on velocity ranges and specific adaptations you are better off. This will help inform your maximal power outputs instead of just load lifted.
  3. Sport Specific Traits: Understanding the needs analysis of the sport will help you develop power specific to those needs. If an athlete needs a ton of strength, err towards those zones and traits. If they need more speed, err towards those. This is the art of coaching!
  4. Live in Power Zones for Power Development: As stated above, speed-strength (0.75 to 1 m/s) and strength-speed (1 to 1.3 m/s) is where you want to live for maximal power output. To develop power, however, you will want to work across all loads and velocity thresholds. You have to be strong and be able to recruit muscle fibers, but you also have to be fast and recruit them quickly. Working on developing those specific adaptations within their zones will help elicit power.
  5. Maximize Intent: Above all – always lift with maximal intent! Max intent is necessary to be making those neural connections so power can continue to increase. If maximal intent is used, rate of force development across all loads will be optimized. In this way, progress begets progress.

Most of sport is centered around power, as is most athleticism. If you do not know when you are training power, it is hard to optimize training protocols for it. VBT devices can take the guesswork out of your training. With more precise protocols, training is never wasted, and never guessed. We can maximize sessions with exact knowledge via VBT devices like Perch. Train for power, and know when you are doing so!

developing power


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  1. Kawamori, N., & Haff, G. G. (2004). The Optimal Training Load for the Development of Muscular Power. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 18(3), 675.<675:totlft>;2
  2. Moss, B. M., Refsnes, P. E., Abildgaard, A., Nicolaysen, K., & Jensen, J. (1997). Effects of maximal effort strength training with different loads on dynamic strength, cross-sectional area, load-power and load-velocity relationships. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 75(3), 193–199.
  3. Suchomel, T. J., Comfort, P., & Lake, J. P. (2017). Enhancing the Force-Velocity Profile of Athletes Using Weightlifting Derivatives. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 39(1), 10–20. 

What goes up, must come down! This is true in gravity and in weightlifting. However, it is not always controlled outside of the weight room. Because of this, eccentric training is critical for athlete and force development. Eccentric training is the lengthening muscle action. It is arguably the most important part of a muscular contraction to indicate resilience to injury and overall max strength.


Eccentric training protocols are focused at the count in seconds that are spent loading the muscle. For instance, in the squat, continuously descending for 5 seconds before standing up. 




Eccentric overload in training increases muscle hypertrophy, strength, and power. A researcher named Erling Asmussen first introduced eccentric training in 1953 as “excentric” training. This has been popularized in recent years. Training protocols such as Triphasic Training and Cal Dietz, and even French Contrast training, for instance. The eccentric portion of a lift slows down the lengthening of the muscle for a greater challence. Therefore, this helps lead to faster muscle repair, injury prevention, and greater muscle growth.



A strong foundation of strength is important for force development. Above all, eccentric training can help increase overall strength. Researchers Higbie et al., studied concentric and eccentric training of the quadriceps muscle on strength, cross-sectional area and neural activation. They found that eccentric training increased strength in the eccentric muscle action to a larger degree than the concentric training. In other words, there was more efficiency in gaining strength while training eccentric than concentric. 

They also saw greater increases in hypertrophy from the eccentric training group than the concentric training group. Similarly, this means overall strength increases when focusing on the eccentric phase. However, it is hard to manage what you cannot measure, so Perch made it easy to measure eccentric metrics.




With velocity based training, we want to see increases in power output. Researchers Douglas et al., did a systematic review of 40 studies. These studies researched the chronic effects of eccentric training. They found that eccentric training improves concentric muscle power. Eccentric training also improves the stretch shortening cycle performance. This was true with eccentric more than other training modalities. In addition, more effects of eccentric training in this review were muscle hypertrophy and strength.


However, the problem with eccentric training is if athletes hit their eccentric goals every rep. It is difficult to monitor every athlete in a weight room as they train eccentrically. With Perch, every rep eccentric load count and velocity will be recorded and stored. This ensures athletes get the desired adaptation from training. Ultimately, with better strategies to monitor training loads, athletes will continue to get bigger, stronger, and more powerful. This is true as both their seasons and training career progresses. In conclusion, train eccentrically, measure it, manage it!



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  1. Douglas, J., Pearson, S., Ross, A., & McGuigan, M. (2017). Chronic adaptations to eccentric training: a systematic review. Sports Medicine, 47(5), 917.
  2. Higbie, E. J., Cureton, K. J., Warren, G. L. 3rd, & Prior, B. M. (1996). Effects of concentric and eccentric training on muscle strength, cross-sectional area, and neural activation. Journal of Applied Physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), 81(5), 2173–81.

Weight room technology and all the data that is derived from it can be daunting to set up and to sift through. This can cause paralysis by analysis. Coaching time is valuable and limited so it is best to limit the amount of energy and time spent on setting up and evaluating velocity based training (VBT).


We have a few ways that can help you not get bogged down by velocity based training. In this post, we will go step by step to shed some light on simplifying the data collection process. Check out some ideas for avoiding paralysis by analysis with weight room technology here:



Keeping setup and tear down of equipment minimal will only help streamline your program when it comes to velocity based training. Some traditional methods of applying VBT are a little bit more involved than they ought to be.

There are three main methods to measure bar speed: linear position transducers (LPTs), wearables or accelerometers, and camera based systems. The problem with most linear position transducers (LPT) is that they have to be placed in just the right place in order to get an accurate reading. That position then changes depending on the exercise performed. Changing the position of LPTs in a weight room setting can be a laborious task even with a large staff.

Using devices that only need to be installed once, or are on the user themselves makes it a lot easier to get moving. But accelerometers can also be cumbersome if every user needs one, or every barbell needs one. There is much greater room for error or missing reps if athletes aren’t compliant. And often athletes don’t want to wear yet another device.

Camera based systems, like Perch, stay mounted on your weight rack. There is no need to change the position of the unit, ever. With Perch, the camera is on a motor and can adjust positions as you adjust exercises. This means more time for coaches to focus on coaching and less on equipment set up and no take down at all (unless you want to).

setup, data analysis, paralysis by analysis



Collecting data is great, but unless you are managing it, it is hard to make great use of it. There are still many VBT devices that have no way of exporting training session data out of the unit and storing them for coaches. Coaches have to monitor the velocities during the session and try to record the ones they see. Otherwise coaches can rely on athletes to record it, but compliance is not always 100%. This eats up precious time that could be spent coaching athletes.

Cloud based systems are ideal for managing data. With Perch, you can send all training session data to the cloud for storage. The cloud will store unlimited data for unlimited users. Coaches can then view or export the data to monitor trends longitudinally. This not only is great to have for current training sessions, but also for looking back to previous sessions to see improvement.



Coaches know that making sense of many athletes training data after a session can take a long time. In order to streamline this, the process must be integrated. Choosing a VBT device that has the capability to take the training data from sessions, store it, and make it easy to understand and manipulate is pivotal. This makes evaluating and presenting the relevant data much easier than ever before. Perch can provides some in app visualizations of workload metrics for your athletes, but it also can export every data point associated with a training session. Picking a VBT device that can do this will make data collection and analysis incredible easy. And will help you avoid paralysis by analysis.

Often, the shear quantity of data can seem daunting as well. VBT is still somewhat new, so understanding velocity zones and some basic principles of programming with VBT can be helpful to start. But then simply collecting data, combining it with subjective data points (“how are you feeling today”) will help illustrate how helpful VBT can be. Just getting started can clarify a ton of mystery around data.

data analysis, paralysis by analysis



Ultimately, weight room technology should work for coaches, not the other way around. Technology needs to be seamlessly integrated to be utilized most effectively. It needs to provide relevant data, not excess noise. And it needs to make that data easy to manipulate and visualize.

We always recommend evaluating different technology to find the best solution for you. With all this said, Perch is always here to help! We have specialists on staff to help you if you have a question, or are completely lost in the process. Check out our contact page for more information, and never hesitate to reach out!


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For as long as resistance training has been around, intuition has said that athletes need to lift until failure to see strength improvements. But what if that didn’t have to be the case? Enter: Velocity Drop Programming.


Research shows that velocity loss, or velocity drop, programming can result in equal or greater strength gains than performing a set to failure [4, 1, 2]. This holds true despite the decrease in reps and reported fatigue.


In this post we’ll explain what velocity loss programming is, the science behind it, and how devices like Perch can be used to implement.


Velocity drop programming is simple. Programming a set based on a velocity loss threshold instead of a specific number of reps (or reps until failure). The athlete will record the mean velocity of their first rep, which is generally the fastest, and then perform reps until the velocity drops a specific percentage [1, 3]. 

If Perch shows an athlete’s mean velocity on rep 1 was 1 m/s, and a 20% velocity drop is prescribed, the athlete will perform maximal effort reps until the mean velocity drops below 0.8 m/s.


Velocity drop is an objective, non-invasive measure of fatigue levels. This makes it a great way to monitor an athlete throughout a session and account for daily fluctuations [3]. A study completed in 2011 found a nearly perfect correlation between mean propulsive velocity loss and increase in lactate levels, a known chemical measure of fatigue [3]. This correlation was present for both bench press and squat [3].

The difference in these two fatigue indicators is huge: Measuring lactate levels requires analyzing a small amount of blood drawn from a fingertip in a lactate analyzer before and after a set [3]. Measuring velocity loss simply requires looking at the data displayed instantly on Perch’s tablet.

As an athlete fatigues, their muscle fibers’ ability to generate force declines [3]. This leads to unintentional decreases in all of force, velocity, and power. If fatigue reaches a certain point, measured metabolically through lactate and ammonia levels, recovery time can become unnecessarily long [3, 1]. With velocity drop programming, fatigue levels and recovery time can be reduced. This is done through programming sets with low or moderate velocity loss. This will not reduce strength gains. Therefore, continuing to safely and efficiently progress an athlete without negatively impacting performance.


The proper velocity loss threshold for each exercise is still being determined, but two things that seem certain are that it depends on the desired training outcome and the exercise [4, 1, 3]. 

Larger velocity loss thresholds (about 30%-40%) will be closer to performing a set to failure and will result in greater muscle hypertrophy. This also may result in reduced velocity [4, 2]. Smaller velocity loss thresholds (about 10%-25%) results in greater strength and power, and less perceived fatigue [4, 1]. Velocity loss thresholds around 10% are most beneficial when competitions are close. This is when developing muscular power is the goal, or in sports that require greater kinematic outputs, such as throwing events [4].

These thresholds can also change based on the exercise. For example, a bench press has a lower minimum velocity than a squat, so the velocity loss threshold should be set to a greater percentage for a bench press [4].



A 2016 study found that a 20% velocity loss threshold training program resulted in similar squat strength gains and greater countermovement jump height improvements as an identical program that was performed with a 40% velocity loss threshold [1]. Overall, the 20% velocity loss threshold group performed nearly 40% less repetitions and 36% less “work” than the 40% velocity loss group, but saw similar or better results [1]. Basically, the group that did less improved more.

The research was further supported by a 2017 study. Researchers found that professional soccer players that trained with a 15% velocity loss program saw similar improvement in squat strength and endurance performance, along with greater improvements in countermovement jump height, than a group of players that trained with a 30% velocity loss program [2]. 

The two studies suggest that at worst, velocity loss programming with lower velocity loss thresholds results in similar strength gains with less work. At best, improvements are greater despite significantly less repetitions and fatigue.


Perch is a great tool for implementing velocity loss programming! With a few simple steps and a Perch unit, it can be added to any program: 

  1. Using the information above, pick a velocity loss threshold
    • You can set velocity thresholds in the tablet app settings for each lift
    • If you choose to display these and use different colors for fast vs slow reps, you will get visual feedback rep after rep
  2. Perform one rep and look at the average velocity instantly output on the Perch tablet
  3. Perform reps until the velocity falls below the threshold

Have questions? Feel free to reach out!


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 .


  1. Pareja-Blanco F, Rodríguez-Rosell D, Sánchez-Medina L, et al. Effects of velocity loss during resistance training on athletic performance, strength gains and muscle adaptations. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. 2016;27(7):724-735. doi:10.1111/sms.12678
  2. Pareja-Blanco F, Sánchez-Medina L, Suárez-Arrones L, González-Badillo JJ. Effects of Velocity Loss During Resistance Training on Performance in Professional Soccer Players. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. 2017;12(4):512-519. doi:10.1123/ijspp.2016-0170
  3. SÁNCHEZ-MEDINA LUIS, GONZÁLEZ-BADILLO JUANJOSÉ. Velocity Loss as an Indicator of Neuromuscular Fatigue during Resistance Training. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2011;43(9):1725-1734. doi:10.1249/mss.0b013e318213f880
  4. Weakley J, McLaren S, Ramirez-Lopez C, et al. Application of velocity loss thresholds during free-weight resistance training: Responses and reproducibility of perceptual, metabolic, and neuromuscular outcomes. Journal of Sports Sciences. 2019;38(5):477-485. doi:10.1080/02640414.2019.1706831

We’ve previously written about muscular anatomy and how muscles work to contract to perform a lift, but that still leaves a question unanswered. How do muscles actually grow and how do they adapt to make you stronger? And how does muscle growth and VBT interact?


To begin to explain this, there are 2 basic ways to get stronger: neural adaptations and muscular hypertrophy. 


Neural adaptations are responsible for the majority of strength gains at the beginning of a training program. It is also responsible for many of the changes seen with fast velocity training [5]. Neural adaptations are also responsible for some increases in force at slow and fast velocities [4]. 

The functional unit responsible for sending signals from a motor neuron to the muscle is called a motor unit. Each muscle has several motor units that can send a signal to all the muscle fibers it’s attached to. This signal instructs the muscle to contract. The more motor units recruited, the stronger the muscle contraction will be [4].

An untrained muscle won’t be able to activate all of a muscle’s motor units [2-3]. This is where training comes in, teaching your brain how to purposefully activate more motor neurons. This results in the recruitment of more motor units, and a stronger muscle contraction [1-3]. Training also teaches motor neurons to fire together and at a faster rate [1, 3]. When each motor neuron and subsequent motor unit fires in sync, the muscle is able to produce a stronger contraction.

Different muscle groups rely on firing rate and recruitment to different extents. Research has shown that smaller muscle groups like the muscles of the hand rely almost entirely on increasing firing rate to develop more force. Bigger muscles like the biceps and quadriceps use recruitment to increase force, while firing rate stays consistent until very high loads [2].

In a traditional percentage based program, these neural adaptations are the initial adaptations occurring with lighter loads of about 15-40% 1RM. Muscle growth and VBT corresponds to velocities greater than 1.3 m/s. 


Studies have begun to show fast velocity movements can cause motor units to defy the size principle [2]. The size principle states that smaller motor units are recruited before bigger ones. However, typically smaller motor units produce slower and weaker twitches. Defying the size principle allows muscles to go straight to the fast and strong big motor units, where powerful movements occur quicker.




The size principle tells us that neural adaptations also occur at slower velocities with high loads, the most sure way to teach the brain how to activate all motor units [4]. As loads increase to the 40-60% 1RM range and velocity decreases to about 0.75-1.3m/s, neural adaptations continue to teach motor units to fire more effectively. At this more effective stage, muscle hypertrophy occurs.

In a typical PBT, this range is where power develops – in VBT this range is broken down into the “Speed-Strength” and “Strength-Speed.” The combination of neural adaptations and hypertrophy helps move the entire force-velocity profile to the right, the resulting in a balanced, increased power production.


Hypertrophy is the physical growth of muscle cells by developing thicker and more numerous myosin filaments. The increase in filament size and number leads to greater force and power [3]. Hypertrophy typically occurs at slower velocities with high loads closer to an athlete’s 1RM [2, 4, 5]. This is why the trait commonly known as “hypertrophy” in traditional percentage based training is trained at “Accelerative Strength” or at speeds between .5 and .75 m/s. VBT programs like Perch make it easy to find these velocity ranges.

When lifting a load greater than what the body is used to, the sarcolemma and the myofibrils in the muscle fibers are damaged [5]. In the next 24-48 hours, the damaged muscle fibers are repaired and hypertrophy can occur. To repair the damaged muscle fibers, protein synthesis must be greater than the rate of protein depletion [1, 5]. If this is not the case, the muscles can be destroyed rather than grow. This is why rest and diet are so important after a workout in addition to ensuring each training session accounts for stress and fatigue for each athlete [5].

The increased number and thickness of myofibrils leads to hypertrophy, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that the size of the muscle or limb is larger. Research shows that the density of myosin filament can increase as much as 50% before any increase in limb girth occurs. In a recent study, after training there was no increase in limb girth, but there was a 40% increase in strength due to the increased density, force per area, and potentially neural adaptations as mentioned above [3].

Hypertrophy takes much longer to occur than neural adaptations. This is why most strength gains at the beginning of a training program can be attributed to increased motor unit recruitment or firing rate, regardless of velocity and load [1]. Once hypertrophy occurs, it is responsible for the majority of force generation improvements. It will also be trained through a combination of increased load and velocities, to maximize force production.


Much is still unknown about how muscles adapt physically to different loads and velocities. Existing research suggests that pairing fast velocity movements with slower, heavier load movements can lead to the greatest strength and power improvements [6].

Incorporating both slow and fast maximal effort resistance training into a program can help muscle fibers convert from slower type I oxidative fibers to the stronger and faster type II muscle fibers [3, 6]. This combination helps athletes achieve increased velocity for muscle shortening and increased muscle fiber strength, ultimately improving power and moves the force-velocity curve to the right [3, 6].

Measuring this throughout training will help to achieve these strength and power goals. At faster velocities, and consequently lighter loads, most strength gains will be due to neural adaptations. Closer to a 1RM, most improvements will be due to hypertrophy, or muscle growth. In the middle velocities, there will be a combination of neural adaptations and muscle hypertrophy. Muscle growth and VBT are inseparable as VBT allows for the tracking of neural adaptations leading to hypertrophy, and Perch can help coaches and athletes program workouts at proper velocities to see strength development occur at the neurological and hypertrophic levels.


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 .


  1. Andrews MAW. How does exercise make your muscles stronger? Scientific American.,to%20the%20stress%20of%20training.&text=Because%20there%20are%20more%20potential,muscle%20can%20exhibit%20greater%20strength. Published October 27, 2003. Accessed May 19, 2021.
  2. Behm DG, Sale DG. Velocity Specificity of Resistance Training. Sports Medicine. 1993;15(6):374-388. doi:10.2165/00007256-199315060-00003
  3. Jones DA, Rutherford OM, Parker DF. PHYSIOLOGICAL CHANGES IN SKELETAL MUSCLE AS A RESULT OF STRENGTH TRAINING. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Physiology. 1989;74(3):233-256. doi:10.1113/expphysiol.1989.sp003268
  4. Kawamori N, Haff GG. The Optimal Training Load for the Development of Muscular Power. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2004;18(3):675-684. doi:10.1519/00124278-200408000-00051
  5. Leyva J. How Do Muscles Grow? The Science of Muscle Growth. BuiltLean. Published December 31, 2020. Accessed May 19, 2021.
  6. Wilson JM, Loenneke JP, Jo E, Wilson GJ, Zourdos MC, Kim J-S. The Effects of Endurance, Strength, and Power Training on Muscle Fiber Type Shifting. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2012;26(6):1724-1729. doi:10.1519/jsc.0b013e318234eb6f 
  7. Baechle, T., Earle, R., & National Strength & Conditioning Association (U.S.). (2008). Essentials of strength training and conditioning (3rd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.