Movement Velocity as a Measure of Loading Intensity in Resistance Training

J. J. Gonz á lez-Badillo , L. S á nchez-Medina

Purpose: This study examined the possibility of using movement velocity as an indicator of relative load in the bench press exercise.

Conclusions: These results confirm an inextricable relationship between relative load and mean propulsive velocity in the bench press that makes it possible to: 1) evaluate maximal strength without the need to perform a 1RM test, or test of maximum number of repetitions to failure; 2) determine the % 1RM that is being used as soon as the first repetition with any given load is performed; 3) prescribe and monitor training load according to velocity, instead of percentages of 1RM or repetitions to failure.

IN PLAIN ENGLISH: Assuming it was feasible to measure bar speed in a real-life situation (e.g., in the gym, with any participant and with dependable technology), one could determine strength, loads and movement speeds simply by the efforts expended when lifting. Bottom line relative to one’s 1-repetition maximum: heavier resistances move slower and lighter resistances move faster.