• Philip Green

Change of velocity in the weight room

When athletic recruits come to Minot State for visits, they will likely encounter a form of strength and conditioning style that is unusual and unfamiliar. Since taking over the Minot State athletic training program, head strength coach Caleb Heilman has taken a new approach to athletic training.

The most common and traditional style of training for athletes in a weight room involves trying to lift as much weight as possible, as often as possible. That isn’t the case here at Minot State. Heilman has introduced a new form of training known as velocity-based training.

“Velocity-based training operates under the premise that power is, in fact, force times velocity,” Heilman explained. “So in power-based sports such as football, basketball, or baseball, it makes sense that we train to move loads at as high of a velocity as possible in order to develop power in our athletes.”

A major difference between this new style of training is the consistent and immediate feedback. In more traditional lifting methods, feedback is usually done through one-rep maxes every few weeks to see if the athlete was able to lift more weight and show improvement.

“Velocity-based training provides athletes with consistent feedback regarding the speed at which they are moving a load,” Heilman said. “This allows human performance professionals to attenuate the loads being utilized in the weight room to ensure that their athletes are training in ranges that are most conducive to power development.”

Velocity-based training can be tracked several ways. Here at Minot State, it is done through accelerometers. According to Heilman, accelerometers can come in the form of a sleeve that attaches to a barbell or in a canister that uses a string attachment to a barbell or other implement. They also connect to tablets via Bluetooth to provide feedback to the athlete and coach.

Assistant strength coach and graduate assistant Brody Myers is studying the velocity-based training at MSU and displaying it in his capstone project in order to illustrate how effective this new form of training is for college athletes.

“The goal of my project is to show the difference between a training program that has immediate feedback and one that does not,” Myers explained.

Myers has engaged 16 MSU football players to help display the positive effects of velocity-based training. Myers will test the players’ athleticism through 40-yard dash times and vertical and broad jump scores. After testing, the players will be split in half to train. Myers will track the results of training one group with velocity-based training and the other with traditional training.

Myers hopes his project will show how effective velocity-based training is and outline how important it will be for the athletic department to obtain more accelerometers. Minot State currently has two accelerometers in the weight room which makes it difficult to give every athlete an opportunity to use them and benefit from them.

“If my hypothesis is proven to be true, then this could be something that we look at as a viable training option for all athletes, and increase the number of velocity-based training systems that we have in our weight room so that every athlete has a chance to improve their athleticism while here at Minot State,” Myers said.

Minot State isn’t the only college athletic program taking this approach towards strength and conditioning. Louisiana State University also implements velocity-based training and is coming off their recent national championship win and one of the greatest statistical seasons in college football history.

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