posted on September 7, 2023
Hello My Max Effort Friends,
Have you heard of the force velocity curve? Would you like to be strong, fast and powerful? If that is a big 10/4 buddy in agreeance then take a walk with me up & down the force velocity curve to pack knowledge into that big brain. Learning about the force velocity curve can help us understand how to develop specific adaptations and make certain training decisions to elevate our training.
The force velocity curve is an inverse relationship between Force (Force=mass x acceleration) and Velocity (Velocity= Distance/Time). So a relationship of moving something very heavy or very fast. For example if we look at the top of the curve at maximal strength that would be a powerlifting moving a 1 rep max, a very heavy load/intensity with a slower velocity/speed. That is unless you are Curt and move all maximal effort exercises fast. When we drop to the bottom of the curve and look at the speed section of the curve we can use the exercise of sprinting. Sprinting with no external load (added weight/sled) is a very low resistance exercise and you are moving as fast as possible, so low force and very high velocity.
The force velocity curve has 5 points on the graph ; maximal strength, strength- speed, power, speed-strength & speed. These points are along the Y & X axis of the graph, the force and velocity, respectively.
With maximal strength, this can be your 1RM or anything above your 90% of a lift, some may know this as a max effort training style. These are those very high force and lower velocity exercises.
As we move the lift a bit faster and drop below our 90% max effort phase, we enter the strength-speed territory of the curve. Strength-speed is in that 4-6 rep ranger and about 80% of your 1RM. With these loads you’ll still have a high force but the velocity will be faster than your maximal strength.
Smack dab in the middle of the curve we have our power portion. Power is a wide range of anything between around 30-80% of your 1RM. In this range you’ll see more olympic lifts and their variations around this point as well as loaded jump squats.
As we push more towards velocity we’ll creep into speed-strength and some Westsiders may know this as dynamic effort or athletes call this explosive strength. We could see sets of 8×3 at 50%, focusing on moving the bar as quickly as possible through the entire range of motion.
Finally we have speed, here we see maximum velocity with very low resistance. For example, throwing, jumping and sprinting would all be in this category.
So how can this benefit you? In training we want to program so you start with general training in the offseason to more specific training the closer you get to competition/ season. For example a powerlifter in the offseason should train in those power, speed-strength and speed points on the graph to drive new adaptations that could assist in the overall work capacity and general fitness of the lifter. Doing so could push that part of the curve up and to the right. As said lifter gets closer to the season/competition at that point we can get back to the strength-speed and maximal strength points to get more sport specific training, again pushing the curve up and to the right.
I hope you picked something up from this blog and give the force velocity curve a go.
Stay strong, stay speedy and stay powerful my friends.