Will Ratelle

More thoughts on the issues of Velocity Based Training


Traits Mean Velocity

Absolute Strength < 0.5 m/s

Accelerative Strength 0.5-0.75 m/s

Strength Speed 0.75-1.0 m/s

Speed Strength 1.0-1.3 m/s

Starting Strength 1.3 m/s

This is nonsense. What does this really mean? What do these categories/traits really mean?

The laws of physics are what dictate movement.

Having a “deficiency” in one of these categories really doesn’t tell us anything. All of these categories are linked, they have to be.

Just because some in this field look at a force-velocity curve and claim that moving weights at certain speeds elicits a “speed-strength” adaptation that doesn’t mean it’s true. This is nonsense. This is just a form of heuristics.

Looking at the load-velocity profile of an individual does not tell us what he/she is lacking in order to be successful.

Does a load-velocity profile tell us anything? No.

We are assuming that training certain intensity zones and velocities drive specific adaptations in these made-up categories.


Strength-Speed, Speed-Strength, Optimal Power etc. does not exist in sport. What exists is maximal force, rate of force, and angle of force. Sure there are other variables that contribute to the outcome of sporting actions like starting gradient, and acceleration gradient but these ultimately are byproducts of maximal force and rate of force.

Training in these made-up intensity zones helps us auto-regulate. They allow was to train hard, more frequently while limiting the amount of fatigue we experience. That’s about it.

They will not help us overcome some lacking quality that once we improve upon will help us jump higher, run faster, hit harder etc. Do you want to achieve those things? Improve maximal force production (lift heavy), rate of force development (sprint, lift and jump with as high intent as fast as possible), and angle of force application (become a more skillful jumper, runner, or hitter via practice).

If you were to really work on improving “strength-speed” over a significant period of time, do you think that quality would really manifest itself in sports? Probably not. I read an article on Elite FTS about how moving a weight in the “speed strength” zone is more conducive to a 200 meter sprint because it is faster than a heavier load. But that is still significantly slower that the speed that a runner will move on the track and it is also a very different movement involving different motor patterns, synchronization of motor units etc. Its just a dumb comparison.


All of these categories are just outputs. It is probably better to think about improving our outputs that thinking we are lacking in and then expanding on the contexts in which we can produce those outputs.


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