Student Scholarship

Decline in Unintentional Lifting Velocity Is Both Load and Exercise Specific

Document Type

Research Paper


When monitoring the mean concentric velocity (MCV) for velocity-based resistance training, often a threshold in the decline in the MCV is used to regulate the number of repetitions performed. However, it is not clear if the decline in the MCV is affected by the type of exercise or the relative load used. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare the decline in the MCV between the overhead press (OHP) and deadlift (DL) during sets to fatigue at different loads. Thirty individuals (23 ± 3 years) with current training experience with both the OHP and DL completed a 1 repetition maximum (1RM) protocol for the OHP and DL. Subjects then returned to the laboratory on 2 separate occasions and completed 1 set of the OHP and DL to volitional fatigue at either 70 or 90% of their 1RM in a randomized order. The open barbell system measured the MCV of all repetitions. The absolute and relative (%) decline in the MCV was calculated for each condition and compared between loads (70 vs. 90% 1RM) and between lifts (OHP vs. DL). An alpha level of 0.05 was used at the criterion for statistical significance. The absolute decline in the MCV was greatest for the 70% OHP condition (0.36 ± 0.12 m·s−1) followed by 90% OHP (0.19 ± 0.10 m·s−1), 70% DL (0.16 ± 0.08 m·s−1), and 90% DL (0.09 ± 0.06 m·s−1); all were significantly different from one another (p < 0.05) except for 70% DL vs. 90% OHP (p = 0.441). There was a greater relative decline in the MCV for the OHP compared with the DL (50.1 ± 11.8% vs. 28.5 ± 11.8%; p < 0.001) and for 70% 1RM compared with 90% 1RM (44.5 ± 12.0% vs. 34.1 ± 12.0%; p < 0.001). These data suggest the decline in the MCV is both exercise and load specific. Applying a uniform velocity decline threshold for velocity-based training may reduce training volume to different extents depending on the exercise and relative load used.

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Faculty Sponsor

Paul Huffman