Day 2, Part 1. Shanghai University of Sport Velocity Based Training Workshop

After Nanning we went to the airport where I said goodbye to Naomi Li. I got a late plane to Shanghai, one of the worlds most populous cities (>24 million people).  More people live in this city than in all of Australia.   I had my 2-day Velocity Based Training workshop at the Shanghai University of Sport.  Zac Bo from Beijing Yanding Co. was there to meet me.  The university has a new mega-nice hotel directly opposite, which is where I stayed.  The 2-day workshop was on a weekend, a rare event in China, apparently, but many thanks to Dr. Gao from the uni for facilitating this.  My new interpreter was the lovely Milo Lee, who had contacted me earlier in the week to get a copy of the slides to prepare.  She is a great interpreter, as are all my interpreters (and all very lovely!).  They have levels of interpreters in China and she is at the highest level, which is a specialist level, for trades and professions.  For example, in every professions there is certain jargon, terms and words, which are quite specialist and the interpreter has to be familiar with these words and their meaning. So she interprets in Shanghai for various Sports Science and Training visitors.  She interpreted for Ian Jeffery previously and does a lovely impersonation of his voice...I am sure mine is added to that list now as well.  But she confided in me later that she was worried about interpreting for me as she saw some clips on the internet and she said she could barely understand me...Australian accent, speaking fast and lots of slang.  But I have worked with interpreters plenty of times before and my friend Craig Winnett, who speaks Spanish, once gave me some solid tips.  Speak slow and clear, 2 sentences at a time maximum.  Milo said it was really easy but how come on the internet she couldn't barely understand me?  When I speak to English, Irish, New Zealanders and Australians, I speak quicker, but when I speak to anyone else (eg. Americans or non-native English speakers) I slow down, I explained.  Anyway down to business.  The workshops were set up so that theory in the morning, 2-hour+ lunch break, practical in the arvo (there is some Aussie slang...arvo means afternoon).  So we started in the class-room, plenty of people, some Western S & C coaches who were working in Shanghai and so on.  So on this first morning, we went through the "theory" - basically numbers! What velocity scores equate to certain % of 1RM on different strength exercises and the concept of the Max Effort velocity, which is the velocity of a last rep in a set which is maximum effort is the same velocity as 1RM.  So the 3rd rep of 3RM or 5th of a 5RM are the same/similar to to an athletes 1RM velocity.  Therefore if you know there ME velocity is for key exercises, you know how hard any set is...how close to failure the sets is.  Examples will be detailed later in this series of Blogs.  Also went through velocities for power exercises like jumps, throws and Weightlifting exercises.  After establishing the "numbers" data, we looked at different set * rep combos, fatigue, muscle damage and hypertrophy signalling markers and all that type of stuff.  To in-depth to put into a BLOG - need to come to my workshops to fully understand it all.  Anyway then it was lunch at the uni cafeteria. Now time for practical.  We used a tiny gym inside the track building.  Basically everywhere I went in China, the running track had a gym(s) close by.  So there was a small weight room, poorly kept by Chinese standards, but free for us to use.  I saw this in other places...the T & F athletes do not look after their gyms or weight rooms like Weightlifters do or any of the other Chinese athletes do.  Not sure why their equipment falls into disrepair compared to the other athletes gyms...clearly they just don't care about the weights and barbells as much! Anyhow it was fine for our purposes and in actuality it was much like my old powerlifting club in size and dungeon-ness (but we looked after our equipment) so I was happy and felt at home.

Anyway, after lunch, we start the practical with CMJ/Jump squat testing.  I always recommend this simple and fun test over more complicated tests like RSI etc.  Put a dowel rod/PVC pipe on the back of your shoulders and do 5 jumps without pausing.  Rest 60-80 seconds and repeat.  Record your BEST PEAK VELOCITY.  Best rep only.  Normal untrained male is about 3.1 m/s, which is the same for a Younger trained female.  3.5 to 3.75 m/s means explosive, 3.75 to 4.0 m/s is very explosive and > 4.0 is very, very explosive.  Typical daily variance is 3-4%, so an athlete has a "normal zone" of scores.  If an athlete typically gets 3.5 m/s, then say 3.43 to 3.57 (2% each side) is their normal zone.  Another 1-2 % each side merely reflects the periodization of training ie. in a heavier load week or the following week, scores may be temporarily suppressed by a further 1-2%, so we may expect 3.35 or so, but during a taper, scores rebound and it may be 3.65 m/s.  S & C coaches need to understand that velocity scores also reflect your periodization of training...I go through all the numbers and the scientific references in the workshop.  

You can use this basic dowel rod/PVC pipe test for readiness or recovery monitoring, once or more times per week ~ do it at the end of the lifting warmup.  You can do 10 athletes in about 2-minutes with just two Push devices...or with one device, you can do about 5-6 in that time.

Obviously for jump squats as you add weight, velocity decreases. I actually prefer to use AVERAGE velocity once loads get heavier, say above 30% 1RM, when the goal is MAXIMAL POWER.  But some people prefer to use PEAK with those loads ~ no big deal as long as you understand the differences in scores.  I will go through this a bit more in the upcoming Post when i go through some Power Clean data from the Shanghai workshop.

Anyway, look at the Push generated graphs below, which I have screen shotted.  You can see both Peak and Average (Mean) velocity, if you want.  But for bodyweight jumps, PEAK velocity is the thing to look at.  But I have screen shotted some jump squats with 40, 60 and 80 kg that one of the younger, extremely enthusiastic S & C coaches from Shanghai did ~ Just using AVERAGE velocity for those.  IMO always jump with loads that allow at least 1.0 m/s AVERAGE velcoity when performing loaded jump squats ~ preferably between 1.5 to 1.1 m/s for you best reps.

Next installment will look at chin-ups...then power clean after that. Stay tuned in and feel free to share these BLOGS

With Dave Sutton, a British S & C Coach working in Shanghai, the beautiful and talented Milo Lee, myself and Zac Bo from Beijing Yanding Co. in front of the old Municipal Administration Building of Shanghai, now located within the Shanghai University of Sport campus.

With Dave Sutton, a British S & C Coach working in Shanghai, the beautiful and talented Milo Lee, myself and Zac Bo from Beijing Yanding Co. in front of the old Municipal Administration Building of Shanghai, now located within the Shanghai University of Sport campus.

The best peak velocity will almost always occur within 5-reps.  No need to do more. Inconsistent jumping technique is evident (trying different jumping strategies)

The best peak velocity will almost always occur within 5-reps.  No need to do more. Inconsistent jumping technique is evident (trying different jumping strategies)

PVC rod for CMJ testing.  I am flashing his scores on my IPad. Milo is translating.  Just do 5-reps mate!

PVC rod for CMJ testing.  I am flashing his scores on my IPad. Milo is translating.  Just do 5-reps mate!

We did the CMJ/Jump squat testing outside of the weight room, next to the beautiful indoor running track

We did the CMJ/Jump squat testing outside of the weight room, next to the beautiful indoor running track

Three different athletes/coaches, three different scores.  Very consistent jumping technique.

Three different athletes/coaches, three different scores.  Very consistent jumping technique.

Anyone who has read my research over the last 20+ years should know that I am a huge advocate of loaded jump squats for athletes.  As long as the loads allow Average velocities of around 1.4 or 1.5 m/s down to 1.0 or 1.1 m/s, you will get a great training effect.  It is just hard to use loads that equate to the lower velocities of 1.0 to 1.1 m/s as often, because the landings are hard.  Here 80 kg gets him 1.08 m/s ~ 80kg being 55% of his 145 kg squat 1RM.  Better to use 40-60 kg more often for this athlete (28-41% 1RM), IMO....or my main recommendation is to use 50% of your heaviest squat resistance in that week. So if he squatted 130 kg x 3-reps on one day of the week, his heaviest jump squats would be 65 kg during that week...but we would also do some lighter jump squats as well.  Train the whole spectrum!

Anyone who has read my research over the last 20+ years should know that I am a huge advocate of loaded jump squats for athletes.  As long as the loads allow Average velocities of around 1.4 or 1.5 m/s down to 1.0 or 1.1 m/s, you will get a great training effect.  It is just hard to use loads that equate to the lower velocities of 1.0 to 1.1 m/s as often, because the landings are hard.  Here 80 kg gets him 1.08 m/s ~ 80kg being 55% of his 145 kg squat 1RM.  Better to use 40-60 kg more often for this athlete (28-41% 1RM), IMO....or my main recommendation is to use 50% of your heaviest squat resistance in that week. So if he squatted 130 kg x 3-reps on one day of the week, his heaviest jump squats would be 65 kg during that week...but we would also do some lighter jump squats as well.  Train the whole spectrum!

Dan Baker