As a coaching group, the Kabuki Strength team are asked, “[What are the] Top accessories or technique for building 1RM strength for squat, for bench, and for deadlifts” on our Instagram Q & A. Obviously; the answer is predictable, “It depends. Without jumping onboard our remote coaching service, where we see and assess videos of your lifts, we won’t know and be able to give you a reliable answer”.
I commonly get questions like this:
“Should I increase my carbs to help with my performance”
“What do you think of the keto diet”
“I’m eating 190g of protein per day, is that too much”
In every example listed above the thing that’s missing is context. Without enough context I have no way of knowing what any of these people should do. It’s like going to the mechanic and saying “My car isn’t working, should I change the spark plug”? Without a proper needs analysis the mechanic will have no way of knowing what the issue is, and therefore any suggestion they make will be purely based on speculation.
If you train hard enough (or not hard enough I suppose) for long enough you will eventually run into a period where progress stalls and improvements to your lifts become much more difficult to realize. Sometimes plateaus last for a few training blocks but, its very easy to let a few blocks slip by and before you know it you are running up on a year or more of minimal progress.
Over the past decade, the idea that you can fluidly manage training loads based on defined scales has gone from a distant idea to being adopted as a critical tool that many lifters use every day in their training. Some coaches even base entire training philosophies on this concept. That’s not to say the formalization of autoregulation was the beginning of its application. Since man began training for sport or towards desired physical outcomes we have been managing how heavy, or how hard we push at any given time mostly based by feel. Not since the creation of specified scales have we began to put a name to it. But as with formally attaching a name to this idea, everything must evolve. This article is going to expand on the idea of autoregulating training load from its first use in medicine, into current trends in fitness, and to velocity and objective regulators. This article isn’t intended to overload you with information, but rather provide detailed instructions on how to implement each specific method into your training immediately.
Velocity Based Training (VBT) is one method of auto-regulating training. It can auto-regulate load on the bar, number of reps within a set, total number of sets, any combination of those three, or any other relevant factor in training. It is beyond the scope of this article to make the case for VBT. It’s hard to make a case for VBT when you haven’t first established that the methods used to gauge velocity are valid and/or accurate. VBT has been a training methodology put forth in power athletes and team sports. It has gotten significantly less attention for strength athletes like powerlifting. Other coaches can more appropriately talk on the matter for strength and conditioning outside of powerlifting, and people like Bryan Mann, Carl Valle, Dan Baker, Eamonn Flannigan, and Mladen Jovanovic already have. On the powerlifting side of the house, the volume of writing and academic work is limited to Louis Simmons of Westside Barbell, Brandon Senn of Kabuki Strength, Mladen Jovanovic of Complementary Training, and I guess you could also argue that Mike Tuscherer of Reactive Training Systems as well – although it’s more appropriate to say Mike uses velocity as a reference point, not a driver of training.
Reese Hoffa is the owner of the Hoffa Throws Academy, an elite training facility located in Watkinsville GA. He is a 3-time Olympian, 2-time World Champion, and spent an unprecedented 10 straight years ranked in the top 3 in the world.