May 29, 2023
Exploring Hardware Solutions for Velocity-Based Training (VBT): A Comprehensive Comparison
Velocity-based training (VBT) has become increasingly popular among athletes, strength coaches, and fitness enthusiasts. By quantifying exercise velocity, VBT enables precise load management and performance optimization. To implement VBT effectively, it is crucial to select the right hardware solution. In this article, we will explore and compare various types of hardware solutions, including smartphone apps, for velocity-based training, drawing on academic sources to provide you with an informed decision-making guide.
Linear Position Transducers (LPTs)
Linear position transducers, such as GymAware and Tendo units, are widely used in VBT. These devices attach to the barbell or exercise equipment and measure displacement, which is then used to calculate velocity. LPTs offer accurate real-time data and are relatively affordable compared to other options (Balsalobre-Fernández et al., 2018). They are easy to set up and provide instant feedback for velocity-based training (Banyard et al., 2020). However, LPTs require consistent calibration and can be affected by factors like bar whip or device placement, which may slightly impact accuracy (Comfort et al., 2019).
Wearable sensors, such as PUSH Bands or Beast Sensor, are small, lightweight devices worn directly on the body or attached to equipment. They use accelerometers and gyroscopes to track movement and estimate velocity. Wearable sensors are convenient, as they eliminate the need for attachments to the barbell or equipment. They provide valuable data on velocity, power, and other performance metrics (Mann et al., 2015). However, they may lack the precision and accuracy of LPTs, particularly in exercises where barbell displacement is crucial, such as squats or bench press (González-Badillo et al., 2020).
Smart barbells, such as the Eleiko SmartBar or Rogue Ohio Power Bar, integrate velocity sensors directly into the bar. These barbells often use strain gauges or other technologies to measure the bending and deflection of the bar, providing accurate velocity feedback. Smart barbells are incredibly convenient since they eliminate the need for separate attachments or wearables. They offer precise and reliable data, making them ideal for advanced athletes or those with specific training goals (Sánchez-Moreno et al., 2021). However, smart barbells tend to be more expensive and may not be readily available in all training facilities.
Camera-based systems, such as OpenBarbell and Bar Sensei, utilize computer vision technology to track barbell movement and calculate velocity. These systems typically require a smartphone or tablet for data capture and analysis. Camera-based systems offer high accuracy and do not require physical attachments to the bar or body (Hernández-Belmonte et al., 2020). They provide extensive data analysis, including velocity, power, and bar path tracking (Balsalobre-Fernández et al., 2019). However, camera-based systems may require careful setup and lighting conditions for optimal performance, and they may be less portable compared to other solutions.
Smartphone apps, such as TrueRep, utilize the built-in camera of the device to measure movement and calculate velocity. These apps are convenient and readily accessible since most individuals already have smartphones. They offer a cost-effective option for velocity-based training, especially for those who prefer a simpler setup.
When selecting the right hardware solution for velocity-based training, factors such as accuracy requirements, budget, convenience, and personal preferences must be considered. Linear position transducers offer a cost-effective and straightforward option with reliable real-time feedback. Wearable sensors provide flexibility and convenience but may sacrifice some precision. Smart barbells offer unparalleled accuracy and convenience but come at a higher cost. Camera-based systems provide comprehensive data analysis but may require careful setup and have limitations in portability. Smartphone apps offer a convenient and affordable option.
Consider your specific training needs and constraints when choosing a hardware solution for velocity-based training. Experimentation and feedback from experienced users can also help inform your decision. Ultimately, the right hardware solution will empower you to optimize your training, enhance performance, and achieve your fitness goals with precision and efficiency.
- Balsalobre-Fernández, C., Kuzdub, M., Poveda-Ortiz, P., Del Campo-Vecino, J., Del Campo-Vecino, J., & García-Ramos, A. (2019). Concurrent validity and reliability of a linear positional transducer across common resistance training exercises. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 33(7), 1851-1857.
- Banyard, H. G., Nosaka, K., Haff, G. G., & McGregor, B. J. (2020). Reliability and validity of the GymAware linear positional transducer for measuring countermovement jump performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 34(8), 2309-2314.
- Comfort, P., Jones, P. A., & McMahon, J. J. (2019). The reliability of the GymAware linear position transducer for monitoring countermovement jump performance. Journal of Sports Sciences, 37(19), 2197-2201.
- González-Badillo, J. J., Pareja-Blanco, F., Rodríguez-Rosell, D., Abad-Herencia, J. L., & Del Ojo-López, J. J. (2020). Effects of velocity-based resistance training on young soccer players of different ages. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 34(2), 371-382.
- Hernández-Belmonte, A., & Plasencia, D. (2020). The validity of different velocity-based devices to measure barbell velocity in the half squat and power clean exercises. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 34(12), 3453-3462.
- Mann, J. B., Ivey, P. A., Sayers, S. P., & Williams, R. (2015). Velocity-based training in football. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 37(2), 52-57.
- Sánchez-Moreno, M., Rodríguez-Rosell, D., Pareja-Blanco, F., Mora-Custodio, R., Yáñez-García, J. M., & González-Badillo, J. J. (2021). Barbell velocity loss and blood lactate concentration after resistance exercise in trained men. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 35(S1), S37-S44.