Understanding the Force-Velocity Curve and How it Applies to SIP Training

Mar 24th, 2020

Category: Uncategorized

Understanding the Force-Velocity Curve and How it Applies to SIP Training

(Disclosure: The graph above is an amateurish attempt by the author to create a force-velocity curve in Google Sheets. Please don’t read into the numbers. It’s the very general slope of the curve that’s important.)

Many folks are upset, understandably, that they don’t have access to a heavy barbell, dumbbell, etc. during our current SIP lockdown. I’m the first to admit that training with barbells is not only an effective means for getting stronger, but it can be a lot of fun, too.

But don’t despair, this is where the force-velocity curve comes into play. A heavy barbell is going to be a great means for training peak force production–or strength, if we want to use a very general catch-all term in this case. But as humans seeking to develop well-rounded fitness and athleticism, we don’t want to stop with strength. We want to get the ultimate adaptation: power!

And power can be trained for in a variety of ways, as demonstrated by the graph above. For a simplified definition of terms on the graph, think weight/load/resistance for force on the Y-axis and think speed for velocity on the X-axis. As you can see on the graph, you can move a heavy weight in a (relatively) slow amount of time to create high-level power output. Think heavy deadlifts that take 5 seconds to lock out. You can move a medium weight in a (relatively) medium amount of time. Think power cleans. And finally, and this is where training during our SIP lockdown comes into play, you can move a (relatively) light weight, like your own bodyweight, at a very fast speed. Think sprints, hill sprints, max-height vertical jumps, and max-distance broad jumps, to name just a few.

When we look at sprints, vertical jumps, and horizontal jumps, not only do we have a potent means of training for power production, we have training modalities that require absolutely zero equipment, which is a huge bonus given the SIP lockdown. Another big benefit of these movements is that they are often neglected, since it’s so much more convenient to simply grab something heavy and throw it around. This is your opportunity to train with these tried-and-true methods and expose yourself to new stimuli.

One big word of caution, though: Just like when training with heavy weight, you need to take precautions when using these methods. You need to approach your warm-up, movement prep, nervous system ramp-up, and cool-down with as much diligence as you would when warming up and preparing for a heavy deadlift. These methods are potent, and thus require respect and care, or you can come out on the wrong end of the power adaptation we’re seeking. Also, if you’re dealing with any types of issues with hips, knees, back, etc., please check in with us before (literally) jumping into one of these modalities. They may not be appropriate for you.

As always, hit us up if you have questions or want more information.