Force-Velocity Curve and its Applications Pt. 3 - Strength-Speed


The next step on the force-velocity curve after maximum strength is strength-speed. Strength speed is a hybrid type area on the curve. Meaning that it blends the two variables that define the curve, force, and velocity. Strength- speed is the maximum amount of force an athlete can produce at a high rate of speed. This usually occurs with Olympic lifting variations at near maximal weights. To train this variable athletes can perform different variations of cleans, snatches, and jerks. Athletes can also perform basic compound lifts in the 70-80% range, however, this is usually not as effective as training with Olympic lifting variations when training for strength- speed. The higher end of this section of the curve would trend more towards accelerative strength, while the lower end of the section would trend towards maximal power. This is also a section of the curve where VBT could be introduced. VBT stands for velocity-based training, rather than lifting off certain percentages an athlete would use a device to track bar speed and lift based on the speed that the bar is moving. To train Strength- speed the athlete should be using a load that he or she can move from .6m/s to 1.0m/s of average bar velocity. Overall, Strength- speed is a vital section of the force-velocity curve to developing high-performance athletes. There are a few great methods for training this variable, and all should be considered to meet each athlete's needs.


Strength-speed comes into play quite often in sport. All the throwing events in track and field could be considered strength-speed sports. Additionally, offensive and defensive linemen in football need to have high strength-speed capacity. These are just a few examples of sports that need to have high strength-speed capacities. Even if a sport does not directly need high strength-speed capabilities, these athletes can also benefit from training strength-speed. For example, baseball is a speed-strength sport so training that variable would be very important. However, often it is not ideal for an athlete to jump straight from a maximal strength block to a speed-strength block. This is where a strength-speed block could be ideal for this athlete. The athlete coming out of the maximal strength block could use the strength-speed block to bridge the gap before going into a speed-strength block. However, Olympic lifts can be technical and tough to learn, or even dangerous to athlete health if they are not performed correctly. In this case, an athlete could perform bench, squats, and deadlifts. These lifts could be performed in the 70-80%, or in the .6m/s to 1.0m/s ranges. While the load is still relatively heavy the athlete should be focused on maximal bar velocity while still maintaining good form.

Conclusion In conclusion, strength- speed is a block on the force-velocity curve that cannot be overlooked when aiming to develop high-performance athletes. One could make the case that it is not as important as true maximal strength for athletes. A strength base is vital to all athlete's health and performance, but to take the next step and to optimize athletic performance a strength-speed block must be considered. If you feel that a strength-speed block so something that could help you reach your athletic potential, then Peak Performance can help! Please email us at with any inquiries, comments, or questions.

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