Preprint / Version 1

Effects of Velocity-Based Training vs. Alternative Resistance Training on Changes in Strength, Power and Sprint Speed

A Systematic Review, Meta-Analysis and Quality of Evidence Appraisal


  • Sam Orange Newcastle University
  • Adam Hritz Newcastle University
  • Liam Pearson Northumbria University
  • Owen Jeffries Newcastle University
  • Thomas Jones Northumbria University
  • James Steele Solent University



Resistance training, velocity-based training, muscle strength, muscle power, sprint speed, systematic review


Background: Velocity-based training (VBT) may be an effective method for monitoring resistance training load because it accounts for daily changes in an individual’s physical performance capabilities. However, the current evidence comparing VBT to alternative resistance training methods is dominated by small individual studies reporting mixed results. A systematic review is required to increase precision, explore heterogeneity, and inform directions for future research.

Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of regulating resistance training based on objective velocity feedback, compared to alternative resistance training methods that do not use velocity feedback (such as percentage of one repetition maximum, rating of perceived exertion, or repetitions in reserve), on changes in muscle strength, power, and sprint speed.

Data sources: Systematic searches of PubMed, Embase, SportDiscus, CINAHL, Cochrane Central,, ISRCTN, and SportRxiv, and citation searching until June 2021.

Study eligibility criteria: Eligible studies included randomised trials that assessed muscle strength, power, or sprint speed in healthy participants before and after a VBT intervention and an alternative resistance training intervention lasting at least four weeks.

Appraisal and synthesis: Standardised mean differences (SMDs) were pooled using a random effects model with a multi-level structure. Risk of bias was assessed with the Risk of Bias 2 (RoB 2) tool and the quality of evidence was evaluated using the Grading of Recommendation, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) approach.

Results: Four trials met the eligibility criteria, comprising 27 effect estimates and 88 participants. The main analyses showed trivial differences and imprecise interval estimates for effects on muscle strength (SMD 0.06, 95% CI -0.51 to 0.64; I2 = 42.9%; 10 effects from 4 studies; low quality evidence), power (SMD 0.11, 95% CI -0.28 to 0.49; I2 = 13.5%; 10 effects from 3 studies; low quality evidence), and sprint speed (SMD -0.10, 95% -0.72 to 0.53; I2 = 30.0%; 7 effects from 2 studies; very low quality evidence). The results were robust to various sensitivity analyses.

Conclusion: The current evidence does not support the use of objective velocity feedback over alternative methods of regulating resistance training load to elicit improvements in muscle strength, power, or sprint speed. Further well-designed trials with larger samples are required to increase the precision of the effect estimates and overall quality of evidence.

Registration: The    review    was    preregistered    on    the    Open    Science    Framework ( 


Metrics Loading ...


Orange ST, Madden LA, Vince RV (2020) Resistance training leads to large improvements in strength and moderate improvements in physical function in adults who are overweight or obese: a systematic review. J Physiother 66:214–224.

Folland JP, Williams AG (2007) The adaptations to strength training : morphological and neurological contributions to increased strength. Sports Med 37:145–168.

Suchomel TJ, Nimphius S, Stone MH (2016) The Importance of Muscular Strength in Athletic Performance. Sports Med 46:1419–1449.

Ryan D, Lewin C, Forsythe S, McCall A (2018) Developing World-Class Soccer Players: An Example of the Academy Physical Development Program From an English Premier League Team. Strength & Conditioning Journal 40:2–11.

Reid M, Schneiker K (2008) Strength and conditioning in tennis: current research and practice. J Sci Med Sport 11:248–256.

Orange ST, Marshall P, Madden LA, Vince RV (2019) Can sit-to-stand muscle power explain the ability to perform functional tasks in adults with severe obesity? J Sports Sci 37:1227–1234.

Li R, Xia J, Zhang XI, et al (2018) Associations of Muscle Mass and Strength with All-Cause Mortality among US Older Adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc 50:458–467.

Bull FC, Al-Ansari SS, Biddle S, et al (2020) World Health Organization 2020 guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Br J Sports Med 54:1451–1462.

Lopez P, Radaelli R, Taaffe DR, et al (2021) Resistance Training Load Effects on Muscle Hypertrophy and Strength Gain: Systematic Review and Network Meta-analysis. Med Sci Sports Exerc 53:1206–1216.

Speranza MJA, Gabbett TJ, Johnston RD, Sheppard JM (2016) Effect of Strength and Power Training on Tackling Ability in Semiprofessional Rugby League Players. J Strength Cond Res 30:336–343.

Peterson MD, Rhea MR, Sen A, Gordon PM (2010) Resistance Exercise for Muscular Strength in Older Adults: A Meta-Analysis. Ageing Res Rev 9:226–237.

Lesinski M, Prieske O, Granacher U (2016) Effects and dose–response relationships of resistance training on physical performance in youth athletes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Sports Med 50:781–795.

Thiele D, Prieske O, Lesinski M, Granacher U (2020) Effects of Equal Volume Heavy-Resistance Strength Training Versus Strength Endurance Training on Physical Fitness and Sport-Specific Performance in Young Elite Female Rowers. Front Physiol 11:888.

Comfort P, Haigh A, Matthews MJ (2012) Are changes in maximal squat strength during preseason training reflected in changes in sprint performance in rugby league players? J Strength Cond Res 26:772–776.

Scott BR, Duthie GM, Thornton HR, Dascombe BJ (2016) Training Monitoring for Resistance Exercise: Theory and Applications. Sports Med 46:687–698.

Lopes Dos Santos M, Uftring M, Stahl CA, et al (2020) Stress in Academic and Athletic Performance in Collegiate Athletes: A Narrative Review of Sources and Monitoring Strategies. Front Sports Act Living 2:42.

Dankel SJ, Counts BR, Barnett BE, et al (2017) Muscle adaptations following 21 consecutive days of strength test familiarization compared with traditional training. Muscle Nerve 56:307–314.

Richens B, Cleather DJ (2014) The relationship between the number of repetitions performed at given intensities is different in endurance and strength trained athletes. Biol Sport 31:157–161.

Greig L, Stephens Hemingway BH, Aspe RR, et al (2020) Autoregulation in Resistance Training: Addressing the Inconsistencies. Sports Med 50:1873–1887.

Helms ER, Cronin J, Storey A, Zourdos MC (2016) Application of the Repetitions in Reserve-Based Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale for Resistance Training. Strength Cond J 38:42–49.

Day ML, McGuigan MR, Brice G, Foster C (2004) Monitoring exercise intensity during resistance training using the session RPE scale. J Strength Cond Res 18:353–358.

Halperin I, Malleron T, Har-Nir I, et al (2021) Accuracy in predicting repetitions to task failure in resistance exercise: a scoping review and exploratory meta-analysis. Sports Med.

Orange ST, Metcalfe JW, Robinson A, et al (2019) Effects of In-Season Velocity- Versus Percentage-Based Training in Academy Rugby League Players. Int J Sports Physiol Perform 1–8.

Balsalobre-Fernández C, Torres-Ronda L (2021) The Implementation of Velocity-Based Training Paradigm for Team Sports: Framework, Technologies, Practical Recommendations and Challenges. Sports (Basel) 9:47.

Weakley J, Mann B, Banyard H, et al Velocity-based training: From theory to application. Strength & Conditioning Journal 43:31–49. 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000560

Sánchez-Medina L, Pallarés JG, Pérez CE, et al (2017) Estimation of Relative Load From Bar Velocity in the Full Back Squat Exercise. Sports Med Int Open 1:E80–E88.

Orange ST, Metcalfe JW, Marshall P, et al (2020) Test-Retest Reliability of a Commercial Linear Position Transducer (GymAware PowerTool) to Measure Velocity and Power in the Back Squat and Bench Press. J Strength Cond Res 34:728–737.

Sánchez-Medina L, González-Badillo JJ (2011) Velocity loss as an indicator of neuromuscular fatigue during resistance training. Med Sci Sports Exerc 43:1725–1734.

Moore J, Dorrell H (2020) Guidelines and Resources for Prescribing Load using Velocity Based Training. International Journal of Strength and Conditioning 1:.

Jiménez-Reyes P, Castaño-Zambudio A, Cuadrado-Peñafiel V, et al (2021) Differences between adjusted vs. non-adjusted loads in velocity-based training: consequences for strength training control and programming. PeerJ 9:e10942.

Held S, Hecksteden A, Meyer T, Donath L (2021) Improved Strength and Recovery After Velocity-Based Training: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Int J Sports Physiol Perform 1–9.

Orange ST, Steele J, Jeffries O, et al (2021) Protocol registration: Effects of velocity-based training vs. alternative resistance training on adaptations in maximal strength, power and sprint speed: a systematic review and meta-analysis. OSF.

Page MJ, McKenzie J, Bossuyt P, et al (2020) The PRISMA 2020 statement: an updated guideline for reporting systematic reviews

Cochrane (2021) Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions version 6.2 (updated February 2021)

McKenzie J, Brennan SE, Ryan RE, et al Chapter 3: Defining the criteria for including studies and how they will be grouped for the synthesis. In: Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions

Higgins JPT, Eldridge SM, Li T (2021) Chapter 23: Including variants on randomized trials. In: Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions version 6.2 (updated February 2021)

Ivey FM, Tracy BL, Lemmer JT, et al (2000) Effects of strength training and detraining on muscle quality: age and gender comparisons. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 55:B152-157; discussion B158-159.

Higgins JPT, Savovic J, Page MJ, et al (2019) Chapter 8: Assessing risk of bias in a randomized trial. In: Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions, 6th ed. Cochrane, London, UK

Egger M, Davey Smith G, Schneider M, Minder C (1997) Bias in meta-analysis detected by a simple, graphical test. BMJ 315:629–634.

Guyatt GH, Oxman AD, Vist GE, et al (2008) GRADE: an emerging consensus on rating quality of evidence and strength of recommendations. BMJ 336:924–926.

Schünemann HJ, Higgins JPT, Vist GE, et al (2019) Chapter 14: Completing ‘Summary of findings’ tables and grading the certainty of the evidence. In: Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. Cochrane, London, UK

Guyatt G, Oxman AD, Sultan S, et al (2013) GRADE guidelines: 11. Making an overall rating of confidence in effect estimates for a single outcome and for all outcomes. J Clin Epidemiol 66:151–157.

Morris SB (2007) Estimating Effect Sizes From Pretest-Posttest-Control Group Designs - Scott B. Morris, 2008. 11:364–386.

Cohen J (1988) Statistical Power Analysis for the Behavioral Sciences. Routledge Academic, New York, NY

McGraw K O, Wong S P A common language effect size statistic. Psychological Bulletin 111:361–365.

Higgins JPT, Li Tianjing, Deeks JJ (2021) Chapter 6: Choosing effect measures and computing estimates of effect. In: Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions version 6.2 (updated February 2021), 6th ed. Cochrane, London, UK

Rosenthal R (1993) Meta-analytic procedures for social research. Sage Publications, Newbury Park, CA

Orange ST, Hicks KM, Saxton JM (2021) Effectiveness of diet and physical activity interventions amongst adults attending colorectal and breast cancer screening: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Cancer Causes Control 32:13–26.

Orange ST, Jordan AR, Saxton JM (2020) The serological responses to acute exercise in humans reduce cancer cell growth in vitro: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Physiological Reports 8:e14635.

IntHout J, Ioannidis JPA, Borm GF (2014) The Hartung-Knapp-Sidik-Jonkman method for random effects meta-analysis is straightforward and considerably outperforms the standard DerSimonian-Laird method. BMC Med Res Methodol 14:25.

Van den Noortgate W, López-López JA, Marín-Martínez F, Sánchez-Meca J (2013) Three-level meta-analysis of dependent effect sizes. Behav Res Methods 45:576–594.

Deeks JJ, Higgins JPT, Altman DG (2021) Chapter 10: Analysing data and undertaking meta-analyses. In: Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions version 6.2 (updated February 2021). Cochrane, London, UK

Viechtbauer W, Cheung MW-L (2010) Outlier and influence diagnostics for meta-analysis. Res Synth Methods 1:112–125.

Orange ST, Jones T, Jeffries O, et al (2021) Project: Effects of velocity-based training vs. alternative resistance training on adaptations in maximal strength, power and sprint speed: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Open Science Framework.

Dorrell HF, Smith MF, Gee TI (2020) Comparison of Velocity-Based and Traditional Percentage-Based Loading Methods on Maximal Strength and Power Adaptations. J Strength Cond Res 34:46–53.

Kilgallon MJ, Johnston MJ, Kilduff LP, Watsford ML (2021) A Comparison of Training With a Velocity Loss Threshold or to Repetition Failure on Upper-Body Strength Development in Professional Australian Footballers. Int J Sports Physiol Perform 1–6.

Banyard HG, Tufano JJ, Weakley JJS, et al (2020) Superior Changes in Jump, Sprint, and Change-of-Direction Performance but Not Maximal Strength Following 6 Weeks of Velocity-Based Training Compared With 1-Repetition-Maximum Percentage-Based Training. Int J Sports Physiol Perform 16:232–242.

Shattock K, Tee JC (2020) Autoregulation in Resistance Training: A Comparison of Subjective Versus Objective Methods. J Strength Cond Res.

Nascimento MA do, Ribeiro AS, Padilha C de S, et al (2017) Reliability and smallest worthwhile difference in 1RM tests according to previous resistance training experience in young women. Biol Sport 34:279–285.

Banyard HG, Tufano JJ, Delgado J, et al (2019) Comparison of the Effects of Velocity-Based Training Methods and Traditional 1RM-Percent-Based Training Prescription on Acute Kinetic and Kinematic Variables. Int J Sports Physiol Perform 14:246–255.

Pousson M, Amiridis IG, Cometti G, Van Hoecke J (1999) Velocity-specific training in elbow flexors. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 80:367–372.

Balshaw TG, Massey GJ, Maden-Wilkinson TM, et al (2016) Training-specific functional, neural, and hypertrophic adaptations to explosive- vs. sustained-contraction strength training. J Appl Physiol (1985) 120:1364–1373.

Almåsbakk B, Hoff J (1996) Coordination, the determinant of velocity specificity? J Appl Physiol (1985) 81:2046–2052.

Pareja-Blanco F, Rodríguez-Rosell D, Sánchez-Medina L, et al (2017) Effects of velocity loss during resistance training on athletic performance, strength gains and muscle adaptations. Scand J Med Sci Sports 27:724–735.

Schoenfeld BJ, Contreras B, Krieger J, et al (2019) Resistance Training Volume Enhances Muscle Hypertrophy but Not Strength in Trained Men. Med Sci Sports Exerc 51:94–103.

Bartolomei S, Sadres E, Church DD, et al (2017) Comparison of the recovery response from high-intensity and high-volume resistance exercise in trained men. Eur J Appl Physiol 117:1287–1298.

Steele J, Fisher J, Giessing J, et al (2021) Long-term time-course of strength adaptation to minimal dose resistance training: Retrospective longitudinal growth modelling of a large cohort through training records.

Harrer M, Cuijpers P, Furukawa T A, Ebert D D (2021) Chapter 14: Power Analysis. In: Doing Meta-Analysis with R: A Hands-On Guide. Chapmann & Hall/CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL and London

Kang M, Ragan BG, Park J-H (2008) Issues in Outcomes Research: An Overview of Randomization Techniques for Clinical Trials. J Athl Train 43:215–221

Hecksteden A, Faude O, Meyer T, Donath L (2018) How to Construct, Conduct and Analyze an Exercise Training Study? Front Physiol 9:1007.

Krleža-Jerić K, Lemmens T (2009) 7th Revision of the Declaration of Helsinki: Good News for the Transparency of Clinical Trials. Croat Med J 50:105–110.

DeAngelis CD, Drazen JM, Frizelle FA, et al (2004) Clinical trial registration: a statement from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. JAMA 292:1363–1364.

Lefebvre C, Glanville J, Briscoe S, et al Chapter 4: Searching for and selecting studies. In: Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions version 6.2 (updated February 2021)