CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Sports Med Int Open 2017; 01(02): E80-E88
DOI: 10.1055/s-0043-102933
Training & Testing
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Estimation of Relative Load From Bar Velocity in the Full Back Squat Exercise

Luis Sánchez-Medina
1   Instituto Navarro de Deporte y Juventud (INDJ), Studies, Research and Sports Medicine Centre, Pamplona, Spain
Jesús G. Pallarés
2   University of Murcia, Human Performance and Sports Science Laboratory, Murcia, Spain
Carlos E. Pérez
3   University of Murcia, Sports Medicine Centre, Murcia, Spain
Ricardo Morán-Navarro
2   University of Murcia, Human Performance and Sports Science Laboratory, Murcia, Spain
Juan José González-Badillo
4   Pablo de Olavide University, Faculty of Sport, Seville, Spain
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

received 01 December 2016
revised 19 January 2017

accepted 25 January 2017

Publication Date:
28 March 2017 (online)


The use of bar velocity to estimate relative load in the back squat exercise was examined. 80 strength-trained men performed a progressive loading test to determine their one-repetition maximum (1RM) and load-velocity relationship. Mean (MV), mean propulsive (MPV) and peak (PV) velocity measures of the concentric phase were analyzed. Both MV and MPV showed a very close relationship to %1RM (R2=0.96), whereas a weaker association (R2=0.79) and larger SEE (0.14 vs. 0.06 m·s−1) were found for PV. Prediction equations to estimate load from velocity were obtained. When dividing the sample into 3 groups of different relative strength (1RM/body mass), no differences were found between groups for the MPV attained against each %1RM. MV attained with the 1RM was 0.32±0.03 m·s−1. The propulsive phase accounted for ~82% of concentric duration at 40% 1RM, and progressively increased until reaching 100% at 1RM. Provided that repetitions are performed at maximal intended velocity, a good estimation of load (%1RM) can be obtained from mean velocity as soon as the first repetition is completed. This finding provides an alternative to the often demanding, time-consuming and interfering 1RM or nRM tests and allows implementing a velocity-based resistance training approach.

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