Movement velocity in resistance training

Sports Med. 2003;33(6):427-38. doi: 10.2165/00007256-200333060-00004.


Guidelines for resistance training include the number of exercises, sets, repetitions, and frequency of training, but only vaguely mention movement velocity. Nevertheless, different velocities imply different performances, i.e. a different number of repetitions or different loads. Studies investigating the effect of different movement velocities on resistance training have not reached a consensus. Some studies indicate specificity in strength gains while others indicate generality. Some indicate slow training to be better, others indicate fast training, and still others indicate no differences. Most of these studies were conducted on isokinetic or hydraulic equipment. Very few used isotonic equipment for training, and their results seem to tend towards generality and no differences in gains of strength between velocities. Defining the training velocity is mostly important for athletic performances where a wide range of velocities is needed and transfer of gains would greatly optimise training. At the other end of the spectrum, there are the most frail and elderly, to whom power loss may impair even daily functions, but training with fast velocities might increase injury risk and, therefore, transfer of gains from slow training would be greatly beneficial. Movement velocity for resistance training with isotonic equipment needs to be further investigated so that recommendations may be made.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Sports Equipment
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Weight Lifting / physiology*