A metronome for controlling the mean velocity during the bench press exercise

J Strength Cond Res. 2009 May;23(3):926-31. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181a0752d.


Lifting velocity may have a great impact on strength training-induced adaptations. The purpose of this study was to validate a method including a metronome and a measurement tape as inexpensive tools for the estimation of mean lifting velocity during the bench press exercise. Fifteen subjects participated in this study. After determining their one repetition maximum (1RM) load, we estimated the maximum metronome rhythm (R) that each subject could maintain in the concentric phase for loads of 40 and 60% of 1RM. To estimate R, the 3 repetitions with highest concentric power, as measured by means of a linear encoder, were selected, and their average duration was calculated and converted to lifting rhythm in beats per minute (bpm) for each subject. The range of motion was measured using a regular tape and kept constant during all exercises. Subjects were instructed to begin with the barbell at arm lengths and lower it in correspondence with the metronome beep. They subsequently performed 5 repetitions at 3 different rhythms relative to R (50, 70, and 90% R) for each training load (40 and 60% of 1RM). A linear encoder was attached to the bar and used as a criterion to measure the vertical displacement over time. For each rhythm, the mean velocity was calculated with the metronome (time) and the reference distance and compared with that recorded by the linear encoder. The SEM for velocity between both testing methods ranged from 0.02 to 0.05 m.s (coefficient of variation, 4.0-6.4%; Pearson's correlation, 0.8-0.95). The present results showed that the use of a metronome and a measurement tape may be a valid method to estimate the mean velocity of execution during the bench press exercise. This simple method could help coaches and athletes achieve their strength training goals, which are partly determined by lifting velocity.

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Upper Extremity / physiology*
  • Weight Lifting / physiology*
  • Young Adult