Purpose: Prescribing resistance training using velocity loss thresholds can enhance exercise quality by mitigating neuromuscular fatigue. As little is known regarding performance during these protocols, we aimed to assess the effects of 10%, 20%, and 30% velocity loss thresholds on kinetic, kinematic, and repetition characteristics in the free-weight back squat.
Methods: Using a randomized crossover design, 16 resistance-trained men were recruited to complete 5 sets of the barbell back squat. Lifting load corresponded to a mean concentric velocity (MV) of ∼0.70 m·s-1 (115  kg). Repetitions were performed until a 10%, 20%, or 30% MV loss was attained.
Results: Set MV and power output were substantially higher in the 10% protocol (0.66 m·s-1 and 1341 W, respectively), followed by the 20% (0.62 m·s-1 and 1246 W) and 30% protocols (0.59 m·s-1 and 1179 W). There were no substantial changes in MV (-0.01 to -0.02 m·s-1) or power output (-14 to -55 W) across the 5 sets for all protocols, and individual differences in these changes were typically trivial to small. Mean set repetitions were substantially higher in the 30% protocol (7.8), followed by the 20% (6.4) and 10% protocols (4.2). There were small to moderate reductions in repetitions across the 5 sets during all protocols (-39%, -31%, -19%, respectively), and individual differences in these changes were small to very large.
Conclusions: Velocity training prescription maintains kinetic and kinematic output across multiple sets of the back squat, with repetition ranges being highly variable. Our findings, therefore, challenge traditional resistance training paradigms (repetition based) and add support to a velocity-based approach.
Keywords: power; resistance training; velocity-based training.