Establishing Intent with Objective Feedback - By John Wagle


Strength and Conditioning (S&C) coaches find barbell mean and peak velocity collection intriguing. They see the potential benefit on athlete monitoring, training theory, load determination, fatigue management, etc. In order to apply velocity assessment strategies to an athlete’s benefit, the coach does not need to be an expert in all things in kinematics or statistics. At the end of the day, coaches in the field need immediately useful applications.


Fortunately, velocity assessment has an effective use right out of the gate. Technology has been developed and validated without requiring an extensive scientific background for a wireless operation (Sato et al., 2015). Inertia sensors like the PUSH band provide a high level of practicality and ease-of-use, with the most effective applications of such devices possibly the simplest.

What S&C coaches need to realize, is that while they are searching for the Holy Grail, they are potentially missing out on the importance of intent. Luckily for the S&C community, they have an evidence-driven safeguard inherently in place while collecting data for advanced analytics in the form of the objective feedback display. Even better, it appears that this aspect of devices like the PUSH band is making a bigger impact than coaches realize.


Objective feedback enhances skill acquisition from a motor learning perspective, especially regarding force and power development (Randell et al., 2011). From the force end of the spectrum (which also affects power, remember), knee extensor moments increased upwards of 7.2% when visual feedback was provided (Kellis & Baltzopoulos, 1996).

It is worth noting that both experimental groups, one of fast and one of slow movement velocity, improved force outputs when feedback was displayed (Kellis & Baltzopoulos, 1996). Absolute movement velocity is a valuable training variable, but ensuring intent matters a great deal regarding strength adaptation. Maximal strength is the foundational performance enhancer, associated with improvements in motor unit activation patterns and higher rates of force development (Aagaard et al., 2002; Behm & Sale, 1993).

Once a strength foundation has been established, graduation to higher movement velocities can begin, but intent can never be de-emphasized. Providing objective feedback logically encourages the intent necessary to achieve higher absolute velocities. Training-induced adaptations to power output appear to be velocity-specific, meaning that adaptations are maximized at the velocity achieved in training (Behm & Sale, 1993).

With the ultimate goal of transferring training effects to competition, higher absolute velocities allow the athlete to train at power outputs more closely resembling sporting demands (Kanehisa, & Miyashita, 1983; Moffroid et al., 1970).


In his influential paper, Banister (1979) highlighted the importance of effort in the transfer of training effect. In fact, an exponential increase in effort levels enhanced force outputs and performance. Training theory, whichever chosen, does not need to be reinvented due to technological advances, but can be augmented to benefit the coach in implementation and the athlete in adaptation. Training is a long term investment, and even small changes in intent can make a profound difference over the span of a program.

So coaches, understand that while you are exploring the vast applications of measuring and collecting barbell velocity, these devices are ready to be put into action to assist in getting athletes stronger and better prepared for the demands of competition.

About the Author

John is entering his first year as a PhD student at ETSU with a concentration in Sport Physiology. He received his M.S. in Exercise Science from Western Illinois University and completed his undergraduate work at Augustana College (IL), majoring in Physics and Business Management. He also holds two graduate degrees in business administration. Prior to the opportunity to join ETSU, John served as the Director of Sports Performance at DePaul University, working specifically with men’s basketball, women’s softball, and men’s tennis. In a previous role with DePaul, as the Assistant Director of Sports Performance, he added track and field and women’s soccer to his teams of service. Preceding these positions, John completed internships at Western Illinois University and DePaul University. Before entering the field, John was an All-American baseball player at Augustana College, and continued his playing career for two seasons of minor league baseball. John’s interests include training theory for speed development, applied biomechanics, and athlete monitoring strategies and applications. He currently resides in Johnson City, TN and is originally from Rock Island, IL.


Aagard, P., Simonsen, E.B., Andersen, J.L., Magnusson, P., & Dyhre-Poulsen, P. (2002). Increased rate of force development and neural drive of human skeletal muscle following resistance training. Journal of Applied Physiology, 93, 1318-1326.

Banister, E.W. (1979). The perception of effort: An inductive approach. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 41, 141-150.

Behm, D.G. & Sale, D.G. (1993). Intended rather than actual movement velocity determines velocity-specific training response. Journal of Applied Physiology, 74(1), 359-368.

Kanehisa, H. & Miyashita, M. (1983). Specificity of velocity in strength training. European Journal of Applied Physiology and Applied Physiology, 52(1), 104-106.

Kellis, E. & Baltzopoulos, V. (1996). Resistive eccentric exercise: Effects of visual feedback on maximum moment of knee extensors and flexors. JOSPT, 23(2), 120-124.

Moffroid, M.T. & Whipple, R.H. (1970). Specificity of speed in exercise. Physical Therapy, 50, 1692-1700.

Randell, A.D., Cronin, J.B., Keogh, W.L., Gill, N.D., & Pedersen, M.C. (2011). Reliability of performance velocity for jump squats under feedback and nonfeedback conditions. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 25(12), 3514-3518.

Sato, K., Beckham, G.K., Carroll, K., Bazyler, C., Sha, Z., & Haff, G.G. (2015). Validity of wireless device measuring velocity of resistance exercise. Journal of Trainology, 4, 15-18.