Preprint / Version 1

Effects of Velocity-Based Training vs. Alternative Resistance Training on Changes in Strength, Power and Sprint Speed

A Systematic Review, Meta-Analysis and Quality of Evidence Appraisal


  • Sam Orange Newcastle University
  • Adam Hritz Newcastle University
  • Liam Pearson Northumbria University
  • Owen Jeffries Newcastle University
  • Thomas Jones Northumbria University
  • James Steele Solent University



Resistance training, velocity-based training, muscle strength, muscle power, sprint speed, systematic review


Background: Velocity-based training (VBT) may be an effective method for monitoring resistance training load because it accounts for daily changes in an individual’s physical performance capabilities. However, the current evidence comparing VBT to alternative resistance training methods is dominated by small individual studies reporting mixed results. A systematic review is required to increase precision, explore heterogeneity, and inform directions for future research.

Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of regulating resistance training based on objective velocity feedback, compared to alternative resistance training methods that do not use velocity feedback (such as percentage of one repetition maximum, rating of perceived exertion, or repetitions in reserve), on changes in muscle strength, power, and sprint speed.

Data sources: Systematic searches of PubMed, Embase, SportDiscus, CINAHL, Cochrane Central,, ISRCTN, and SportRxiv, and citation searching until June 2021.

Study eligibility criteria: Eligible studies included randomised trials that assessed muscle strength, power, or sprint speed in healthy participants before and after a VBT intervention and an alternative resistance training intervention lasting at least four weeks.

Appraisal and synthesis: Standardised mean differences (SMDs) were pooled using a random effects model with a multi-level structure. Risk of bias was assessed with the Risk of Bias 2 (RoB 2) tool and the quality of evidence was evaluated using the Grading of Recommendation, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) approach.

Results: Four trials met the eligibility criteria, comprising 27 effect estimates and 88 participants. The main analyses showed trivial differences and imprecise interval estimates for effects on muscle strength (SMD 0.06, 95% CI -0.51 to 0.64; I2 = 42.9%; 10 effects from 4 studies; low quality evidence), power (SMD 0.11, 95% CI -0.28 to 0.49; I2 = 13.5%; 10 effects from 3 studies; low quality evidence), and sprint speed (SMD -0.10, 95% -0.72 to 0.53; I2 = 30.0%; 7 effects from 2 studies; very low quality evidence). The results were robust to various sensitivity analyses.

Conclusion: The current evidence does not support the use of objective velocity feedback over alternative methods of regulating resistance training load to elicit improvements in muscle strength, power, or sprint speed. Further well-designed trials with larger samples are required to increase the precision of the effect estimates and overall quality of evidence.

Registration: The    review    was    preregistered    on    the    Open    Science    Framework ( 


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